Date read: December 28, 2013
2. Unclaimed - Paperback | Kindle
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Her only hope for survival...Thoughts on Unclaimed: I have mad respect for Courtney Milan for managing to make Mark Turner both honorable and sexy as hell in his virginity. Although he may be untried as far as women go, he's far from unskilled when it comes to courting and showing a woman he's interested. Honestly, given his sterling reputation and her skill set, I wasn't sure how things would come together in the end. But they did and I was pleased.
Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check...until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life.
Is to ruin the man she loves...
But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse--seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs and the love she knows is impossible.
I think the thing that worked for me so much with Mark is that he not only embraces the practice of chastity, he also embraces the idea that he's responsible for his own actions. He chastises the people of Shepton Mallet for claiming they're virtuous and forgiving as they shun Jessica for what they perceive as her fallen status. He, himself, wants Jessica but he's secure enough in himself to know he wants to wait for her.
He could have come off as preachy and arrogant, instead he was wonderfully well-rounded and approachable.
Meanwhile, the situation Jessica finds herself in is painful. From her perspective, she has to seduce him. Even though she doesn't want to. As she comes to know him, she genuinely admires him and doesn't want to ruin him. Yet... she feels she has no choice.
I seriously loved the interactions between Jessica and Mark. I loved seeing Ash and Margaret again and ferreting out a few more hints about Smite and his issues. Yes, I'm excited for book 3. Let's do this!