To Pleasure a Lady – Nicole Jordan

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Marcus Pierce, a strikingly handsome aristocrat with a wicked reputation, inherits guardianship of spirited Arabella Loring and her two younger sisters – and immediately declares his intention to marry them off. But enchantingly defiant Arabella sparks frustration – and something deeply erotic – in Marcus. After matching both wits and swords with her, the possessive nobleman concludes this beautiful and formidable foe must be his.

Having sworn off marriage and men, Arabella wishes to be left alone to run her finishing school for young ladies. To that end, she boldly accepts Marcus’s intimate challenge: if he can woo and win her within two weeks, she’ll take her place in his bed as his wife. However, if she can resist his considerable charms, the Loring sisters will be granted their independence. Thus an extraordinary game of seduction begins….

All is fair in love and war…and the stakes are high when this battle begins with a tempting wager….

Marcus Pierce inherits the title of the Earl of Danvers and with it three lovely wards who have no desire to have a guardian. His only goal is to get the wards married so they are no longer his responsibility. But one look at his eldest ward, Arabella Loring and he decides he wants her for himself. He is entranced by her beauty, intelligence and fiery spirit and lures her into a seductive wager dangling her and her sisters’ independence in front of her.
Arabella can’t back down from the challenge and takes him on, not knowing they will both win something they never intended to.

Both Marcus and Arabella have poor examples of marriage as their parents didn’t have the happy versions of it. Marcus’ parents were cold and dispassionate towards each other and Arabella’s were bitter and spiteful. This explains their reluctance towards marriage but during the story their reluctance is replaced by passion and love one step at a time in a courtship that’s endearing and enthralling.

It had been a while since I read Nicole Jordan and I must say the silence has been deliciously broken with a delectable story of love, trust and passion spiced with banter and romantic seduction. As always Jordan is a master in the sensual department offering luscious and spine tingling love scenes. But she also offers a lot of background information on both hero and heroine and the secondary characters who will have their own books in this trilogy: the other two Loring sisters and Marcus’ two best buddies. Very carefully she sets up the stage for the two following books.

I enjoyed this book a lot but I must honestly say that it was less intense than her other series I have read. It was a light, playful and pleasurable read but that was it.
The reason for it was that I felt it was more of a set-up book, preparing for the books to come in the trilogy and I hope they will be provide a bit more of the intensity I like in Nicole Jordan’s books. Still I have to say that I really enjoyed the interactions and the bantering between Arabella and Marcus. The battle of wits between Marcus and Arabella is sparkling and vivid. The attraction between the two of them is tangible and Marcus’ game of seduction is very sensual. It’s delightful to read how little by little he wins Arabella’s passion and ultimately her love. They provided me with some nice reading hours.

The opening salvo of the Courtship War Trilogy has sounded with a delightful tale of love, wit and passion. I’m very curious as to how the rest of the war will unfold.

Quote:
His blue gaze was sensual and very male. That, combined with the low, husky sound of his voice when he merely apologized for his tardiness, stroked Arabella’s nerve endings with pleasure and turned her limbs to jelly.

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