A Talent for Temptation

A Talent for Temptation

by Sabrina Jeffries

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501144530
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication date: 10/02/2017
Series: Sinful Suitors Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 68
Sales rank: 35,674
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of several Regency-set historical romance series, including the Royal Brotherhood, the School for Heiresses, the Hellions of Halstead Hall, the Duke’s Men, and the Sinful Suitors. When she’s not writing in a coffee-fueled haze, she’s traveling with her husband, caring for her adult autistic son, or indulging in one of her passions: jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, music, and costume parties. With more than nine million books in print in twenty languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world. She always dreams big.

Read an Excerpt

A Talent for Temptation


Mrs. Meriel Vyse hurried down the stairs of the Fulkham town house in a most unladylike manner. If she could complete this task for her brother-in-law, Gregory Vyse, the Baron Fulkham, before midnight, perhaps—

“Madam?” their butler, Nunley, said, giving her velvet ball gown a once-over. “His lordship’s mother told me you’re attending an exhibit at Somerset House while she’s playing cards with her friends down the street.”

Blast, she’d forgotten to tell the servants about the change in plans. “I had intended to, yes.” She jerked on her gloves. “Until Lord High-and-Mighty Undersecretary to the Office for War and the Colonies decided that since he had to be at some secret meeting until the wee hours of the morning, I had all the time in the world to trundle off to a ball and assess some foreign princess for him.”

Nunley’s lips twitched as if he badly wanted to comment.

“What?” she demanded. “I know what you’re thinking, so you might as well just say it.”

“It is not my place—”

“Oh, don’t play that game with me, Nunley. You and I have been through too much to stand on ceremony now.”

He huffed out a breath. “Madam, I am trying to improve my skills as a butler for the day when the master ascends to the cabinet. And one of those skills involves not blurting out the first thing that comes into my head.”

“You’re right, Nunley. I’m sorry.” The last person she should be snapping at was him. “Still, you needn’t be discreet with me. I rely on you for your frank opinions.”

He softened. “As you wish, madam. If you must know, my opinion is that since you were looking forward to the exhibit, you should perhaps, just this once, refuse to do as his lordship asks.”

“Nunley! It is most unlike you to suggest such a thing.” And decidedly not what she’d assumed he was thinking. “I can’t refuse Gregory. I owe him too much. Both of us do.”

“And you have repaid him for it repeatedly in the past four years.”

“Not enough.” She shook her head. “Never enough.”

“I believe Lieutenant Vyse would have said otherwise.”

“Possibly.” And Nunley would certainly know. Before he’d come to work for Gregory, he’d been a sergeant under John. He probably knew as much, or more, about her late husband as she did.

And an awful lot about her, too. Like the fact that she craved a normal life free of schemes and spying and subterfuge, something that Gregory didn’t seem to realize. Something she was too much of a coward to tell him.

She sighed. “In any case, he’s merely asking me to attend a ball. What woman could reasonably complain about that?”

Though Nunley raised an eyebrow, he dutifully helped her on with her blue velvet cloak. “I called for the carriage before you came down, but we shall have to inform the coachman of the change in direction.”

“Of course,” she said dully. Nunley was right—she had been looking forward to the exhibit. Or rather, to her tryst.

As if Nunley had read her mind, he said, “What about your young man? You said he’d be going to the exhibit as well.”

She winced. “Quinn Raines is not my ‘young man.’?” At nearly thirty, he wasn’t even all that young. And at twenty-seven, neither was she. “He’s a friend, nothing more.” When Nunley narrowed his gaze on her, she rolled her eyes. “All right, he is more of a . . . flirtation.”

“A suitor.”

Nunley could be entirely too perceptive sometimes. “I should never have told you about him,” she complained. “And you’re sure Gregory hasn’t guessed that I spend time with Mr. Raines?” Which was the only reason she’d involved Nunley—so he could keep an ear out for what Gregory knew.

“I’m sure. But you should tell his lordship yourself.”

“I can’t. If he knew I was engaged in a flirtation that will go nowhere, he wouldn’t approve. His sister-in-law must behave above reproach, or how can he rise in politics?”

“Why must your ‘flirtation’ go nowhere? Why not just marry your young man?”

She stared out the window. “Because we’re from different worlds. His mother is the daughter of a Spanish count, for pity’s sake! You can well imagine what she’d think to hear the truth about me.”

“She might not care. And if Mr. Raines cares that much, he’s not the man for you anyway.”

Meriel was afraid to find out how much he cared. Because Quinn was the wealthy scion of the prominent Raines banking family, while she . . .

. . . was indebted to Gregory. As a result, she felt she must support his furtive work, if only just in the planning. She was his secretary, so to speak. And sometimes his spy.

