The Pursuit of Pleasure
Lizzie Paxton's dream in life is to be a widow--if only she could skip the wedding and the husband. When her childhood friend Captain James Marlowe proposes a marriage in name only, she accepts, knowing she'll have the independence she craves once he sets sail. Though James is the only man Lizzie trusts, she doesn't trust the scintillating desire he evokes in her.
James knows he shouldn't get involved with anyone, especially with his uncertain future. But he just can't help himself when he overhears Lizzie's declaration. Though he's promised her a marriage of convenience, he wastes no time in seducing her and taking her over the precipice of desire. Yet not even his beautiful wife can deter him from his cause.
But when Lizzie discovers her husband has deceived her, James must choose between devotion to duty and loyalty to the woman he cannot live without. . .
"Intrigue, sensuality and romance collide." --Jenna Petersen
"Elizabeth Essex's The Pursuit Of Pleasure is elegant, evocative, and absolutely dangerous to a good night's sleep." --Courtney Milan
Essex's Georgian-era romance debut fails to marry drama with plausibility. British naval captain Jameson Marlowe pursues the traitors sending weapons to revolutionary France by purchasing a lovely Dartmouth home with land that includes a likely smugglers' cove. He intends to fake his death and infiltrate the gang. To keep the house from passing to his cousin, he proposes to his childhood friend Lizzie Paxton, but forbids her to actually live in the house. Contrary-minded Lizzie naturally moves in, dangerously interfering with both Marlowe's and the smugglers' plans. While the sex scenes are sizzling, Marlowe treats Lizzie quite callously, and his patronizing attitude toward her is infuriating, even if it's period-accurate. Their surprise at falling in love is implausible given their lifelong mutual obsession; both author and characters seem to have confused lust and love. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. For Lizzie Paxton, the independence a widow enjoys is quite tempting. It’s just that Lizzie doesn’t really want the bother of first dealing with a husband. Fortunately, Captain Jameson Marlowe has an offer for Lizzie that she can’t refuse. Since he is about to sail away on his next commission for the British Royal Navy and will not return for eight years or more, if Lizzie marries him immediately, she will have all of the conveniences of married life without the inconvenience of a husband. Seduced by Jameson’s proposition (and his scorching kisses), Lizzie accepts his proposal, but before the ink is even dry on their marriage certificate, Lizzie receives a letter informing her that her new husband has been killed in the line of duty. It’s exactly what Lizzie wants, but somehow Lizzie would give up everything just to get Jameson back. Essex delivers page-singeing passion and dangerous intrigue in her enthralling, sensual, and richly rewarding debut. --John Charles
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