Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love finding new authors to add to my towering TBR/WL, and Tessa Dare is my latest addition. Goddess of the Hunt is her debut book, and what an excellent book it was!
Lucy Waltham has been in love with Sir Toby Aldridge, one of her older brother Henry's friends, since she was eleven years old - ah, what a precocious child she was! - but he's about to propose to another woman and she must take action before it's too late. So she sets a plan to seduce him and show him that she's the right woman for him, not this Miss Sophia Hathaway he seems smitten with. The problem is, Lucy's never even been kissed and everything she knows about the art of seduction is theoretical. She clearly needs to get some practice before putting her plan in motion, but who's going to be her "guinea pig"? Why, Jemmy is, of course!
Jeremy "Jemmy" Trescott, Earl of Kendall, has been friends with both Henry and Toby since their first year at Eton, and he's been visiting Waltham Manor each autumn since Cambridge. He's quite emotionally closed off because of his troubled relationship with his late parents, but Lucy has always been able to get past his armor. He's always tried to avoid her, regarding her as his "personal version of a biblical plague", and he knows disaster inevitably strikes when she's around. So when she knocks on his guest bedchamber door at Waltham Manor in the dead of the night, it can only mean disaster. He braces himself for the worst and...
"Then Lucy Waltham, the younger sister of his oldest friend, popped up on her toes and pressed her lips to his with such force, he stumbled against the doorjamb.
Good Lord. The girl was kissing him.
Well, he thought ironically, he’d been prepared for the worst. And of the many kisses Jeremy Trescott had experienced in his nine-and-twenty years, this was, undoubtedly, the worst."
After recovering from the shock, Jeremy demands an explanation for her outrageous behavior. When he learns about her crazy plan to seduce Toby, he bluntly tells her that Toby is all but engaged to Sophia and Lucy had better forget her silly crush on him. Obviously, Lucy refuses to listen to Jeremy so he has no other choice but to "distract" her from her plan. But this "diversion" gets complicated when the attraction between them escalates and they start falling in love with each other...
Oh my, I adored Jeremy! He was always there for Lucy, to protect her and to (figuratively) shake some sense into her whenever it was necessary. He was sensible, sensitive (against his will) and tortured enough to make me want to cuddle him. Not to mention wickedly sexy... Please lock me in the wardrobe with him and throw the key away! ;)
I really liked Lucy too, even though her single-minded pursuit of Toby in the beginning was a bit annoying. I wanted her to realize that Jeremy was the man for her sooner but, hey, better late than never. She made up for it when she came to her senses before marrying him, so it was all good in the end.
The chemistry between Jeremy and Lucy was fantastic, and there was no doubt in my mind that they belonged together. That's why I got a little frustrated right after they got married, as I didn't understand why they failed to communicate with each other. I understood Jeremy's fears and silence because he was a man used to isolate himself to avoid being hurt, but I couldn't understand Lucy's distance. After all, she was a woman who always went after what she wanted, and she most definitely wanted Jeremy! Anyway, that didn't last long and didn't really curb my overall enjoyment of this story. This was a great read, and I'm definitely going to pick up the next books in this trilogy.
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