An Honorable Seduction
Summer loving will soon be upon us. The days are warming up, the nights are getting hotter and it is at such times that every reader’s mind turns towards the ultimate vacation accessory: the perfect beach read. An Honorable Seduction, with its Florida beachside location, talk of cruise ships and descriptions of dates at seaside restaurants and bars makes a nice launch to the summer reading season.
Lt. David Holloway is looking forward to some down time when he gets called into his commander’s office. While the rest of his SEAL team is on vacation, the brass wants David to look into an espionage case in Key West. The daughter of one of their own is being accused of selling secrets to the Chinese. His commander knows the girl personally and doesn’t believe it, but the evidence seems to point towards treason.
David is given extremely lax parameters for the job and isn’t sure how to find out just what’s going on. What he does know five minutes after meeting Swan Jamison is that he wants her with a capital W. Long, slim legs. Curly copper brown hair. Cocoa colored skin covering one of the most beautiful forms he has ever seen – the woman is gorgeous and everything he never knew he needed.
Swan is surprised by her reaction to the good-looking guy in her store. She lives in Key West and has seen plenty of handsome men before but something about this one really captures her attention. Maybe it’s the broad shoulders or piercing blue eyes. Whatever it is, she hasn’t had this reaction to a man in a long time – but she’s glad she’s having it now.
While David enters her shop planning to buy some of her custom-made jewelry, get the lay of the land and get out, his visceral reaction to her makes him change his plans. He invites Swan to have dinner with him, knowing he’s taking a risk, but pretty sure it’ll be worth it. Soon they are having dates filled with food, drinks, fun, laughter, and conversation. Both of them step out of their comfort zones in response to the heat sizzling between them. They have so much going for them. Except the truth. David’s not only lying, he’s lying about something really big, really dangerous and something that might just get them both killed.
A lot of times when I read a book about instant attraction I don’t buy it. Too often it feels like an easy way to jump start a romance between disparate characters. However, something about this one worked for me. Maybe it was that David and Swan also had so much else in common, but I felt the early sexual interest in this story was handled perfectly.,
I also liked that the two aren’t controlled by that attraction. It’s there from the start, but no careless actions take place as a result. When David asked Swan to dinner, she doesn’t hand out her personal details and they meet in public several times before she is ever alone with him. They get to know each other and build a relationship before having sex, something I always like in a love story. They discuss some of the issues between them, such as their concerns about interracial dating, not excessively but enough to show the characters understand the challenges they might face. I also liked that they went on dates. A lot of contemporary romances are about hanging out with friends and getting to know each other in a group, then hooking up, all without really spending alone time in a fun, social manner. These two have actual dates, which was refreshing.
The mystery is handled well. It’s a typical Harlequin suspense plot, which means it’s low on reality, but the author does a good job of keeping it in the background while her romance shines in the foreground.
It’s rare that this happens but I liked these two as a couple almost more than I liked them as individuals. It isn’t just how well the sexual interest that sparks between them is handled but the fact that they become much more relatable when they’re together. David is almost too focused and macho and, in some ways, wooden when he’s away from Swan but when he’s with her, he becomes the kind of guy most people know: fun, flirty, sincere, and genuine. Swan is almost too perfect but with David we see her vulnerable, open, comfortable and sweet. These two really are better together.
Few books are perfect and this one has a few flaws that kept me from awarding a higher grade. The author occasionally lapses into info-dumps and stilted dialogue which is likely to pull the reader out of the story. And while I know it is virtually a rule of romance fiction featuring military men to include cute nicknames, David’s moniker of Flipper just about drove me nuts. I found it very distracting every time it was used.
I smiled a lot while reading An Honorable Seduction. It’s a light, primarily happy book that tells the love story of a sweet, charming young couple. It’s a great beach read or nice way to while away a sunny spring afternoon.