This time out, I have Tessa Dare's debut, Goddess of the Hunt (Ballantine). Lucy Waltham has set her sights on one of her brother's closest friends, Sir Toby. But as Toby's attentions have wandered to another woman in earnest, Lucy needs some practice at seducing a man, so for that she turns to Jeremy Trescott, Earl of Kendall, and her brother's best friend. Jeremy can't let her ruin her life, or Toby's, but to stop her, he'll have to distract her the only way he can: by letting her think she's practicing her wiles on him. Of course, he can't let her know just how well that's working, because she's obviously in love with the other man. Jeremy, however, is equally determined not to let her ruin herself, so if he has to get in her way whenever she tries to put herself in Toby's path, well, it's a sacrifice he's willing to make. Sure, he can't seem to keep his hands to himself whenever they find themselves alone, but he's got enough control to stop things before they get too out of hand. And he certainly isn't foolish enough to let his own emotions get tangled up in things. But things don't work out quite as either of them have planned, and Lucy and Jeremy's lives will be forever changed. And Jeremy needs to find a way to express his emotions before the rest of their lives become a miserable mess. Lucy is certainly a determined young woman, if a bit naive, to set her sights on a man like Jeremy for her target practice. But I couldn't really relate to her. Jeremy is a lovely hero, though, all broody and sexy. I did like the friendship that develops between Lucy and the object of Sir Toby's affections, but the time it takes for Lucy and Jeremy to work things out between them seems rather protracted. This one is a pleasant enough way to spend a summer afternoon, but I'm afraid I didn't find it a keeper. It's earned only three of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!