ROYAL SEDUCTION by Jennifer Blake


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After Prince Maximilian of Ruthenia dies under suspicious circumstances, his mistress Claire flees from France--home to 1820s Louisiana, hiding out with her mother and her virginal, near-lookalike cousin Angeline. So when Max's super-handsome brother Rolfe comes looking for Claire, determined to learn The Truth about Max's death, he finds green-eyed Angeline instead, imprisons her in his lair, and mistakes her for Claire. . . until a near-instantaneous seduction scene (""surging, searing entry,"" etc.), which makes it clear that Angeline has been nobody's mistress hitherto. Then, while Angeline alternates between Lust and Shame, Rolfe and his courtiers try to force her to reveal Claire's whereabouts--even using a little sexual feather-torture. But Angeline remains steadfast, betraying her sluttish cousin only when Rolfe & Co. threaten her aunt with fate-worse-than-death; Rolfe then pursues the elusive Claire, with Angeline dragged along (not all that reluctantly) for a series of re-ravishings and repetitious adventures. (Everybody is captured by Scottish outlaws; then everybody is captured by Mexican outlaws, Rolfe frequently coming to Angeline's rescue--as does young Jim Bowie.) So, by the time Angeline is returned to proper Louisiana society, trying to regain her good name via a generous marriage proposal from dear suitor AndrÉ, she's thoroughly in love with her insatiable seducer. And, hoping to figure out who killed Max and might be trying to kill Rolfe, Angeline walks into the villain's trap, sees Claire get her just deserts, is rescued yet again. . . and eventually gets her man: ""I love you, Rolfe of Ruthenia, my king."" The dialogue here is the usual anachronistic twaddle, with everybody ""grating""--as in ""'This,' he grated, 'is getting to be a habit.'"" And Blake's narration tends to be. . . er, colorful. (""Moss-green with distress, her gaze held. . . . He watched her with blue-flamed coals for eyes. . . ."") But there's a fair amount of action to liven things up, plus a soupcon of passable mystery--which of Rolfe's courtiers is the villain?--to fill in the spaces between the soft-core-porn surgings.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Ballantine