Serena Weir finds herself in the untenable position of being kicked out of her family home located just over the Scottish Border. From a young age she had managed the estate of Vere Castle, adding on to her responsibilities after her father’s death and the absence of her brother who chose to remain a member of Worthington’s staff. During the Christmas holidays in 1815, James Weir returns home with his new wife Mattie who loses no time in making arrangements to remove Serena from the premises, sending her to stay with an aunt in order to facilitate her sister-in-law in snagging a husband during London’s Little Season. While the idea of being launched into society is an exciting although daunting prospect, Serena laments that it is eight years too late as at twenty six she feels out of place with the other, younger debutantes.
Luckily, her fears are unfounded. Even though, unused to the Ton, she had never been to a Ball or visited a modiste, she is quickly surrounded by suitors. Prior to the whirlwind of events, Lady Serena had spent some time at her Aunt Catherine’s country estate where a neighboring gentleman had caught her eye. Lord Robert, the Viscount Beaumont was also intrigued by the beautiful, red haired woman riding near his property. After the two are finally introduced, there is an instant mutual attraction. The Viscount, a noted rake who has vowed on a marriage of convenience instead of a love match, finds himself obsessed with Lady Serena and begins attending functions he had eschewed for years, even Almacks. Robert gallantly escorts Serena to numerous London attractions, places which had never before caught his attention. Finally, determined to wed Serena, Beaumont uses their physical attraction to trick her into a compromised engagement. Even though Serena has fallen in love with this cad,The she refuses to marry Robert unless he, too, loves her.
The Temptation of a Lady Serena by Ella Quinn, Book Three of the Marriage Game series, includes a cast of characters from the two previous novels. Appalled at Robert’s behavior, Phoebe and Marcus (from The Seduction of Lady Phoebe – Book 1) along with Anna and Sebastian (from the Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh -Book 2) whisk Serena off to Paris along with a host of other relations who are eager to help. Grandmama promises Serena that she can refuse the proposal if she chooses. Even Robert’s grandmother, the Dowager Lady Beaumont, assists Serena’s escape. Lord Beaumont finds himself with no choice but to “get off his high horse” and woo the lady properly, groveling, if necessary. When it seems like Serena is going to call off the engagement despite their chemistry together, he convinces her to spend a couple of weeks at his home before she gives her final answer. Here Lady Serena is in her element and she instantly endears herself to the household staff and tenants by her caring manner and her ability to facilitate much needed improvements in short order. Robert learns that his hopefully betrothed-to-be is more than just a pretty face and becomes more determined than ever to spend the rest of his life with her by his side.
There at almost ninety characters in this Regency Romance, many who have appeared in Quinn’s previous books. Within the story are numerous subplots occurring at the various locations including Uncle Henry and his wife Ester’s house – St Eth’s on Grosvenor Square in London, the Earl of Evesham’s Paris home, as well as at Lord Beaumont’s country estate. When the two protagonists finally connect, their lovemaking takes over their lives as they look for unusual spots to consummate their relationship. Robert loves to titillate his fiancé while they are in public so she is longing for relief, either on a bed or atop a desk or in a carriage or against a wall or wherever they can sneak a quickie. The servants cover for their amorous adventures, remaining loyal to master and mistress. The night time escapades in her suite (which should have remained empty until the wedding night) keep the couple busy. Robert’s valet snappingly recommends they purchase a bigger tub so they won’t need as many towels to mop up the floor.
The Romance is endearing and sexy and the plot contains a lot of action, even after Serena says yes. The surrounding characters are well developed and, for the most part, likable, except for a few villains who try to ruin the fun. I just wish the dialogue was a little more lively and clever. A lot of the story contains unnecessary details which should have been skipped. This book was rather long and could easily have been cut by thirty or more pages of repetition and still maintained all the plot lines. Still, an enjoyable tale. Three and a half stars.