Twelve Days of Seduction by Maire Claremont
Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward's governess misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he's quite displeased, even if she is one of the most intelligent women's he's ever met. His ward deserves a reputable governess, so he threatens to give Adriana the sack mere days before Christmas.
Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she's grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to prove she's not the reputable governess he believed he hired. If he can seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, she will leave without protest.
But when they find the challenge more difficult than either imagined, can they face the consequences of their decisions?
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The Twelve Days of Seduction
By Eva Devon, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2012 Máire Claremont
All rights reserved.
On the Eve Before Christmas
My True Love Gave to Me
One Offer Most Seductive
"I should throw you out into the snow."
The duke's words traveled the short distance between them, reverberating through the cavernous gallery. Adriana Flint shivered. That heady voice filled her with awareness and forbidden desire. A most terrifying combination.
She lingered silently before him, bathed in the red glow of the enormous fire stoked to blazing. Uncertain how to reply.
The boisterous notes of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" being played down the hall on the new Broadwood Grand in the drawing room, complemented by the numerous guests, all made merry by many cups of mulled wine, drifted through the champagne-hued brocade walls.
It was a song that usually made Adriana sad at Christmas. It reminded her of the loneliness she had always felt on the most hallowed and anticipated days. Now, that song reminded her of the bold girl she'd been. The bold girl who demanded she give back as good as she'd been given. But this last year, she'd practiced meekness so well that now ... Well, now, her own voice was hesitant and meek.
After all, she'd been in awe of the duke for almost a year now. An aching year in which she'd masqueraded as the perfect governess.
The worst of it was that she felt a hint of fear that sent her heart pounding against her ribs. It was an emotion she wasn't particularly comfortable with. Squaring her shoulders, she said softly, "No, you won't throw me out thus, Your Grace. I know you won't."
He took two sure steps forward, the black wool of his perfectly tailored frock coat and trousers straining against his well-muscled form. He stared down at her, his face a mask of dark shadows. Yet, even so, those whiskey-tinted eyes glowered from under two black slashes of brows. "And how do you know?"
She bit her lower lip and glanced toward the holly-and evergreen-decked mantel.
That voice, it slid over her skin like liquid sin. Every time she'd been in his presence, every moment she'd heard that timbre, heat had coiled in her belly, teasing lower and lower still. Sadly, as a governess, she'd seldom been in his company. And so, she'd savored every brief encounter.
Only now, he thundered at her, a menacing sort of growl that should have frightened her out of her wits. But she was no schoolroom miss to quake at a man's displeasure. She'd been cornered in the galleries of a theatre by men who didn't understand the meaning of desist, and she'd sent those men packing. So, even a duke's censure couldn't frighten her. Not truly. Not physically. Only. Only, she desperately didn't wish to lose her place at Highburn. She was safe here. She had a place. A home. A little girl to love and who loved her in return. Oh, no. She wasn't simply going to skulk away.
She drew in a steadying breath then gazed up at him through her lashes. "How do I know? Because unlike some of your station and sex, you are not cruel. You would never cast me out to such a rash fate."
His square, perfectly shaved jaw set in a hard line. "Do you know what I have heard about you, madam?"
She inwardly winced. She could only guess. "There are many things I don't doubt you might have heard. The important question is, from whom did you hear them?"
He paused as if considering keeping his source a secret. "Mr. Betterton."
How in bloody Hades had he found that man? She'd always been so careful with her correspondence and, in London, she wore a veil when she went out on business. "Did you follow me?"
His lids lowered, half hiding his molten, amber gaze. "Yes."
He'd followed her? Himself? Surely a duke had far more important interests than following his governess. She was beneath his notice and yet ... he had noticed. Blast. That didn't bode well. Not for her future at Highburn. "Why did you follow me?"
"You were acting most strangely, dressed like a woman in mourning, scurrying out of my home."
She fought a misplaced grin. It was too preposterous. "So you followed me. Based upon your displeasure with my choice of dress and manner. My, but you are suspicious."
His gaze narrowed. "You are avoiding the point."
She widened her eyes innocently. "What point?"
A low sort of growl seemed to rumble from his throat. "Your black reputation."
She offered him a slow, wry smile. "I imagine you must have thought of me in quite a biblical light to be so upset."
"If you infer I am comparing you to the Virgin Mary, you are most mistaken. I doubt virgin and your name can be uttered in the same sentence."
