A Matter of Sin (Ladies Book of Pleasures #1)
Samhain / July 15, 2014 / $5.50 digital
The widowed Lady Isabel Avenbury has one remaining younger sister to shepherd into an advantageous marriage, and then she will be free. Free to take a lover to fill her lonely nights—the only option left for a woman on the delicate edge of a certain age.
Except when she chaperones her sister to a country house party, she is taken aback by her sudden, undeniable attraction to the host. And deliciously scandalized when she finds a copy of the notorious, much-gossiped-about Ladies' Book of Pleasures in his library.
When Seth Rowland, Marquis Lyndham, notices his book is missing, his interest is piqued as to which of the potential young brides at his party has absconded with it—and he’s shocked to discover it’s Isabel. Though older than the women he’d planned to court, the powerful beauty exudes a sensuality he cannot ignore.
The book inspires them to begin a desperate, passionate affair. But their time together is running out and they must choose. Follow society’s rules, or take a chance at love.
A Matter of Sin by Jess Michaels weaves a tale of passion and seduction inspired by an erotic manual. Seth is on a quest to find a young bride to provide him heirs to carry on the family name, while Isabel is the matriarch of her family. She lost her parents at a young age and was married to man who was a lot older than she.
Isabel stands out as an unusual heroine; she has a maternal charm that has translated well into raising her sisters. She is not as old as one would think but in this time period, she is practically ancient. A widow at barely thirty, she is just beginning to make an attempt to live for herself. She has always been bogged down with responsibility and her youngest sister has finally entered into her own Season.
Isabel swallowed, “ I suppose that is why the idea of taking a lover holds such appeal, “ she admitted after a long pause. “Hartley was a kind and gentle man, but there was no great passion between us. I supposed I didn’t know what I was missing until I saw Marjorie fall head over heels in love with Graham. When she talks about him, I realize what I’ve lacked and I wonder. . .”
Isabel has missed out on parties, jaunts, and on frivolous adventures her younger sisters take for granted. She begins this story by claiming she will find a lover. Since she is a widow, she does not need to follow the ton’s very strict rules of etiquette. However, once she announces this idea she begins to backtrack. It is hard to shed the strict rules that have guided her whole life thus far. What Isabel needs is a small push over the boundary lines she has placed on herself. While at a party at the most sought-after eligible gentleman’s home, Seth Rowland Marquis Lyndham, Isabel stumbles across a manual that has driven society crazy, Ladies' Book of Pleasure. This manual promises to give the reader the methods with which to explore new heights in passion. But who should catch Isabel with the book but the Marquis! The book inspires both of them to reach for things they didn’t think possible as they embark on a torrid affair.
Truly, the only excuse she could give for her distraction was her discussion with Grace and Jacinda a week before. Declaring she would take a lover had only increased her fantasies about that very subject. And now she feared the first handsome man she saw had somehow become the new focus of those imaginations.
Isabel is a self-sacrificing person. I am usually not a fan of older heroines but her character is portrayed in a very positive light. Isabel deserves happiness and I was cheering for her. She may be older and the chaperone of her sister, but she deserves her own chance at happiness. Her relationship with Seth might have started on a whim after a passionate lip lock in the library, but it’s opened new doors that may actually be closing.
It seems as though everything is against the partnership of Seth and Isabel. When they are together and engaging in their clandestine affair, the results are explosive. Their connection is too strong to deny, but how will they make it work? Around every corner, a new obstacle arrives to deter them from a path of happiness with each other. They each have their own potential partners—Seth might even be considering her sister—but they always go back to each other at the end of the night. The book seems to have inspired a new spirit in Isabel and she is embracing it.
I was on my toes awaiting each new chapter to see how their affair would unfold. Will they be found out in the library? Will her sister’s reputation suffer as she is her chaperon? And finally, will Isabel finally gain the partner she wants that will cater to ALL her needs?
This was my first read by Jess Michaels but I eagerly anticipate the next book in this series.
Learn more or order a copy of A Matter of Sin by Jess Michaels, out July 15, 2014:
Jessica spends her time daydreaming about a life within the pages of her favorite books, hoping to meet her own alpha male in an amazing meet cute. Living in Miami, she breaks the stereotype of the tanned appearance; being the palest amongst her friends takes a lot of work and it's all owed to the aforementioned books. She works all day but dreams of the day she can get paid to devour romance books all day and night. An avid reader since she could sound out words, you can find her reviewing at Bookcrack.com where she lets her reading freak flag fly!