Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Price of Pleasure

The Price of Pleasure (Sutherland Brothers #2)

by Kresley Cole


Kresley Cole returns with a breathtaking romantic saga of love, honor, and passion unbound -- as a man of duty faces his greatest trial, and a young castaway discovers her greatest desire....
A man noted for his courage and integrity, Captain Grant Sutherland journeys to Oceania to find Victoria Dearbourne, an English girl lost at sea a decade before. He's given her ailing grandfather his word -- as a gentleman -- to find and protect her. But one look at a grown Victoria and Grant has never felt less like one.
Tori relishes freedom, untamed passion, and spontaneity above stifling order. Even more so when a proud, cold British captain arrives to rescue her, though she has no wish to be. As Grant tries to convince her to leave her island home, she begins to see in him a man hungering for more. A man who once laughed. A man who desires her but won't take what she offers.
Grant struggles to control his own savage passions -- and fails, Tori must decide what she wants more -- her unfettered independence or the only man who could tame her wild heart....


The second novel in the Sutherland brother series was not a letdown for me.  I really loved seeing Grant come into his own as a captain, landowner, and finally a good man. The series, based in early nineteenth century England was a surprise from one of my favorite authors.  I’d read a few of her other highland historicals, but this series was intense, fascinating, and full of themes one would expect to find in a modern storyline not this classical setting.
Grant, finally out from under his brother's responsibilities has taken on an outrageous challenge. Find and recover the shipwrecked granddaughter of a dying man, one who has been missing for over a decade, and most believed dead.  But he is determined to fulfill his bargain so he can earn the one thing he’s always felt he needed in his life:  an established estate to allow him to really become part of society and find himself a wife. He’s been out to sea with his crew for almost a full year and they will soon be forced to anchor through the storm season, but by some chance of fate they come across an island not on any map, and are surprised to find their quarry running across the beach. 
Tori had made her island a home.  Taking the terrible hand fate has dealt her and making it into a win.  She has built a suitable home for herself and her former governess, dealt with the tragedy of losing her parents, and is in no hurry to trust a stranger with her life and her freedom.  She is determined to keep Grant at bay, but interacting with him leaves her feeling needy and dealing with emotions she’s never experienced before and has no idea how to handle.  But slowly and surely he begins to earn her trust, make her believe that he will get her home to her grandfather.  So she decides to return with him, but hard-won lessons are sometimes the one thing a woman needs more than anything.
During the return voyage, Grant begins to see more and more that Tori isn't just a desirable woman that he needs to run from to keep himself protected.  She is full of life and verve and brings out the best in all of those around her.  But even though he’s starting to see a possibility for a future with her, he doesn't want anyone else to see this as a weakness. Tori however, sees his reluctance to embrace their connection as a challenge, until she hears part of a conversation never meant for her. Feeling betrayed by the man she was coming to love, she determines that the only option for her is to just get home to her grandfather and make her life the best she can.  Once again building her life from the ground up no matter what it takes.
The love story between Grant and Tori is great.  There is passion from the beginning, even though Tori doesn't really know how to handle the lust she’s feeling and Grant is resistant to it.  The moments when they do finally give in to their desires are extremely sensual and unexpected for the time period.  The innate sensuality and freedom Tori exhibits stems from her ability to live outside the normal constraints of English society. Grant has lost himself in recent years while being buried under so many responsibilities, most of which were never his to bear. But being with Tori finally brings him back to the man he once was and reminds him of the joys of life and how to embrace the joy.
Tori was a favorite character of mine.  I haven’t found a more interesting and lovable heroine in ages.  She begins the novel full of life and enjoying her freedom.  She’s never really had good experiences with men, only one scary attack that she and her friend lived through the last time her island was invaded.  This makes her determined to keep these new invaders from disturbing their lives or putting them in danger. She uses all her considerable intelligence and cunning to try to keep them safe.  I cringed at one point when she played a trick with a snack, but mostly because my brothers used to play the same trick on me!
The lush setting through the majority of this book, full of detail and beautiful to the extreme, leaves me wishing I could find my own deserted island.  And the exotic ports that they travel to are also interesting to see.  Never having traveled to many of those countries I felt like I was seeing everything and it was like I was actually there.  Even the estate in England is beautiful and the descriptions rich.  Makes you wonder if the author was really in all those places or if the worlds she has in her imagination are that vivid.
I enjoyed every minute of this book.  Full of emotional swings from the highest high to the most depressing of lows, this story will leave you feeling wrung out, but only in the very best of ways.  Grant and Tori are perfectly matched and once they both deal with their insecurities and decid to enjoy the chance that fate has given them together, the love they share will fill your heart. It was also fun to see Grant’s brother Derek and his wife Nicola all settled down in marital bliss. I was thrilled with this series and would love to see more stories from this world, maybe Ian (grant’s cousin) will get his own story someday so we can see what happened to him.  A great read and one that will leave you laughing, weeping, and wishing you could hop on a ship and sail around the world with a sexy captain all your own. 

Rating:  4.25 stars
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