Also in this series: For the First Time, In The Night
Series: Ryland Brothers #1
Published by Avon on April 3, 2001
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
Source: Self Purchased
Who is the mysterious Varya? On the surface she's a woman who tempts men beyond reason, but no one has touched the heart of the elusive creature...that is, until now
Miles Christian, the Marquess of Wynter, never expected to be abducted at gunpoint and accused of murder — and certainly not by a woman! When he discovers his would-be kidnapper is the elusive Varya, a beauty courted — and desired — by most of the men in London society, he is doubly shocked ... and enthralled. Obsessed with this seductress, Miles is determined to keep her by his side as they hunt for the true culprit, even if it means putting them both in danger.
For Varya the danger lies in Miles's very touch, and though she's far from ready to trust the dashing rogue, she cannot deny the attraction that flares between them. But when they are caught in a compromising position, Varya reluctantly agrees to pose as Miles's mistress, even as she resists his potent efforts to woo her into his bed. For none could guess that her bloodlines are as pure as any English aristocrat's or that behind her public mask lies a woman determined not to relinquish her hard-won independence to a man's desire — unless she ensnares his heart as well.
Elusive Passion is the first book in the Ryland series and I had completely forgotten about this book until a blogger friend joined up with me in the read for it. (watch out for another post and our discussion because it’s going to be awesome) and I realize that I hadn’t finished this series, I have read three of the five books in the series though. And once I started reading, I had forgotten what these old style Avon style romances were like and the charm that drew me into them when I first got hooked into romance. You can read these books out of it, readers won’t be lost by reading them out of order….definitely can be read as stand alone if needed.
Elusive Passion begins with our delicious hero, Miles Christian, the Marquess of Wynter, who also served for the military and is currently on a secret mission but in the middle of his operation, he is taken captive by a young woman who believes that he murdered her closest friend, who also seems to be an ex-mistress of Miles. Miles is shocked to learn the sweet woman whom he had to let go of is dead. Miles is a compassionate man, and despite the spite that this stranger has towards him, he knows something foul is going on and he wants to get to the bottom of it. And he finds himself drawn to the woman who threatened him and even attacked him. But now he has learned her identity and convinces her to work with him despite the fact that she despises him.
Varya fled her home country and came to England to start a new, and has been living there for five years. She is hiding a big secret and she fears the truth coming out. She poses as a famous singer and entertains on a regular basis. She has a talent which she discovered and loves sharing it but now her best friend is dead and she is on the hunt for her murderer. She doesn’t know if she believes that Miles is innocent, but she can’t deny the genuine grief he feels for her friend. But as Miles and Varya work together to hunt down the murderer, the attraction between them builds and they can’t deny the chemistry that is going to explode. While Varya has her trust issues with men and will need to face up to her past before her relationship with Miles can flourish in the ways that she desires…
Elusive Passion is a delightful story and I first want to mention how much I adore Kathryn Smith. She no longer writes traditional romance novels anymore, however, I can never seem to get enough of her writing style. There is such charm, hilarious banter and I couldn’t stop the laughs the erupted out of every single page. I love the wit that is displayed in the dialogue. And boy these two just can’t get a break. And quite frankly the tension is so fiery hot it could steam up the windows in winter. They go back and forth in their tension/bantering that it was like watching a ping pong ball game but at the same time fully entertaining and I honestly didn’t want it to end because WOW they really have a lust/hate relationship going on. Now it’s pretty understand for some of what happens, but there were some instances that I didn’t understand at times the rise in anger so much.
As much as I wanted to really love the heroine, I liked her but it wasn’t quite at the point that I was wanting. I think she came off too abrasive and strong for me and even though I respected what she went through and what she had to overcome, I do think she could have been a bit less hard-headed and stubborn. The hero *sigh* he was yummy in every way. But what was most attractive in his character is how sincere this man is. I really was his cheerleader from beginning to end. I felt like he got the short of the stick where Varya is concerned. Now even though I do understand why she treats him the way she does (to a point) I never really supported it because I felt like he was so compassionate and full of empathy and her treatment got a bit toxic in some moments that I didn’t care for.
Overall I found Elusive Passion to be a story packed with adventure, laugh out loud moments, lively bantering, and a sensual journey to capture your heart! STUNNING!