by Larissa Lyons, historical (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $4.45, ISBN 978-1-4199-1193-4
Larissa Lyons' Impure Longings is far from the most sexually explicit story to come from Ellora's Cave, but my goodness, the way the author builds up the sexual tension between the characters goes a long way to make things simmer slowly to boiling point within the pages.
Dorothea, a widow in her twenties, has no other choice other than to offer her body to someone rich enough to compensate her for services rendered. Her friend, Ellen, suggests that her long-term protector's best friend, Daniel Holbrooke, will be a good option to begin her career as an impure woman with. This story is pretty simple - it tells the time from these two meet over dinner in a house of ill-repute to the short time after their first bedroom romp when they decide that they enjoy each other's company more than they should.
This story has build-up and sexual tension which makes the first love scene far hotter than it actually is in terms of length and description because the characters don't just jump into bed. I also adore how the author slowly drives poor Daniel crazy with his desire for Dorothea. Daniel has a secret that, when revealed, makes him even more adorable because this secret makes him come off like this big grouchy teddy bear who is all mush when it comes to Dorothea. He is so cute.
Because this is a short story, it doesn't have the opportunity to allow Dorothea and Daniel to be well-rounded characters. But Dorothea is a fine heroine nonetheless - she's practical enough to understand that sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive, for example, and she doesn't make a grand drama about how being a fallen woman means that she is no longer worthy of love. She and Daniel make a most adorable couple.
I wish this story is a little longer because I really don't want it to end so soon, but for what it is, I suspect that Impure Longings will make a nice little appetizer before one gets into a historical romance by Janet Mullany, Loretta Chase, or the like.
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