Sins of Midnight

Seduced by Sin by Kimberly Logan 
(Avon, $5.99, PG 13)  ISBN 978-0-06-123920-5  
Seduced By Sin is a charming love story distracted by a disappointing mystery.  Lady Aimee Daventry, known as “Mouse” to her family and friends, an unflattering nickname to be sure, is a fiery and passionate lady underneath her forgettable veneer.

Aimee has led a very sheltered life, protected by her father and two older sisters since she witnessed her mother’s brutal murder at nine years old. She remains tormented by nightmares of that night, although she has very little memory of the events.  Royce Grenville, the Viscount of Stonehurst, is a handsome lord scarred physically by the battle of Waterloo and emotionally by his terrible childhood. Royce lives an emotionally devastated life, believing from a young age that he is cursed and that all who love him and come close to him will die. His ogre of a father reinforced this belief by blaming him for the death if his mother and favoring his brother Alex. The rivalry between Alex and Royce, instigated by their father, came to a bloody end that resulted in both Alex and his fiancée Cordelia dying. Royce lives in the shadow of blame, grief and guilt now that his entire family is gone.

The Mouse and the Warrior met a year before the story begins; Royce is a family friend invited to the family home and takes quiet, unassuming Aimee under his wing.  Their friendship deepens until one day Aimee blurts out her undying love for the Viscount. She is cruelly rebuffed and he disappears into a hermit-like existence on his estate.

As the story begins, Aimee is at her sister Jillian’s home and Royce is an invited guest once again. Aimee is less than delighted to be faced with the man who has deeply hurt her feelings and lowered her self-esteem. After a family dinner, Aimee finds herself the victim of a suspicious fall down a flight of stairs and Royce becomes her self-appointed and willing guardian angel.

A second attempt on Aimee’s life links her nightmares of the night her mother was murdered with the current danger. Royce and the Daventry family decide to send Aimee to the Stonehurst estate for protection while her unknown assailant is tracked down. This ensures that Aimee and Royce are forced together to confront their feelings for one another  Royce is convinced he is cursed and is genuinely fearful that his involvement with Aimee may cause her further pain. He tries to block her out and distance himself. 

Aimee is convinced that she is undesirable and plain.  She is frustrated by being coddled and wishes that she could be more involved with the investigation into the attacks on her life. However, when she spends time with Royce, she quickly gains self-confidence and responds to her passionate feelings for him. She is not afraid to seduce him, provoke him, or argue with him.   

Aimee and Royce’s relationship is fluid, changing from familiarly teasing one another to argumentative outbursts to passion and back. As the romance and the mystery unfold, Aimee and Royce decide whether it is worth to have loved and lost than never to have given love a chance at all.

While the characters in Seduced By Sin are charming, the teasing banter between Aimee and Royce amusing and the love story sweet, overall the storyline is very predictable. But of course the handsome Royce is scarred and tough and tortured.  But of course plain-but-beautiful-underneath Aimee must be reassured and comforted and protected by him.

Most of all, the mystery portion of the story is disappointing.  It completely loses the element of surprise, and the twists and turns are few and far between.  It seems to be contrived in order to throw the lovers together.

All in all, Seduced by Sin is a nice afternoon read, but you can put it down and leave it for a few days without missing it.  I’d characterize it as a story with a little charm, a little mystery and a little heart.        

--Amy Wroblewski  

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