To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt
Reviewed by PJ Ausdenmore
I love stars. I’m blessed to live away from city lights where, on clear nights, I can recline on my deck and be surrounded by magical, twinkling stars scattered across a dark, velvety sky. Some seem to blink, drawing my attention immediately, others are dim but grow in intensity as the night darkens and then there are stars that burst upon the sky with such brilliance and intensity that they simply take my breath away, but leave me wondering if perhaps they have spent their brilliance too quickly and will fade away that much sooner. Sometimes, a debut novel will leave me wondering the same thing.
Elizabeth Hoyt burst upon the romance fiction scene in late 2006 with the publication of THE RAVEN PRINCE and immediately captivated readers everywhere with her brilliant, emotional writing and engaging characters. If there were any questions of her ability to match the standard of excellence set with her first book they should have been answered with her next two releases, RITA nominated THE LEOPARD PRINCE and the much loved THE SERPENT PRINCE. But just in case you’re still wondering if Ms. Hoyt can continue to turn out amazing stories that engage our minds, warm our hearts and have us happily turning pages until the wee hours of the morning, wonder no more. With the publication of TO TASTE TEMPTATION, it’s clear that Elizabeth Hoyt is destined to be a star whose brilliance will continue to shine for many years to come.
“They say he ran away.” Mrs. Conrad leaned close to impart this bit of gossip.
With that first sentence, I was drawn into TO TASTE TEMPTATION and knew this story wouldn’t be relinquishing its hold on me anytime soon. The “he” to which Mrs. Conrad refers is Samuel Hartley, a brash, arrogant, wealthy self-made businessman from
Samuel is a complex man, brash and bold in manner but hiding a tormented soul inside. Raised in the American wilderness, he joined the British troops as a tracker and was one of the few survivors of the massacre of the 28th Regiment, the same Indian massacre that claimed the life of Emeline’s beloved brother and so many other young men, the massacre that Samuel believes never should have happened and occurred only because someone betrayed them. And that is Samuel’s true purpose for being in
Emeline is no shy, retiring young miss but a self-sufficient widow with a rambunctious and curious young son. She is appalled by Samuel’s disregard for the rules of the ton while at the same time increasingly fascinated by the man himself. Who is this man who boldly places himself in her path at every turn, flaunts convention by wearing moccasins, of all things, to London balls, calls at her home at the ungodly hour of 8am when all of the ton knows you never call before 2pm, and runs the streets of London in the middle of the night as if the very demons of hell were nipping at his heels? Because of England’s strict separation of class and other reasons known only to Emeline, she is not free to pursue her growing attraction to Samuel yet she cannot bring herself to stay away from the only person who has ever looked beyond the face she presents to the world and seen the real person inside who longs to be set free.
Hoyt writes with such emotional intensity that I found my skin tightening, breath shortening and heart pounding as Samuel, the hunter, pursues and Emeline, the prey, evades as they continue to circle one another, growing closer and closer until that moment when desire will not be denied and they finally come together in a blazing explosion that sets the pages of this book on fire.
This story is populated with a wonderful cast of secondary characters who bring richness and complexities to the many layers within. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of them in future books in this series.
Will desire turn to love for Emeline and Samuel? Will love be enough for Emeline to turn her back on her obligations? Will Samuel find the betrayer? You’ll have to read TO TASTE TEMPTATION to discover the answers but clear your schedule first. This is a book you won’t be able to put down!