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Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of Seducing a Stranger by Christine Merrill
Historical romance short story ebook released by Harlequin Historical Undone 1 Nov 09

Sometimes all it takes is a shorter format to make me more tolerant of certain storylines.  If Seducing a Stranger had been a full-length Harlequin Historical, it probably would have gotten on my nerves.  However as a short read that I zipped through on my lunch break?  It hit the spot.

Victoria Paget was a faithful, dutiful wife who followed her soldier husband to the battlefields of Europe.  When he is killed, she returned home to England, a young widow with many questions.  Her husband had voiced concerns about Timothy Godfrey, a Lieutenant in his unit.  When the entire regiment is killed and only Timothy survives, it’s easy for Victoria to become suspicious.  Is it possible that Lt. Godfrey was a French spy that led her husband to his death?  Determined to ferret out the truth, she discovers he’s a patron of a certain brothel.  With some help, she makes plans to meet him there under the guise of being one of the new girls.

When Timothy enters the brothel he is shocked to discover Victoria Paget.  Between the stories that Captain Paget told about his wife, and the miniature he carried with him, Timothy was more than a little envious.  He half fell in love with her, even though they had never met.  He wanted to speak with Victoria after her husband’s death, but she quickly left for England and he was transferred to a different regiment – only to return home to England shortly thereafter thanks to his own battlefield injury.  But now that he has Victoria in his sights, he’s not letting her get away.

What follows is the classic Big Misunderstanding plot.  Timothy thinks Victoria has fallen on hard times after her husband’s death (why else is she in a brothel?) and being the gallant, valiant sort, is determined to protect her.  Victoria thinks that Timothy is a traitorous scum bag who led her husband to his death, but she’s quickly having doubts.  Not only does this man stir her passions, but he certainly doesn’t act or live like someone in cahoots with the enemy.

Naturally it all eventually comes tumbling out, in no small measure thanks to the lust shared between both characters.  The Undone line promises spicy love scenes, and the author certainly delivers!

At the end, all is right with the world, although I was a little surprised how quickly Timothy forgives Victoria for her deception.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Just the fact that these two didn’t come from money and weren’t titled had me halfway sold on this story before I even started it.

That said, if you have an extreme displeasure for the Big Mis, this one will probably irritate.  But for this reader, it was just right.

Wendy TSLGrade: B


Though Lieutenant Tom Godfrey had never met Victoria Paget, he desired her. The late Captain Paget’s stories of his wife—and her portrait—were enough to arouse his envy…and his lust. Now Tom’s returned from the peninsula—and never expected to find the young widow in a bawdy house!

Necessity had brought Victoria to the house of ill repute: it was the only place she could confront Tom, whom she suspected was responsible for her husband’s death. But when she meets the virile soldier, his gallantry and her body’s passionate response to him take her completely by surprise.

What started as a one-night seduction may lead to much more…but will they still have a future when all their secrets are revealed?

No excerpt found.