Quinn could never be part of that. She wouldn’t want him to be. As the director of his father’s bank, Quinn had to be discreet and cautious and averse to the sort of risks Gregory’s minions took regularly in service to their country. Not to mention that having a wife with her sordid past would ruin him if it ever got out.

She should never have taken up with Quinn. But it had begun as a flirtation, and by the time she realized it was something more, she’d become so addicted to their little trysts . . . to him . . .

“Anyway,” she went on, squaring her shoulders, “he may not be at the exhibit now even if I did go. I sent a note by the footman a few hours ago, telling him I couldn’t attend because of a prior engagement.”

Quinn would be furious at being put off again, but it couldn’t be helped.

Perhaps this was a sign it was time to end things.

But then there would be no more shared conversations about the small idiocies of high society. No more stolen walks, where he listened to her rattle on about nothing and seemed to enjoy it. No more “accidental” encounters at balls, where they would sneak out to balconies or gardens so Quinn could put his warm mouth and clever hands on her and make her melt as John never had. It hadn’t gone beyond caresses, but she dearly wished—

Nunley cleared his throat, and she started. Oh, Lord, had she made some sound to give away her thoughts? How mortifying!

This obsession with Quinn was absurd. Nothing could come of it except an illicit affair, which was impossible.

Then again, perhaps if she and Quinn could share a bed just once, he would be content to let her end things. After all, once men had what they wanted from a woman, they generally lost interest in her.

Perhaps it would work for her, too, and she could go back to concentrating on her missions for Gregory.

Right. And perhaps the sun would turn into the moon, and the stars fall out of the sky. Sadly, making love with Quinn was unlikely to banish her feelings. She was just grasping at any chance to have him in her bed.

A footman entered the foyer to whisper something in Nunley’s ear, and the butler turned to her. “There’s an issue with the carriage, madam. I shall return in a moment.”

While she waited for him, she watched out the front door. A man strolled by whose size and gait looked familiar. For a second, she was almost certain it was Quinn, but it had to be a trick of the gaslights, amplified by the fact that her thoughts were filled with the man. Quinn wouldn’t come here—he knew she wanted to keep their association secret from Gregory.

After pacing the foyer for a few moments, she glanced out again and saw that their carriage had finally drawn up in front. She walked out and headed down the steps.

She was nearly to the coach when she realized something was wrong. This was not the Fulkham family carriage. Confused, she halted, and a stranger leapt out and dashed up the steps, seizing her by the arm and dragging her down to his equipage.

She tried to scream, but the man clamped his hand over her mouth. She tried to bite him, but he had gloves on and she merely got a mouthful of leather.

That left her only one alternative. As he hauled her toward the carriage, she fumbled in her reticule for the knife she’d carried ever since that horrible night when Gregory had saved her.

She’d just managed to pull it free of its sheath and was lifting it to stab her assailant over her shoulder when a man came running up the street and cried, “Unhand her, you scoundrel!”

In a flash, her attacker thrust her at her rescuer, who unfortunately got the brunt of her blade when she fell into him, embedding her knife in his arm. As the brave man grunted in pain, the villain fled to his coach, which raced away.

Meanwhile, her rescuer was now cursing a blue streak as he jerked her blade free. She barely had time to register the dark red stain spreading over his coat sleeve before the light from the gas lamps fell full upon his face and she gasped.

“My word, Quinn!” Meriel cried.

Her panicked voice seeped into Quinn’s brain, despite the throb in his arm and the ringing in his ears. He swayed on the steps, and the blade he’d wrenched free fell from his hands.

“Are you all right?” Her face was drawn with contrition and worry. “Heavens, I didn’t mean to hurt you!”

“I figured as much,” he said through gritted teeth. “It’s fine.”

“It’s not fine!” She tried to examine his wound in the poor light. “I could have killed you!”

Yes. Though he probably would have deserved that, given that he’d plotted the fake abduction.

Bloody stupid idea that had been. But he’d been so angry about her canceling yet again that he’d felt he had to act. The plan had been to delay the Fulkham carriage so that his servant could drive up and attempt to carry her off. Then Quinn would gallantly come to her rescue.

He’d had some fool notion that it might make her consider him in a new light, showing her that he wasn’t the boring banker everyone portrayed him to be, that he could be just as gallant and brave as Fulkham. Then she would swoon in his arms, shower him with kisses, and be grateful to him for saving her.

He should have known better. Meriel never behaved according to plan.

But he hadn’t expected her to stab him, for God’s sake. Next time he plotted something like this, he should make sure she wasn’t armed. Not that there would be a next time. He wasn’t idiot enough to try this again.

“Come,” she said, slipping her slender arm about his waist. “We need to get you inside.”

Wonderful—now she thought him an invalid. As she tried to guide him up the steps, he muttered, “I can walk perfectly well, you know. I’m not wounded in the legs.”