It was tempting to allow indignation and anger to rule her, but he was correct. And he even had a right to be angry. She'd misrepresented herself to the world, assuming the guise of a prim and proper governess, leaving that Adriana Flint behind.
"Speechless?" he demanded. "Surely it is I who should be shocked."
A laugh, quite inappropriate, escaped her lips. "Not speechless. I'm simply certain you're thinking more along the lines of the whore of Babylon. It sounds like something Mr. Betterton might say."
"You said it, not I, Miss Grey. Or is it ... Miss Flint?"
The imperiousness of his wide stance didn't escape her. He thought himself so above her, so high. A prince among mortal men. That coolness didn't detract from his attraction. Perversely, it only added to it. She'd always loved strong men. A weakness, since strong men could not be managed.
"Miss Grey?" he repeated.
Anna Grey. What a tiring name she'd taken on. Now he knew. But how much? How much did her employer know and why was he interrogating her, not simply having her chucked out by the housekeeper?
Under his fierce stare, any woman would confess all and beg forgiveness. Years of scraping along in the streets, buying gin for her father and fighting off the advances of the artists who had worked in her parents' studio had made her hard and determined. It had been some time since she'd needed to draw upon that strength but ... "It is Miss Flint, and if you fear I am a whore of Babylon, from what I understand of your proclivities, you are its king."
He stared down at her for a long, blank moment, then a sharp laugh boomed from him. Humor was absent from the sound, yet he laughed. A devil's laugh. "My God. I have allowed you to guide my ward, and you don't even try to deny your past."
"To deny it wouldn't avail me, would it?" She smoothed her hands down the front of her simple dove-grey gown, suddenly very concerned that the man she had watched and secretly admired from afar might indeed cast her out into the frigid North Country winter the night before Christmas. "You clearly have confirmed information, or I wouldn't be standing before you."
He shook his head, hair blacker than a raven's wing brushing his brow. "You are nothing like a governess should be."
"But I am one. I have been now for some time."
"And before that?" he demanded.
"Many things." Oh, how many, she couldn't count. Flower seller, matchstick girl, student, prostitute in training, and very nearly a woman of the night. So near, she'd been burned but had not been consumed in those dangerous flames.
A tired sigh escaped him. "I cannot castigate you for immorality."
The smirk that curled her lips was entirely unbidden. She had no idea where her sudden boldness came from, but she found herself speaking as Adriana would have. Not Anna Grey. "I never did take you for a hypocrite."
"That, I refuse to be. But Miss Flint, I cannot allow you to look after my ward." He strode back toward his massive desk. Reaching for his pocketbook. "She is a child, and your morals are that of a hardened jade."
She stiffened, surprised at how much the insult hurt. She'd believed herself impervious to such things. She'd lived through the pain of her parents' broken lives, the rod in cold schoolrooms, and later the dangers of the street.
She lifted her hand to the small green velvet ribbon at her throat, her only nod to the festive season, and pressed it lightly. "That is hardly fair."
"You are a liar, and I cannot trust you." He reached for his quill.
Her throat tightened. He was clearly about to give her the last of her salary and send her off. Away from her home. Away from Georgiana. She strode forward. "Your Grace —"
"You cannot deny your dubious past, can you?" He didn't even look up as he opened the inkwell.
She looked away, her heart hurting in a way she had not felt for years. What a fool she had been to begin to allow herself to care. To allow herself to find peace here. Hadn't she learned so long ago that one was never safe? "No, I cannot."
"You're a ... a —" His mouth twisted with distaste. "A bloody novelist."
There were far worse things she could have been. Almost had been. She nodded. "In fact, my books are on your library shelves."
He stared down at the paper on his desk, sighed, then pulled open the top drawer, dragged out four leather-bound green books, and dropped then on the desk as if the mere touch contaminated his skin. "Once I discovered your name, I read them. They were surprising."
He hesitated then moved his strong hand back to the books, letting his fingers hover over them. He looked up, his eyes softening with sympathy. "Your life — It must have been very hard before you took on your new identity, to write so well about the lower classes."
That sympathy, suddenly turning his hard gaze warm, burned her more than any harsh words might. How did she stay strong when he looked at her as if he could see every misfortune, every harrowing moment of her childhood? Every day her father had hit her, every night her once beautiful mother had gone out to make money for food, and every day she'd shivered in the rain for lack of proper clothing.
How did she make him see her? The woman. Not the governess. Not the wretch who'd clawed her way up from the pits of misery that haunted London.
