With five siblings to care for, Prudence Hixsby’s duty comes first, even if it means becoming a spinster. When the eldest – and most cherished – of her younger brothers decides to join the war, however, Prudence is determined to keep him safe. So she strikes a bargain with an old acquaintance: her body in exchange for her brother’s safety. In the dead of the night, she slips into the bed of a man whose touch is both fierce and passionate… little knowing she’s just seduced the wrong man. Harrison Carlisle, the Duke of Sutcliffe, never imagined that the lovely Prudence would honor his bed, or just how bewitching those lush curves could be. Yet he keeps a gentleman’s silence. After all, a spy for the Crown can ill afford to marry. But when Prudence’s brother is killed, they find themselves uniting to track down the traitorous murderer. And while death lurks within the shadowy world of espionage, there is also passion… and the unbidden thrill of a seduction!
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3 stars
Review by Susan
What begins as an exciting adventure ignited by mistaken identities that manifest into a sensual romance, Misadventures in Seduction, a Masquerading Mistress novella by Robyn DeHart, falters at the endin,g rushing the couple into a matrimonial union that isn’t convincing. The early stages of Harrison Carlisle and Prudence Hixsby’s union are finely scripted. The Duke of Sutcliffe and the Hixsby family’s spinster are brought together under unusual circumstances, giving their desire for one another an opportunity to catch fire. Add an elite spy organization and a traitor to King George intent on funding Napoleon’s return to power while posing as a liaison between the king and the spy ring, and the gist of the story sounds entirely thrilling.
Prudence and Harrison’s reaction to one another has all the makings of the reader’s favorite daytime so-opera couple. In an effort to keep her impetuous brother safe after he joins the British army, Prudence agrees to have a one-night stand with an influential figure who can secure a position for her brother that will keep him away from the front lines. Unfortunately, Pru slips into Harrison’s bed instead, and has an evening filled with sensual love-making. The body language and graphic descriptions are tasteful while stirring carnal thoughts, but by the time Pru realizes that it was Harrison whom she had bedded, the moment has passed the point of affecting readers.
Harrison is again involved in another case of mistaken identity when the influential figure whom Pru had intended to bed pretends to be him (Harrison) in an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent. This part of the tale draws the reader deeper into the plot but the author skims over important pieces of information which would make the connection for the reader. There is a pivotal scene when the king’s men have cornered Harrison and Pru and the two escape, but the tension is contrived and written expressly in order to give Pru a chance to use a blade and act as the protective figure. From this point on, the story has an artificial tone as the pair discovers the identity of the traitor/assassin and they confront him.
Cases of mistaken identity draw the protagonists together and later influence them to join forces, knowing they make a good team. If the ending of the story had been as well developed as the beginning, this would have made for a thoroughly engaging Regency Romance.