“Yes, but you’re losing blood and you might faint.”

Which would really make him appear the fool. And now that she’d put the idea in his head . . .

Don’t faint, don’t faint, don’t faint, he chanted to himself.

“Which is why I need to get you inside where you can lie down,” she added. “I need to tend to that wound.”

Huh, that sounded promising. And he did rather enjoy having her supporting him. It might even be worth the searing pain in his arm.

If he didn’t bleed to death first. “Do you actually know anything about tending to a wound?”

“I know enough,” she said evasively.

There she went again, throwing out one of her usual enigmatic remarks. Would he ever parse out the mystery that was Meriel? Did he even want to? After all, what sort of woman carried a blade in her reticule?

But in for a penny, in for a pound. He might as well see this through. As long as she didn’t find out that the “abduction” was staged, he ought to be safe.

They’d reached the top of the steps, and the door swung open to reveal an alarmed servant, whose livery showed him to be a butler. “Madam, what the devil—”

“Nunley, this is Mr. Raines,” she said as she led Quinn inside. “He came to my rescue when a man tried to abduct me, and he got hurt as a result.”

Paling, the butler took her cloak from her. “I knew our carriage had been sabotaged. I was just coming to tell you when I saw that you’d gone out. Thank heaven you weren’t harmed.”

“Don’t thank heaven,” she said. “We have Mr. Raines to thank for that.”

Quinn fought a surge of annoyance at her speaking of him as if he were some stranger. Even now, she was reluctant to admit she knew him. It was what any respectable widow would do to preserve her reputation. Still, he’d had enough of sneaking around with her and pretending not to know her, when he yearned every moment of every day to make love to her.

“Shall I send for Dr. Worth?” the servant asked.

“No need,” Quinn said, determined to keep Meriel to himself as long as possible. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine.” She inclined her head toward the butler. “Unfortunately, Dr. Worth isn’t presently in town, and there’s no one else I trust. So fetch my apothecary box. I shall take care of Mr. Raines myself.”

The butler seemed not the least surprised by that, blandly saying, “Very well,” before heading off down the hall.

She led Quinn into a parlor and to a settee, which he practically fell onto. The damned arm really hurt now.

With the efficiency of a woman oddly comfortable with knife wounds, she peeled off his coat and waistcoat. “Lie down,” she ordered. “I need to elevate the arm.”

He did as she asked. Lying down was good. Very good. Though it would be better if she lay down with him.

She drew a footstool up to the settee, then pulled his arm up over his head and pressed hard on his wound.

Fire streaked through him. “What the hell are you doing!”

“I have to stop the bleeding,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Well then,” he gritted out, “carry on. Can’t have me expiring in your parlor.”

Regret suffused her face. “Honestly, Quinn, if I’d had any idea you were nearby, I would never have drawn my—” She paused. “Why were you nearby, anyway?”

His stomach lurched. Another way in which he hadn’t really thought this plan through. “Does it matter? If I hadn’t shown up when I did . . .”

“Of course I’m grateful, but it’s odd that you just happened along after I told you I couldn’t see you tonight. Didn’t you get my note?”

“I did. That’s why I rushed over, hoping to catch you before you left for your ‘other engagement.’?”

“Ah.” Her face cleared. “So it was you I spotted outside before that villain’s coach pulled up.”

She’d seen him? Hell and be damned. “Er . . . yes, I suppose.” Best to gloss over that before she figured things out. “So, do you always have a knife with you?”

She stared grimly at his arm. “Yes.”

“So all those times you and I were entwined in the dark, you—”

“Yes, yes!” she said, a hint of desperation in her tone. “Now be quiet and conserve your energy until I can get the bleeding to stop.”

He was beginning to feel a bit light-headed, but that had nothing to do with loss of blood. He always felt light-headed around Meriel.

But why? She wasn’t rich or of high rank, the two qualities everyone seemed to think essential for his potential spouse. And she had no facility for mathematics whatsoever, which, as a banker, he considered a deficit in anyone.

No one would call her a beauty, since her features were slightly irregular, making her more arresting than handsome. Some would even call her plump, though he preferred a bit of flesh on women, so that didn’t bother him.

Yet somehow she’d crept under his defenses, with her sandy curls and her gray eyes and her lush mouth that sent his pulse hammering whenever she flashed him her Mona Lisa smile. She was clever and witty and bold, a combination he found utterly intoxicating.

Just then, the butler came in bearing a huge chest and set it on the floor in front of her. He glanced at Quinn’s bloodied shirt and turned ashen. “Do you wish me to help you . . . er . . .”

“No need, Nunley,” she said. “I know what the sight of blood does to you. I have matters under control.”