One look about this room and it was clear he was different than other men. Five hundred years of family mottos, stained glass, and armory presently swathed in green boughs and red velvet ribbon decking his walls. All meant to remind him how tied he was to his dukedom. How could such a man ever see someone like her? A girl from the gutter who had no pedigree or fortune, but the wits to secure a place in his home.
But she had to try.
She rushed forward the last few steps and braced her hands on the desk, daring to stand with nothing but the solid, polished dark wood between them. "In all this time, have I in any way misguided Georgiana?"
Lord, she'd slaved to be the perfect lady. More than perfect. A governess had to be an even more appropriate example than a true lady of society, lest she be sacked. And here she was about to be sacked by the very man who had made her long to be more than a fraud. He made her long to have been born a lady and able to meet him as an equal, not as a woman who would do anything for the only security she'd ever known.
"Unfortunately, that no longer matters." He looked up, his dark eyes hard. "You have no qualms of conscience. Look at you. You aren't even repentant."
Her breathing slowed. There was no point in pretense any longer. She could do away with the milk-faced young woman she had forced herself to be. Anna could fade and Adriana could be herself again. She leaned forward, angling her head so that her few loose curls spilled against her throat. Temptingly. "Is that what you wish?" She wet her lips with her tongue. "My repentance?"
The silence that stretched between them was filled with something dangerous. Something exciting. Fire flared in his eyes, like charcoal sparked with flint. And in that silence, Adriana realized something. He hungered for her, too.
Holy God. Every fiber of her being seemed to leap to life as she imagined this man touching her. He was so different than the others. The ones her mother's friend had sent her way, trying to turn her to the "trade."
This man's hands upon her skin would consume her like wanton fire. And he'd take his time about it. It was there, in his eyes and the way they burned over her. She could give herself to a man like this because it wasn't just lechery she saw but the desire to give her pleasure. Not just take.
And that was why he had followed her in London. Because he had watched and wanted her in secret. Just as she had watched and wanted him.
"Your Grace," she said softly, daring as she had never dared before. "I lied because I couldn't make enough money as an author to support myself and was afraid of the rough life a friendless woman such as myself would be forced to live in the lesser parts of London."
He said nothing.
"This is my home now. Your dau —" She pressed her lips tight, cutting off the rest of the word. Very few knew the duke had fathered Georgiana in a mésalliance, or that he loved the girl deeply but almost never saw her. Everyone believed he had found her in the streets of Paris, unable to turn the small, crippled, yet beautiful creature away. "Your ward," she continued, "is like my own."
He planted his closed fists against the hard mahogany of his desk, as if her words had hurt him, despite his inherent strength. "Georgiana has a great affection for you," he finally said. As he lifted his gaze to hers, a momentary sadness flickered in his amber eyes. "And I do not wish to break such a bond, but I cannot trust you."
The very fact that he desired her was reason enough for him to send her away; Adriana knew that. Any man with sense would get rid of a governess he desired. It was such a cliché for a lord to dally with a servant, and the duke could never be accused of being a man of predictable tastes.
Still, in the last year, she had forged a home here, winning over the staff. Winning shy, reticent Georgiana, who trusted so few. And most importantly, she had found a place to belong. She wouldn't give that up. Not without a hard fight. "I do not wish to leave this place."
"You wear too many masks, madam." He placed his quill down and contemplated her, his gaze wandering over her face, looking at her as if truly seeing her for the first time. Meaning, he saw the woman, not the servant. "I have no idea who you truly are."
"Do not send me away and find out."
He pulled back from his desk and turned away, giving her his broad back. A back so strong, so wide, she longed to trace her hands along its lines and discover the muscles beneath the layers of his expensive garments.
After several moments, he strode toward the fire and stared into the flames. "And if I let you stay?"
"Your Grace?" she prompted. She could not let herself hope. In all her years upon this earth, hope had laughed in her face. Except for her time here at Highburn Castle.
Here, though she'd spent very little time with him, under his employ she'd found happiness. He'd done kindness though he needn't. The very dove-grey wool she wore, he'd gifted her last spring. He'd smiled, his gaze askance as he'd handed her the present. Their fingers had brushed ever so slightly, and he'd murmured that he'd noticed she needed a new gown. Before she could even reply, he'd turned away to give a larger pink-beribboned package to Georgiana.
