The Perfect Temptation
I’m definitely getting on the Leslie LaFoy bandwagon.
This follow-up to The Perfect Seduction features what worked well about the last book – interesting characters and a unique premise – and goes that earlier novel one better by picking up the pace of the central couple’s developing relationship. The result is a solid recommendation for this European Historical.
This second entry in LaFoy’s Perfect series features a man-of-accomplishment-and-action kind of hero who really doesn’t see himself as one. The son of a shipping magnate who has disappointed both his father and himself, Aiden Terrell is reluctantly pressed into service by his friend and detective agency owner Barrett and tapped with the job of protecting the young son of an Indian Rajah from kidnappers at the request of Miss Alexandra Radford.
Alex, whom Aiden mentally calls “The Duchess,” finds England an uncomfortable place after living so long in India. She’s even less comfortable with Aiden as a bodyguard since the man is far too attractive for his own good and far too relaxed about his assignment. Even worse, Alex is dead certain the rogue must be nothing less than an unabashed hedonist. But, her charge clearly needs immediate protection and, though she’s far from happy about it, Alex soon finds herself welcoming Aiden into her small London household.
Within that simple premise, Ms. LaFoy tells her story. But, frankly, while the external plot is interesting enough, the bulk of the author’s attention is focused on her characters. Neither Alex nor Aiden are stereotypes – or anything even remotely close – and both grow and change palpably through the course of the novel. I liked them enormously.
Alex, of course, like most heroines in romance novels, possesses secrets that affect virtually every aspect of her life and her self identity. She is a mature, yet understandably reticent woman who slowly but surely warms up to both Aiden’s charms and to an appreciation of his skills and abilities. And, considering his enormous personal appeal, keeping her distance from the man is a challenge not even The Duchess can manage.
Like most heroes in romance novels, Aiden, too, has secrets. His deep guilt over an incident in his past led to a painful estrangement from his family and a descent into the depths of alcohol and self-loathing. As his friend Barrett knows (and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to recognize the hero of the next book), Aiden is a man desperately in need of a sense of purpose and direction. Protecting Alex and her charge, Barrett believes, offers Aiden the perfect opportunity to convince his friend to end his aimless existence and let go of his guilt.
In a weird way, The Perfect Temptation almost has another protagonist, since the young boy Mohan plays almost as important a role in the story as Alex and Aiden. At first simply a petulant, spoiled young royal, Mohan benefits from the presence of Aiden in their small household as does Alex. And, of course, both play critical roles in bringing Aiden back to life.
A well-written, pleasingly paced novel, The Perfect Temptation is a good bet for those who enjoy European Historicals a bit different from the norm and, just possibly, a bit more mature in tone than many romances you’ll find. If you’ve havent’ read the author before or if you haven’t tried her in a while, Leslie LaFoy is an author to investigate – especially since this already very good author seems to be getting even better with every book.