“Excellent.” He averted his gaze from Quinn. “Though I would feel better if we could catch the villain who did this.”

And Quinn would feel better if they couldn’t. “The fellow is long gone, I’m afraid.”

“Did you see his face? Recognize the carriage? Anything?” Meriel asked.

“No,” Quinn said. “It all happened so fast.”

“I suppose the master wouldn’t want the police involved,” the butler said.

“No,” she said.

That was strange. Granted, Quinn was happy she wasn’t going to the police, but he would think that an abduction would generally warrant such a thing.

“Only Gregory will know how to find the villain, since he’s the one who might know why it happened,” she said, “but he’s not returning until very late.” She let out a heavy breath as she opened the chest to reveal a number of suspicious bottles and nasty-looking implements. “Oh, well, it can’t be helped. I’m sure Mr. Raines won’t mind returning in the morning to answer Gregory’s questions. He may have noticed more than he realizes.”

Wonderful. Now he’d have to lie to Fulkham, too. Then again, that would give him an excuse for hanging about tonight. “If you wish, I can stay until Lord Fulkham returns. You don’t want the villain to escape because we waited until morning.”

“Yes, that would be best.” Meriel glanced up at the butler. “Be sure to send Gregory in when he gets home, whenever that may be.” She met Quinn’s gaze. “I’m happy to look after my rescuer until then.”

Nunley got an odd expression on his face. “Of course, madam.” He headed for the door.

“Oh, and Nunley?” When the servant looked at her, she blushed inexplicably. “If you would just close the door on your way out . . .”

His lips tightened into a line, but he nodded and did as she asked.

That cheered Quinn. She’d made it so they could be alone and private, which proved he still had a chance with her. Between that and her blush, things were looking up.

With a certain softness in her eyes, she stopped pushing on his arm. “I think you’re no longer bleeding.” She removed a pair of scissors from her apothecary chest and proceeded to cut off his shirt.

“I knew you were eager for me,” he teased as she bared him from waist to neck, “but this is taking matters a bit far, don’t you think?”

“How can you joke?” With worry beetling her brow, she surveyed his arm. “You’re hurt, and it’s all my fault.”

Guilt choked him. “Not all your fault. The villain pushing you into me had something to do with it.”

“And that’s my fault, too.” She pulled a bottle out and poured some liquid from it onto a cloth, then leaned over him to dab at his wound.

“How so?” he ground out as the fluid against raw flesh burned.

“He was trying to abduct me,” she said, gently cleansing the wound with what smelled like alcohol. “No doubt to keep me from attending the ball tonight.”

Uh-oh. That was uncomfortably close to the truth, although Quinn hadn’t known she was going to a ball. “And . . . er . . . why should someone want to keep you from attending such a thing?”

She wouldn’t look at him. “I can’t talk about it.”

That utterly flummoxed him. “Why not?” Unless it was just as he’d guessed. She’d been going to be with “Gregory.” Again. “Were you supposed to meet Fulkham there?” Are you in love with your brother-in-law? His growing suspicion closed a fist about his heart.

“What?” she said, sounding truly surprised. “Certainly not. Why would you think that?”

“Well, you said he’d be out very late, and I thought perhaps you knew that because you were supposed to join him.” A hollow hurt settled in his gut. “When you cancel plans with me, it’s generally because of him.”

Her face closed up. “Your wound isn’t as bad as I feared, but it’s deep enough that I ought to stitch it up so it will heal properly.”

All thoughts of Fulkham flew right out of his head as she drew some thread and a needle out of her chest of horrors.

Not liking being at a disadvantage, he sat up, then clamped his hand over his arm. “You are not going to practice your embroidery skills on me.”

She ignored him and threaded the needle. “Don’t be so skittish. I’ve done this before.”

“What, sewn up wounds?” When she nodded, he said, “Who the hell are you? What sort of gently bred woman carries a knife and knows how to sew up a wound?”

Her lips thinned. “It’s complicated.”

“Clearly. So do me the favor of uncomplicating it by explaining.”

“I told you—I can’t,” she said, clearly exasperated.

“Then I’m not letting you anywhere near my arm with that needle.”

“Fine,” she snapped. “Wait until you can see a doctor. Get an infection. What do I care?”

“Obviously not enough to let me know anything about your past. Not enough to tell me your hopes for the future.” His throat tightened. He took a chance and said the words he’d been suppressing for weeks. “Not enough to be honest and tell me why every time I bring up marriage, you change the subject.”

Her face fell. “Oh, Quinn . . .” She appeared to be debating something. Then she dragged in a heavy breath. “Let me stitch up your wound, and I swear I’ll tell you as much as I dare.”

Dare? That sounded ominous. But he couldn’t go on like this. It was turning him into a blithering fool, and he wasn’t used to feeling that way.