There had been several such moments. Brief, marvelous moments. She'd never understood why he'd taken such care. The housekeeper, Mrs. MacTavish, had said it was simply his generous nature. Now she wondered. There had been other moments. A new piano for Georgiana, and yet he'd sat in reverent silence and listened to Adriana play Chopin, a skill she'd learned in the boarding school she'd spent three years in, as Georgiana played with a new doll from her father.
He raised a dark brow in challenge, breaking her reverie. "I have a proposition for you." His face grew stony as if he were shoring up his emotions, the all-powerful duke, afraid of her response. "You may stay, but as something different."
The room expanded about her, her senses sharpening. She felt drunk on his nearness, the lemony, leather scent of him so appealing she wished to walk up to him and bury her face in his strong neck. She blinked, forcing herself to focus on his words. He couldn't possibly be about to say what she thought.
She slid her palms off his smooth desk and stood straight. "As what?"
"My mistress," he said to the leaping flames. "I've wanted you since the moment I saw you. Then, I couldn't have you — a lady, and my ward's governess. But now, it's different."
Her lips parted, and it was on the tip of her tongue to adamantly refuse. She did desire him. Very much so. How she wished to lace her fingers through his black hair. To discover whether it was coarse or silky. To slip his linen shirt from his shoulders and explore the hills and valleys of his broad chest. Now was her chance.
And every action she'd taken in these last moments suggested she'd be pleased to climb in his bed, but if she did accept him, she'd be taking a path she'd thought she abandoned. A dangerous path where she'd have to wall her heart up and ensure she never gave even the slightest part of it to him.
She could not bear to be hurt again. Once, long ago, she'd made the mistake of giving herself to an unworthy man. She should refuse and try to stay in any other way possible. For Georgiana, she would scrub floors.
She held her breath before she dared to say, "May I continue to see Georgiana? I can't bear to be parted from her."
A long moment passed before he gave a single nod. "I couldn't separate the two of you so suddenly. It would be cruel."
Excerpted from The Twelve Days of Seduction by Eva Devon, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2012 Máire Claremont. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
' I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ' Adriana has had a hard life. She lied about her identity to get a respectable job as a governess. She loves her little charge and she is very attracted to the girls father. But unfortunately Alexander finds out the truth of who she is. He won't keep her as governess but he tells her she can be his mistress. She agrees with the stipulation that he has twelve days to seduce her and she use that time to convince her to let her stay in the house and have access to the little girl, who she can't bear to be separated from. Alexander has always been attracted to Adriana. Now he has his chance to be with her. Now he needs to figure out if she is innocent of most of what he heard about her or if she is scamming him. What will he do when he starts to feel more then attraction? I thought this was a wonderful short story. I thought that Alexander was a real jerk at first but I definitely had a change of heart.I give Adriana's character props for trying to better herself instead of taking the easy way. I highly recommend reading. This is such a great quick read I couldn't put it down. 'Read and Reviewed by LSK Sweetheart Reviews'
Once again an author I didn’t know, not translated for now, but whose synopsis appealed to me. I don’t think I’ll read her again. I found this novel very dark and after having looked a little her other publications, I’m sure it’s the author’s own style. The twelve days of seduction seems to be her less dark romance and yet the heroine’s past is very heavy. I found this fact very contradictory even if it’s what makes me give a better rating. Indeed the author doesn’t dwell at length on what happened to the heroine before she became the hero’s ward’s governess, which is a good thing for me. However, I don’t much like when an author doesn’t really take responsibility for what she wants to explain. I mean, if the heroine had to suffer the worst outrages to show she’s a survivor, you may as well see the idea through to the end and not finding an explanation on how she was able to get out of her condition. The risk is of course not to appeal to some readers, but at least the author will have exploited her idea till the end and the reader can fully appreciate the character’s evolution. My second problem is that the novel was short (120 pages), too short. The characters, their relationship, their story together and even how the heroine got through, are only skated over even unexplained, to my great regret. Of course I don’t talk about details about the heroine’s past, but about how our two heroes meet, how they try to struggle against their attraction and the evolution of their feelings. I had the feeling while reading the novel to be reading a long epilog and it’s a pity. On the other hand, I liked our main characters, Alexander Hunt and Adriana Flint, and Alexander’s ward, a nice and respectful little girl like I like them in a romance. I liked their determination and the fact they know what they want and do everything to get it. I liked the sex scenes which are well described and I liked the fact they are honest one toward the other. That’s why I read this story in one go and I liked the book all the same.
