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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ARC Review: Pleasuring the Lady by Jess Michaels

Pleasuring the Lady, the second book in the Pleasure Wars series from Jess Michaels, is an erotic Regency story. We met the heroine, Portia, in the first Pleasure Wars book (Taken by the Duke) and the hero, Miles, appeared in another Jess Michaels book, An Introduction to Pleasure. Jess Michaels is no stranger to historical erotica and she knows how to titillate the reader in order to propel the story forward.

Lady Portia’s life is pretty much a mess. Her father and now her brother have ruined the family finances. Her mother suffers from some form of dementia. Portia accepts her life as a wallflower, her one joy being in her friendship with Ava (the heroine of Taken by the Duke). When Ava bemoans the suffering and disappearance of her brother Liam (his story is presented in Taken by the Duke) Portia decides to look for him in the last place he was seen, the decadent Donville Masquerade. There she does not find Liam, but runs into an old friend of her brother, Miles, the Marquis of Weatherfield. He doesn’t recognize, but is strangely attracted to her. On a subsequent trip to the masquerade they are discovered in a compromising situation and are forced to marry. From there they struggle to establish a solid relationship while experimenting with various sexual situations.

I always enjoy Jess Michaels’ books and this one is no exception. Pleasuring the Lady was a good continuation of the story begun in Taken by the Duke and I recommend reading them in order. We learned very little new information about Liam so readers will certainly look forward to his story in Beauty and the Earl, coming in April. Portia was a very sympathetic character and I felt for her struggles with her mother and brother. Miles was intriguing and complex. He believed that he was bound by his history and could not love, yet he was kind and caring. For me, Jess Michaels books fall on the lighter side of erotic romance. While she includes some things that would definitely put the book into the erotic category, it is not nearly as far-gone or crude as many other examples of historical erotica. It is important for readers to know, however, that this is a very hot romance, sexual activity is central to the story, and it goes beyond “vanilla” sex. As much as I liked Pleasuring the Lady I did not enjoy it as much as the previous book. I felt like there was a little less emotional depth. I thought Michaels’ portrayal of her brother was unexplainably harsh and one-dimensional. The erotic parts were interesting, but it seemed like the author was trying to include some explicit stuff that was not always needed in the story. It was, however, a quick and compelling read and I cannot wait for the final book in this series.

**ARC provided by Author**

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