He uncovered his wound. “Thank you.”

She rose and walked over to a decanter. Pouring a generous portion of brandy, she returned to his side with the glass. “Here, you may need this,” she said as she held it out to him.

“You’re damned right I will.” To soften the pain of being used as a pincushion, and to soften the blow of whatever she was about to say.

God rot it. He downed the contents in one long swallow, relishing the burn. At least he could be drunk while she dashed all his hopes.

Looking a bit nervous, she sat down and took his arm in her hand. “Your wound really isn’t so bad. It’ll take two, three stitches at the most.”

“Just get it over with,” he growled.

She stuck the needle in him.

“Mother of God and all that’s holy,” he hissed through his teeth. “Are you sure you’ve done this before?”

“My husband was in the army,” she said. “So yes. A few times.”

Right. He’d forgotten that Vyse had been an army lieutenant. “But that was long after the war was over. How did he get wounded?”

“Doing things he shouldn’t.”

She stuck him again, but by now the brandy had begun to take effect and he felt marginally less pain.

“Like what?” he asked, to keep his mind off it. “Dueling? Getting into fights? Stumbling about drunk and running into things?”

“More like throwing himself willy-nilly into anything that smacked of danger.” Her mouth formed a grim line as she tied off the thread. “Don’t get me wrong. He was a good man, my husband. But he would take on any mission, no matter how risky, just for the thrill of it. In the year we were married, I spent half my nights alone, terrified of what might happen to him.”

“I thought women liked daring men.” Men like Fulkham.

“I suppose some do.” She bit off the thread, then drew out a bandage to wrap around his arm. “Personally, I’d rather have a man with less appetite for adventure.”

Intriguing. “But you were in love with your husband, I assume.”

Guilt flashed over her face. “Not exactly. I mean, I liked him. He was a fine gentleman and we were good friends. Close friends, even.”

“Who shared a bed,” he said thickly.

“Yes.” She concentrated on winding the bandage about his arm, though her cheeks grew decidedly pink. “We were married, after all. But he’s been dead awhile now. I’m ready to . . . to . . .”

“Marry again?” he prodded. When she didn’t answer, pain clogged his throat. “Just not to marry me.”

She sighed. “It isn’t that simple.”

Right. “I understand. You’ve set your sights higher.” On Fulkham, just as he’d feared. “You don’t want some lowly banker who deals with numbers all day, like a clerk—”

“A clerk?” She snorted as she tied off the bandage. “I doubt that any clerk makes as much money as the director of Raines Bank.”

Well, at least she’d noticed his financial state. “Still, I’m in trade. I’m not a titled lord.”

“Thank heaven.”

That response would have relieved him, except it made other possible reasons for her reluctance loom larger. “And I’m not the handsomest of men—”

“If you were any more handsome, you’d be the death of me,” she muttered, dropping her hand down to rest on his naked chest.

Turning to face her, he took in the sight of her alabaster hand against his swarthy skin, and his pulse thundered. “So my Spanish blood isn’t what bothers you.”

“Of course not. Why would it?”

“Because it reveals, more than anything else, that I’m not a typical Englishman.”

“You certainly aren’t—not in any way.” Her soft smile spiked need in the pit of his stomach. “And that’s precisely what appeals to me. You don’t look down on those beneath you; you reason through things rather than taking what the government says at face value; and you’re steady as an oak.”

“Yet you consistently avoid any talk of a marriage between us.” When she said nothing more, a curse escaped him. “I’m running out of reasons for that, Meriel. If it’s not what I do or who I am or how I look, then what is it? Unless . . .”

“Unless what?” She smoothed her other hand over his chest, and he lost his train of thought as his cock stirred in his trousers.

He stared into her lovely eyes, the exact hue of rain-drenched slate. She’d never touched him so intimately before. Why was she doing so now?

To distract him. To keep him from pressing this issue.

Well, he was done with her avoidance. “Unless . . . you’re in love with someone else.”

She gaped at him. “Who the devil would I be in love with?”

He would take comfort in her clear surprise, except it might only mean she hadn’t yet acknowledged to herself how she felt. He’d have to force her to do so. He had to know.

Just tell her you love her.

And have her pity him for it if she loved someone else? No thank you.

“Quinn, answer me! Whom do you think I love?”

He braced himself. “Fulkham.”