A well-developed plot and surprisingly complex characters highlight this Christmas Themed novella, and provide plenty of heartwarming moments for readers fond of Victorian romance. Adriana has overcome her lowly beginnings and risen to the position of governess for the Duke’s ward. All of her backstory presented to Alexander, however, was a lie: yet her capable care and concern for his ward was never an issue. When he confronts Adriana with his knowledge of her deception, and insists that she becomes his mistress, she counters his proposition. Desperate to save her position and not lose her connection to the little girl, Adriana is guarded and unsure, especially when Alexander’s questions become more pointed, and he accepts with a fair amount of grace, her chastisement. Despite the brevity of the story, characters are beautifully developed showing their fears and concerns and present each character with a new view on hope, life and love. Máire Claremont has given these characters a clear path to their happy ever after, and provided a clever background that highlights the potential of Christmas for everyone. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars I received a copy of this book from the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way. Adriana Flint is the governess for the Duke of Berresford who’s not too happy with her right now. But he has a proposition for her. I love her solution to what he proposes. Alexander Hunt is a man on a mission. For those women that love historicals, how many of you don’t fantasize about being romanced by a sexy Duke. Got to love a historical romance set around Christmas – gives the single ladies hope that they find someone too. Maire is good about showing the division of the classes and how the higher ups are such snobs. Our author starts almost every chapter with an interesting sentence that puts a fresh twist on the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Even though this book is set around Christmas, you could read this story any time of year. This story will seduce your senses and have you hungry for more. And it’s all done with words not with sex but the craving is there. And our author knows just the right moment to give her readers their sex fix. This is a story that once you start; you won’t want to stop until you get to the very last page. Maire will give you the perfect HEA ending that will have you smiling. It’s a book that you can finish in just a few short hours. The only downside, for me, was that I didn’t have a fireplace to sit next to.
The twelve days of seduction: Adriana and Alexander made a wonder pair- I really loved them. The story though short was very good and I enjoyed it immensely. He was a duke and she was poor, mistreat, but beautiful inside and out, how could he resist her. Adriana was also a novelist which in those times was an outrage, but not to Alexander. He loved everything about her and he was not going to let her go. She was his ward’s governess and he was going to keep her. I loved the ending, it was not a great surprise but I liked reading it anyway. I give this story five stars and recommend it highly.
The Twelve Days of Seduction by Maire Claremont is a beautiful short story about love, respect and overcoming the separation of social classes. Alexander Hunt is the Eighth Duke of Berresford and has just discovered that his ward's governess is actually a fraud and a (Gasp) novelist! Adriana Flint has done everything she can to better herself beyond her circumstances of birth. She is now a governess to a wonderful little girl that she loves very much. When His Grace confronts her about her lies and confirms that he knows she is a (Gasp) novelist she believes she will be out in the snow on Christmas Eve. Instead, the attraction His Grace has felt towards the off-limits governess has surfaced with a vengeance and this Christmas they will both be seduced.
I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming plot with steamy sex as well as a lovely Christmas theme. This author gives excellent setting details that adds depth to this delightful Victorian romance!
Adriana has a quite a few secrets about her past - a past she wants to leave behind and live as a governess in Alexander Hunt's household. But Alexander has found out her secret and is threatening to throw her out into the snow - and right before Christmas. He's willing to compromise and let her be his mistress instead though (how generous). While he sounds a bit like an old fashioned pig, he really is a very good guy that wants to keep Adriana in his life, even if she isn't suitable for employment as a governess. They begin a little game and it gets quite interesting. Adriana has quite a mouth on her when she has an important opinion and she's astonished when Alexander actually backs her up on many of them. This was a very sweet holiday story and I loved the Christmas scene with everyone opening presents. It really let you see into their personalities.
