Caine Ballinger fell apart after his fatherís death. A few years ago, his father committed suicide, leaving the rake Caine as Earl. Caine has been thoroughly uninterested in more serious pursuits and instead of stepping up to his responsibilities; he spirals downward into a sea of depression. His circumstances get much more serious as the family home, Northcote is sold to pay off the old Earlís debts. With nowhere to turn, Caine finds himself vowing revenge on the man who he feels drove his father to suicide, Duke Edward Ashton.
Years after living in his depression, Caine is now the sexual partner of Olivia Hamilton, who know owns Northcote. This is his only way to remain within the walls of his family home. He is not happy with this arrangement but knows that it is a necessary evil.
When Caine meets Lady Bliss Ashton, daughter of the Duke, he suddenly discovers that his plans could come to fruition. He makes a daring wager to get closer to the haughty miss. If he wins the wager, he could become set free. As the stakes get higher and his heart becomes involved, Caine struggles between what he thinks he wants and what he truly needs.
The Pleasure Seekers is an amazingly intense and thoroughly romantic Regency romance. Caine is accurately portrayed as a man in pain, as a man who desperately needs to heal but does not quite know how to go about doing that. Lady Bliss is a dynamic woman, open to the man she sees. The romantic scenes are both classy and erotic without overpowering the emotional intensity of the relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the sequel, out in late 2004. As a new fan of Melanie George, I am adding her to my must-buy list!