by Nicole Jordan

May 2004
ISBN: 0-8041-1981-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books #1
Mass Market Paperback

In Nicole Jordan’s newest release Master of Seductionwe will visit the Isle of Cyrene 1813, and the opening for her new series “Guardians of the Sword.” In the blink of an eye, you will meet the protagonists, Caro Evers and Max Leighton, who are about to indulge in a love scene of momentous proportions, and everlasting consequence for them both. It’s a beautiful encounter, one of need, and one of healing. And the beauty of it will inspire hope in your heart for a long satisfying read.

Caro Evers, innately kind, and gentle to both man and animal, is an unconventional woman of her time. She is a practiced healer and surgeon, who had been shunned in England for those very attributes. Caro had broken every rule that society dictated for a proper young lady of the realm. Her peers called her gawky and awkward, the ton—a misfit.

But, England was no home or haven for Caro; she preferred the quiet serenity of Cyrene, where she was accepted, needed and loved. And if society had shunned her for her “masculine” ways, surely they would be appalled to know that Caro was a certified member of a secret society of protectors who called themselves “Guardians.” The Guardians had sworn to uphold ideals passed down by a legendary leader, and Caro was completely dedicated to their cause. Caro, openly practiced medicine in Cyrene by day, but honed her skills as a warrior clandestinely. Inasmuch, she had fully resigned herself to a loveless, unfulfilled life, a life without children, and a life void of the trappings other women her age engendered. After all, who would ever covet a woman like herself, who was no great beauty and one who occupied such masculine pursuits? Although, resigned, Caro never forgot that one glorious night, the man, and the searing passion they had shared.

Max Leighton was a soldier, a much respected and sought out member of the ton. Max was also next in line to inherit an earldom from his uncle. Yet, Max was restless and had no interest in England or the creature comforts his station in life could offer. Max was despondent and without direction or purpose. The war had wreaked havoc in his life. Max could not forget the unspeakable horrors he had seen. The invariable nightmares were a morbid reminder of the sacrifice his childhood friend Phillip had made for him. He had given his life to save Max, and Max replayed those moments before his death continuously. Why couldn’t it have been him instead of Phillip? What right did he have to live, while so many of his men were gone or left forever maimed? The only highlight, the single memory that brought any peace was of Caro. The beautiful woman who had gifted him with her innocence one night not so long ago, and through her innocence had brought a cleansing, a healing, to his wounded heart and soul.

By all rights, by now I should be raving about Nicole Jordan’s Master of Temptation. Sadly, while Max and Caro are likeable, even loveable, I never felt deep emotion for either. The premise of the story should have inspired emotion, perhaps tears, and I think that may have been the problem in a nutshell. Just as soon as I was beginning to feel some sentiment for the characters, Ms. Jordan would institute another vivid love scene, and as lovely as they were, let’s face it, a love scene takes you to another place entirely in your thoughts. Erasing that solitary moment, when the reader might actually connect with the main characters in any real sense. I couldn’t quite conjure a deep response, while Max and Caro were indulging themselves in marathon, very inventive, multiple sexual encounters. Another thing, and one that might just be my problem . . .overly dramatic dialog. Perhaps I’ve read one-too-many historical romances, I don’t know. But, “angel,” “my love” and my real pet peeve at the beginning, or mid-sentence in countless historical novels . . .“for.” All of these, along with several dozen, equally corny platitudes, just drive me to distraction. I’m seriously afraid my eyes are going to stick in a permanent upward position, so much eye rolling have I done of late.

I can’t bring myself to pan this book too harshly, as some may find it a terrific read. But, what I really think is . . .well . . .I . . .maybe, I just need to stick to contemporaries for awhile.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Janice.

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