All right I'm such a dork, because I have been looking at this title for a couple of days trying to figure out why it was so familiar. Then it dawned on me, it was actually in an anthology called All I Want for Christmas is a Duke. I actually do have this anthology, but I haven't had time to read it. I know, the shame. Anyway, I was able to read The Twelve Days of Seduction by Máire Claremont (which I got from the publisher). This is why I'm a dork. So, let me tell you my thoughts on the story. First off we have the Duke of Berresford, Alexander Hunt and he finds out that his governess, Miss Grey, isn't who she says she is, but actually Adriana Flint. Of course he's upset with this information, so he decides having Adriana as his ward's governess is no longer an option. After all, he wants an honest upstanding person to be her governess. However, he figures another way to keep her at his home as his mistress. Yet, Adriana isn't going to go down without a fight. Oh no she wants him to be challenge, so the seduction begins. I actually enjoyed this quick read. I liked how Adriana wasn't going to cave to the Alexander. Most people would cave to him, because he's a Duke. I liked how he realized it was going to take more than just seduction to get his governess into his bed. I really like how Alexander realize that there was more to Adriana than the person who kept some secrets from him. Overall, The Twelve Days of Seduction was a nice quick read. So, if you are still in the mood for Christmas stories or absolutely love Dukes, you might give Twelve Days of Seduction a try. Copy provided by publisher.
Maire Claremont’s The Twelve Days of Seduction is a sweet yet very steamy feel good love story that I highly recommend to fans of historical romance. Alexander Hunt recently discovered that his governess is not exactly who she appears to be and threatens to fire her just before Christmas. Adriana Flint has a very good reason for her deception and she cannot fathom leaving the little girl (and the home) she has come to love. Adriana issues a challenge to Alexander that he cannot resist and both of them are surprised by what they learn about themselves and each other over the course of the twelve deliciously sexy days of Christmas. Adriana is a strong woman who has overcome a difficult past and she is not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believes in. Alexander is insanely attracted to her, but it is once they spend some quality time together that he begins to appreciate her for the woman she is. Once the restrictions of social classes are stripped away, Adriana and Alexander begin to recognize the depth of their feelings for each other. The Twelve Days of Seduction is a sparkling gem with richly developed protagonists and a storyline that has a surprising amount of depth. The characters are engaging and the overall plot is quite heartwarming. A quick and easy read that will delight anyone who reads historical romances.
Charles D. would be applauding; the perfect season's offering; I almost expected the last three words to be...bless us, everyone!
The story was very enjoyable.
Great little read
The writer wrote well but there could have been more to the story. It was only 81 pages.
I felt like I was reading from the middle and was missing a lot of backstory but it was a good read.
This was a super quick read and I loved the aspect of judging people on their worth instead of their class.
This is a quick and easy read that fills your heart with happiness. It had me smiling at the end.
But OK for a very quick read
The Twelve Days of Seduction by Eva Devon is a historical romance with a Christmas theme and reminiscent of Jane Eyre. Adriana Flint is a notorious authoress who has been living a disguised life as governess Ana Grey. When the Duke, Alexander Hunt, finds out that his ward's governess has a less than reputable reputation, he is in a bind. His ward, and illegitimate daughter, has bonded with Miss Grey and there is also the small matter of his attraction to her that he cannot deny. His offer to make her his mistress is met with her counter offer that he seduce her for 12 days. The themes of Christmas and spirit of Jane Eyre are worked throughout. As a shorter work, it is streamlined, with characters who have secretly been pining for each other. Adriana's character is a combination of a smart, worldly woman, with someone who is self-conscious and worried about the perception of society. I found her endearing, complicated and well devised as a character. Alexander as a character is one that is both in a bind but also one that has the power to sweep aside an hint of impropriety, if he finds the right reason and means. He is more that just attracted to Adriana he respects her and learns from her. These two characters and Georgiana are a family who just doesn't know it yet. Overall, The Twelve Days of Seduction by Eva Devon was a lot of fun, romantic, and dynamic. I love Jane Eyre and Christmas so I was envisioning scenes and settings covered in snow. I couldn't put it down. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
The Twelve Days of Seduction is a sweet story about love and acceptance. This is a novella by Maire Claremont who is a new to me author. Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford finds out that the governess he hired for his ward is an authoress and has been lying about her identity by passing herself of as Anna Grey. Instead of demanding her to leave, he proposes that she becomes her mistress. In turn, Adriana challenges him to seduce her for 12 days and he succeeds, she will stay as his mistress. This was a very quick read for me (read it over breakfast). The story itself is sweet and the story line moves rather quickly. As with the nature of novellas, it felt a little rushed and I thought their romance needed more emphasis. I had a hard time warming up to both characters, as well. I thought the challenge that Adriana issued to the Duke was just crazy, since she was already allowing herself to be seduced. Initially, I thought the Duke would seduce her for 12 days and not the other way around. I am a bit torn about this. I am giving it a rating of ¿¿¿ because I just can’t imagine that their quick encounters (even the encounters without sex) would immediately turn into love.