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A Talent for Temptation 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have nothing nice to say. I like this author but this extraordinarily SHORT story is boring, weird crap.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very short story. Multiple previews of other books made it seem like that was its real purpose, except I paid for this.
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
Super short story, probably the shortest story I have read. Two people love each other but neither is brave enough to stand up and say something until Quinn decides to fake an abduction in order to save her and be her hero. He thinks she loves another and wants for her to see that he can be what she needs. She desperately wants a normal life with him away from all of the spying she has been doing, but she doesn't think he will be able to accept who she really is. When the truth of the abduction comes out though, will she be able to forgive the deceit when all she hungers for is the truth? The story was ok. There really wasn't much to it. Cute but just ok. Too short to really get involved with the characters or their conflict.
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
'A Talent for Temptation' by Sabrina Jeffries is Book 4.5 in The "Sinful Suitors" series. This is the story of Meriel Vyse and Quinn Raines. I have read the other books in this series (and Loved Them!) but feel this is easily a standalone book. Also be warned this is a Novella with around 82 pages long. Meriel is a widow after her husband who was also a friend to her was killed. Quinn is smitten with Meriel but she seems to just try to avoid him when ever he tries to meet with her. Quinn makes plans to finally get her attention but things don't go as they should. Meriel has her secrets and does try to avoid Quinn thinking she isn't good enough for him to marry. This was sweet easy read! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars-an entertaining short story 3.5 stars-- A TALENT FOR TEMPTATION by Sabrina Jeffries is instalment 4.5 in the author’s adult SINFUL SUITORS historical romance series- a spin off from Jeffries’ ‘The Duke’s Men’ series. This is bank clerk Quinn Raines, and widow Meriel Vyse’s story line. A TALENT FOR TEMPTATION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Told from dual third person perspectives (Quinn and Meriel) A TALENT FOR TEMPTATION is a short story focusing on Quinn Raines’s attempts to woo the widow Meriel Vyse by staging an attempted abduction that ends with our hero a victim of his own stupidity. Hoping to win Meriel’s affection by rescuing a ‘maiden in distress’ Quinn quickly learns that Meriel is capable of defending herself, and is wickedly skilled with using a knife. What ensues is the quick building proclamation of love and affection between Meriel and Quinn, and the just as quick fall-out when Quinn’s ruse is revealed. A TALENT FOR TEMPTATION is a sweet, humorous, and sexy short story about two people who believe each other is someone that they are not-Meriel will reveal that her life is so much more than a struggling widow. The premise is entertaining; the characters are colorful; the romance is naughty but nice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I see the complaints, but I disagree. I like it when we get shorter glimpses into the worlds authors build. It just makes it all richer. Judging it for what it is, a short, I thought this was good and a sweet little story.
Cali-Jewel More than 1 year ago
A fun, witty, engaging and exciting romantic journey. This story may be a quick read, however it is extremely entertaining. Meriel and Quinn are a interesting couple and I enjoyed this emotionally thrilling adventure so much I am now looking to read the rest of the series. Meriel is hiding a secret life from Quinn and he is determined to get her to stop pulling away from him and maker her his. Very well written, entertaining short story.
zsoccerbrat More than 1 year ago
Within the pages of this short, you will find two characters wanting to be together, but it takes an act of desperation from the hero, Quinn, to get the ball rolling. The heroine, Meriel, has a secret that she believes places her in a position disallowing her to marry, even though her and the hero both desire to do so. I thought this short cute. It somewhat reminded me of a modern man’s attempts to attract the eye of their pursuant to demonstrate their ability to protect, but as usual, something goes wrong. I did enjoy this short and would recommend it to anyone with an hour of downtime during which they would like to read. ***I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review***
JuliaAD More than 1 year ago
Quinn plans a kidnapping because he is sure that if he shows Merial that he can take care of her, she will decide that she needs him. He wants to always be with her and she doesn't think she is good enough. She isn't the lady he thinks. Quinn has a few surprises for Merial and she has a few of her own.
rc1836 More than 1 year ago
Sassy sexy novella I've been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries for years. A go to author when I'm looking for that special historical romance. In this novella she provides a wonderful insight into Meriel and Quinn's growing romance. While the time frame is mere hours there is a richness of detail and plot. Highly recommended. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC I received from NetGalley
LorelaiMom More than 1 year ago
