For Desire Alone
By Jess Michaels
Book #2 in the Mistress Matchmaker Series
Erotic Historical Romance
Amazon - B&N
A mistress should never be foolish enough to fall in love with her protector, nor trust him with her financial future. Mariah Desmond did both, and now her dearly departed protector has left her with nothing. Forced to seek another protector, she’s determined that this time, she’ll lead with her survival instinct—not her heart. But when she attends one of Vivien Manning’s infamous parties, the familiar face of her late lover’s best friend throws her for a loop.
A painful past taught John Rycroft that he’s not fit to be anyone’s knight in shining armor. His soft spot—make that a hard spot—for Mariah is precisely why he’s kept his distance. Yet the sight of her flirting with a bevy of men vying to become her next lover makes something inside him snap. As John hauls her bodily away from her suitors, Mariah’s indignation melts away in the heat of the sizzling sexual chemistry. She quickly finds it isn’t easy to navigate John’s stormy emotional waters. Especially when his abusive father’s quest to get his son back under his thumb puts her life in danger. Warning: Contains intensely sexy scenes of two people falling into bed (a lot) and in love.
Mariah Desmond suddenly finds herself in jeopardy of losing her financial freedom when her protector suddenly dies in a fire. Contrary to what he had told her, he made no plans in his will for her future and she has about six months to find a new protector. Her late lover's friend, John Rycroft, wants to be her new lover as he's secretly desired her all along, but is unwilling to commit to becoming her new protector.
Unlike the first book in this series, Mariah is currently a mistress and has been one for a few years. What she does have in common with Lysandra is she loved her protector but has to come to terms with the fact he didn't share her affections. John obviously has a tortured past that has him unwilling to commit to any woman but his desire for Mariah overwhelms him. She has the same attraction and is desperately trying to keep from falling for another man who cannot commit to her either as a protector or a lover.
I liked both characters and the story, even though the balance between the erotica and story tipped more to the side of steamy scenes. Mariah makes no excuses for her life choices but nor does she allow others to denegrate her for being a mistress. John is a bit of a rogue but is absolutely leveled by Mariah. When we learn the truth about John's family and history, the story gets incredibly interesting, rich with intrigue and layered characters. My only complaint is that more time wasn't devoted to this aspect of the story. Even so, I enjoyed the book and the contrast between the two heroines.
The mistress matchmaker, Vivien Manning, is featured much more prominently and I'm looking forward to her story.
(I received an ARC from the author)