by Cheryl Holt

February 2003
ISBN: 0-312-98459-6
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Lady Elizabeth Harcourt is the epitome of decorum. Having decided years before to forgo marriage and manage her father’s household, the virtuous spinster lives her life by society’s rules and conventions. Her world has been completely shattered by her father’s remarriage to a young debutante ten years her junior, in hopes of begetting an heir. She longs to remove herself from all of the turmoil, but cannot fathom how to go about it. She is without financial resources of her own and completely dependent upon her family.

When a dashing Italian artist accosts her in public, desiring to paint her, Elizabeth is shocked. Doesn’t he know that no one speaks directly to a lady of quality without an introduction? And the things he says - how beautiful she was, references to her skin and hair - are just not discussed between strangers!

Of course, Gabriel Cristofore knows all about society’s rules. He has made a thorough study of them so that he knows just how far he can go in his pursuit of lonely spinsters and ignored wives. While in truth his artistic skills are quite good, he prefers to maintain his household with the “gifts” his enamored ladies offer when their affairs are over. He can feel Elizabeth’s despair and loss just as much as he finds her face and figure irresistible. A true lover of all women, he longs to bring passion to her life.

Absolute Pleasure is packed with lush sensuality and brimming over with smoldering passion. The scenes in Gabriel’s studio are skillfully written, bringing the reader a vicarious thrill. You cheer as Elizabeth learns how to become a woman, and sigh as Gabriel realizes that simple seduction is not simple when your heart is involved.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Paula.

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