4 Stars! A Talent for Temptation is book #4.5, a novella, in Sabrina Jeffries Sinful Suitors series. The Heroine & Hero: Meriel Vyse is a widow with a past. Quinn Raines is director & heir to a banking empire. The Story: Meriel & Quinn have been seeing each other in secret for a few months. Stealing moments at balls & arranging secret rendezvous. Quinn has admitted to himself that he is in love with Meriel, but has been hesitant in admitting his feelings to her because he is worried that her feelings may be engaged with another. Every time Quinn brings up marriage Meriel changes the subject & she is constantly cancelling their meet ups to do something for her brother-in-law. In order to compete with said brother-in-law & put himself in a different light, he sets up a fake abduction of Meriel so he can be her daring rescuer. And as you can imagine, things don't go as planned & he is accidentally stabbed by Meriel! Meriel can't believe she has stabbed her secret beau while trying to escape an abduction attempt! She brings him inside her home in order to patch him. She has recently been having an internal struggle over her secret relationship with Quinn. She would love nothing more than to be able to have a normal relationship & marriage with Quinn but secrets from her past make her unsuitable to be the respectable wife of a bank director & she feels like she still owes a debt to her brother-in-law who saved her once. While getting patched up, both Quinn & Meriel confess to truths from their pasts. Quinn doesn't care about her past & Meriel starts to feel like there is a real chance she could have her happily ever after with Quinn. Unfortunately just as they are making progress, Quinn's deception comes to light. Will Meriel be able to forgive Quinn? Has Quinn just lost the love of his life because of a moment of stupidity? The Verdict: This novella was a great read! I love these shorter stories for when you want to escape reality for only an hour or so, but you still want to get a complete story within that short time. Meriel & Quinn's Story was short & sweet. I loved how Quinn loved Meriel so much that nothing of her past made him even hesitate in his feelings & want of her as his wife. Meriel was a victim of circumstance and she gave so much of herself for others, she really deserved her happily ever after. I would definitely recommend this book! *ARC was provided via NetGalley & the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Meriel Vyse, age 27, lives at the Fulkham townhouse owned by her brother-in-law, Gregory Vyse, the Baron Fulkham. Merkel is the widow of John, Gregory’s brother. Sometimes, Meriel carries out spy work of sorts for Gregory. Quinn Raines, age 29, is a friend of Meriel’s, but some might say he is more than a friend. He is the son of a wealthy banking family. Tonight, Meriel is awaiting her carriage to take her to a ball when she is grabbed by a man. At the same time, another man comes running demanding she be let go. Scared and confused, she accidentally stabs her rescuer instead of the man who first grabbed her. Meriel always keeps herself armed. Unfortunately, her rescuer turns out to be none other than Quinn. He had planned the fake abduction hoping to win Meriel’s love. It seems he thinks she loves Gregory. As Meriel insists on tending to Quinn’s wound, they open up more and share their lives and thoughts with each other. But is Meriel hiding more about her past and what she really does? If Quinn knew the truth, would he still want her? This is a short novella but a compact and sweet story. I enjoyed it and hope others will as well. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
candy-b More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Meriel Vyse was married to Gregory's younger brother. Now she is a widow and helps Gregory. Quinn Raines is a banker, he is like an open book and Meriel loves him. I thought this was a marvelous story, there was a chance of danger and many secrets. The characters were true to themselves and the dialogue seemed very natural. The plot was a touch complex but the feelings invoked made it all worthwhile. The author did an amazing job of weaving all into a comfortable and easy to read tale. I received this from Net Galley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Rainn2978 More than 1 year ago
This is a quick story. Very sweet and cute though. I enjoyed it, I just thought it was way too short. Meriel Vyse is a widow who spies for her brother in law. She doesn't think she can quit and move on with her life because she feels she owes him too much. Even though she truly does love Quinn Raines. Quinn thinks that she can't love him because he isn't heroic like her husband was. He wants to marry her and have a life with her and doesn't know or understand why they can't do that. So he comes up with a plan to prove he is heroic to her. And then the laughter begins. It was really good, like I said I just wish it had been longer as I was enjoying their story.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
Three and a half stars. I haven't read any of the previous books in this series and so I can confirm that this can definitely be read as a stand-alone novella but maybe the characters have been introduced in one of the earlier novels? Anyway, Meriel Vyse is a widow and she works occasionally for her brother-in-law as a spy. She feels great gratitude towards him for saving her life and therefore feels unable to tell him she no longer wants to work for him. She is having a clandestine romance/ flirtation with Quinn Raines, the half-Spanish heir to Raines Bank but she knows they can never get married because she is so much beneath him and has so many secrets. Quinn is desperately in love with Meriel but he fears he is too foreign, too staid and too common for a woman like her, she seems to crave a more flamboyant heroic figure like her brother-in-law. So Quinn plans a harmless attempted kidnapping (from which he will heroically rescue her), which goes spectacularly wrong and ends up with him being stabbed in the arm. Set over the course of one night, this 100 page novella is an engaging romp where our hero and heroine find true love. I liked the writing and the characters, I most definitely wanted to know more about them and Meriel's brother-in-law Baron Fulkham. I will look out for more from this series. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
SMeeko More than 1 year ago
