Feb 28 2014 2:05pm

First Look: Jeannie Lin’s The Jade Temptress (Lotus Palace) (March 3, 2014)

Jeannie Lin
Jade Temptress
Harlequin / March 3, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Charming and seductive, Mingyu is the most sought-after hostess in the pleasure quarter. She has all men wrapped around her finger—except Constable Wu Kaifeng, the one man she can't resist, the only man to have placed her in chains.

Wu Kaifeng's outwardly intimidating demeanor hides a reluctant, fierce attraction to beautiful Mingyu. But the passionate temptation she presents threatens to destroy them both when a powerful official is murdered and they find themselves on a deadly trail. Amid the chaos, a forbidden affair could change Mingyu's fate forever, for following her heart is bound to have consequences...

In The Jade Temptress, the second book in the Lotus Palace series, Jeannie Lin takes readers back to the mysterious and absorbing world of The Pingkang Li, where decadent pleasures and decorous etiquette mask the best and worst life has to offer.

Sought-after courtesan Mingyu, whose name means “precious jade,” a pivotal supporting character in the previous novel, The Lotus Palace, gets her turn in the spotlight in The Jade Temptress, meeting her match in Wu Kaifeng, a wise and formiddable constable. Both Mingyu and Kaifeng have their reasons to discover the truth behind the death of Mingyu’s protector, General Deng. For Kaifeng, this is his job, and for Mingyu, it is her very life.

While constable and courtesan come from two very different worlds, they soon find that there is an undeniable pull between the two of tem, and when they band together to investigate the death of General Deng, it is as often Mingyu as Kaifeng who knows where to look and for what. The intricate social conventions of the political world and that of the women who make their livings in the Pingkang Li will absorb readers and keep them guessing, searching for clues to the mystery as it unfolds in tantalizing increments. Suspects abound, each with a plausible motive, be it personal, political or societal, our hero and heroine must sort through, each from their unique perspective. The romance weaves itself throughout the investigation, raising important questions for both of the very unlikely lovers.

For Mingyu, the surface appearance is what she must project above all, to watch for what others expect of her and then assume that, and do it in a convincing manner. For Kaifeng, trained to see beneath any artifice, Mingyu is an irresistible puzzle, a keen and adaptable mind working in tandem with her legendary beauty. When Mingyu sees her one chance to follow her own heart rather than the dictates of her profession, she risks all to bare her heart to Kaifeng, regardless of the cost to herself and those she loves. Kaifeng, in turn, treats Mingyu not as a commodity, but as his equal, acknowledging those risks and offering a great sacrifice of his own.

Readers who liked Mingyu as a supporting character in The Lotus Palace will love her in The Jade Temptress, where she truly rises to the status of heroine. Kaifeng’s investigative skills shine here, as his quick mind and attention to detail come into play in both the romance and mystery plots. Mingyu’s sister, Yue-Ying and her husband, Bai Huang provide a strong family connection, giving readers a peek into their happily ever after, as well as providing Mingyu hope of her own. Once again, Jeannie Lin’s lush descriptions and deft hand with characterization will draw readers into the world of this story, delighting all senses.

A delicious blend of mystery, history and romance, this latest installment of the Pingkang Li mysteries is a delight for loyal readers and newcomers alike, whetting the appetite for more.


Learn more or order a copy of The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin, available March 3, 2014:

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Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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