Perilous Pleasures is the 3rd book in Jenny Brown’s astrological regency series. Yes, you read that right. This was my first time reading anything by Ms. Brown, so I went into this series as a foundling.
Adam Ramsay is sent to collect a woman, Zoe Gervais, from her mother, a woman he has come to loathe as being responsible for his sister’s death during the French Revolution. He has instructions to confirm her virginal state. Now, personally, if someone I looked up to asked me to confirm whether or not someone else was a virgin, I’d be a bit like, “uhhh, you wanna tell me what that’s all about?” But not Adam. He trusts The Dark Lord implicitly. Yes. The Dark Lord. Because THAT title isn’t ominous or anything.
But I digress.
Zoe, meanwhile, isn’t having any of this nonsense. Her mother, a notorious courtesan, hands her over to Adam after he gives her The Dark Lord’s commandment he do so. Zoe goes somewhat willingly. Her first act of rebellion comes as an ill attempt at ridding herself of her virginity. She sneaks into Adam’s room and attempts to seduce him while he’s dreaming. The only thing this succeeds in doing is awakening Adam’s physical attraction to Zoe. Oh, but I forgot to mention. Zoe ain’t all that attractive. She’s pock marked and her physical attributes aren’t all that, er, aesthetically pleasing. But hey, she’s got boobs and they seem to have magically awakened Adam’s libido the moment she rubbed them all up on him.
Her second act of rebellion comes as an attempt at running away, but results in her injuring herself when she’s tracked down by dogs. After this point, these two reach something of an unspoken agreement. He doesn’t expect her to like the fact he’s taking her to his master, but he expects to to accept it regardless. And for the most part, she does.
Until a man comes along with a message for Adam saying The Dark Lord is dead, and the final proclamation is for Adam to wed the woman. Does he question this? Nah. Adam takes his orders easily, and decides its for the best anyway, seeing as that he wants to get it ON with her. He convinces Zoe to agree to marry him, a la hypnosis (YES. Yes, my friends). It isn’t until after the ceremony that Adam admits his little scheme to Zoe. Zoe is kind of pissed off at first but eventually shrugs her shoulders and carries on.
When word reaches Adam that the previous missive was incorrect and that The Dark Lord is, in fact, still alive, he’s livid. And horribly confused.
And frankly, so was I. These two crazy kids, not knowing what the heck it is they want. Adam is just…good lord. Poor guy really needs to get his head out of the sand. Luckily for him, Zoe helps him do that. But Zoe isn’t really all that reliable either when it comes to speaking what’s REALLY on her mind. It’s the typical “he doesn’t love me so I’m going to pretend I don’t love him either to save face” ploy.
All in all, Perilous Pleasures has the potential to be a fun romp through a mash of fantasy and regency, but it didn’t really work for me.
Perilous Pleasures by Jenny Brown, 384 pgs, 3/27/12
Romance: 3/5 Raunch: 3/5