FINAL DECISION: This is a very short story so nothing is deep or complicated about it, but I enjoyed the plot and the romance between two people who want one another but need to reveal their secrets to move forward. THE STORY: An attempted abduction threatens widow Meriel Vyse, but she accidentally stabs her secret beau Quinn Raines as Quinn tries to save her. What Meriel doesn't know is that Quinn orchestrated the attempted kidnapping in order to play the hero because he worries that Meriel sees him as the staid businessman and not exciting. Both holding secrets that keep them apart, Meriel and Quinn want closeness but have to learn to trust one another. OPINION: This is a very short story, but I enjoyed the quick and dirty romance between Meriel and Quinn. The focus here is really on Meriel and her freeing herself from her past. (It also gives a view into Fulkham's psyche). We meet Meriel and Quinn mid romance so the only question is whether they can work out the secrets each is keeping in order to find a way forward. I thought the story was amusing at times. The short nature meant that there wasn't a tremendous amount of depth or action, but I thought a lot was packed in for so few pages and I thought it was a good addition to the series. WORTH MENTIONING: I can't wait to read Fulkham's book. CONNECTED BOOKS: A TASTE FOR TEMPTATION is book 4.5 of the Sinful Suitors series. It can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters. This book is somewhat of a prequel for THE SECRET OF FLIRTING which is about the spymaster brother-in-law of this book's heroine. STAR RATING: I give this novella 4 stars. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
A nice interlude into our Sinful Sinners world. Even though this was a very short read, Jeffries did not leave me wanting more. This gets me even more excited for the next book in the series!
stanhope3234 More than 1 year ago
A fake abduction, an accidental stabbing and a secret tryst all leads to revealed spies and matters of the heart. Widow Meriel Vyse longs for a normal quite life free of spying for her brother in law. Quinn Raines a working man who's hoping to prove his worth to the woman he loves. Meriel knows she needs to end her secret trysts with Quinn, a man of means will want nothing to do with her if he learns her secrets. Quinn must prove to Meriel that he's worth fighting for. Fast, fun and sexy read!
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
Meriel Vyse is a widow and also helps her brother-in-law, Gregory Vyse, the Baron Fulkham by being an undercover spy. Meriel owes him her life, so she has been helping him for years. Meriel longs to be in a real relationship with Quinn Raines, her secret love, but she thinks she can't because of being a spy. Quinn is tired of being the nice guy and waiting for Meriel to return his feelings and decides to take matters into his own hand. Quinn decides he is going to stage an attempted abduction of Meriel where he will come to her rescue. Maybe then she will be so grateful, she will profess her undying love. Of course, things don't go as planned and in typical Sabrina Jeffries style, this is where the fun really begins. I really adored Meriel. She is a fun and feisty lady and I loved that she finally got her happy ending. Great, fun, short story!
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
This Regency novella features characters we have met before in the other Sinful Suitors books, but this story stands on its own and you can enjoy it without having read the other books. This fun story features the danger and humor of an abduction attempt gone wrong, the longing of two characters who think they can't possibly be together, and the satisfaction when they clear up all the misunderstandings and admit how they really feel. Meriel and Quinn have some sizzling chemistry, and I love that someone finally stood up to Fulkham!
carvanz More than 1 year ago
Meriel and Quinn have been meeting secretly for a few months. However, she is repeatedly canceling their rendezvous in order to do as her brother-in-law requests. Quinn has finally had enough and he instigates an outrageous plan to prove to her that he is more than a boring, staid banker. In doing so, he learns that Meriel is more than what she seems as well. This is a very quick read that I really enjoyed. It has all the quirky dialogue and interesting characters this author is known for in a small amount of space as well as a super steamy scene that had me searching for a fan. It doesn’t get any better than Sabrina Jeffries when it comes to romance and this one is not to be missed! This is an honest review of an advanced copy provided by NetGalley and Gallery Books. Dual POV Safe No apparent triggers
def618 More than 1 year ago
A cute short story! Mrs. Meriel Vyse, widow, works for her brother-in-law Baron Fulkham gathering information at social events. She is in love with Quinn Raines, a banker, but feels she owes Fulkham for the help he gave her when she needed it. A surprise attack on her and rescue by Quinn leads to a HEA. There is more going on and I won't ruin the plot. Thank you to Sabrina Jeffries for the ARC.
PegC51 More than 1 year ago
Widow Meriel Vyse is a woman with secrets. She feels indebted to her spymaster brother-in-law, Gregory Vyse, and therefore continues to carry out missions for him. She keeps this activity a secret from Quinn Raines, the man with whom she is falling in love. She is keeping Quinn a secret from Gregory. She just doesn’t know how he will react if she tells him she wants to quit spying and that she has a beau. An attempt to kidnap Meriel and a heart-to-heart talk with Gregory help bring about a solution to the situation. A Talent for Temptation is a quick read with charming characters, a little suspense, a little steam, Sabrina Jeffries’s signature wit and humor, and a happy ending. It is a charming addition to the Sinful Suitors series and a good segue to the next story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I voluntarily reviewed it and the comments are my own.