Harlequin Temptation #553
SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂
4 1/2 Stars
Reviewed by Blue Falcon
The book begins in 1970. A woman finds her boyfriend, naked, in bed with another woman, who is also naked. Their relationship isn’t the only thing that ends that night.
Fast forward 25 years. Ezekiel “Zeke” Blackstone, 47, the book’s hero, is heading to a planning meeting for his daughter Cameron’s upcoming wedding. He is a famous actor turned producer/director and a major player in Hollywood. Zeke is nervous, however, because this meeting will bring him face-to-face with Ariel Cameron, 43, the heroine of the book, Cameron’s mother, and Zeke’s ex-wife. (They were the couple who broke up in the first paragraph!). Ariel, a successful actress turned model, has been estranged from Zeke for 25 years.
As Zeke takes an apartment–ironically the same one he lived in before at the “Bachelor Arms”–we learn how he and Ariel met, became lovers, married, and the circumstances that led to their divorce. We also learn that despite all that has happened between them, Ariel and Zeke are still very attracted to each other. They later act on their attraction and become lovers again. For a while, Ariel and Zeke are happy again.
However, soon Ariel finds a reason to doubt Zeke again. In the end, however, Ariel and Zeke commit to each other and their love and find their Happily Ever After.
Ariel and Zeke are both strong characters, both as younger people and as the mature adults they are in the primary setting for Seduced and Betrayed. They are fairly well-developed and interesting people. Ms. Schuler is very good at getting me as a reader into her characters and their emotions, so much so that even during the lovemaking scenes between Ariel and Zeke, I felt like I was there with them, not as a voyeur, but as part of them.
One of the drawbacks to the category romance format is that certain things can get short shrift because of the relatively short nature of the books (around 200 to 300 pages). In Seduced and Betrayed, this crops up in Ariel’s relationship with her mother, Constance, who controls Ariel’s career. Constance’s reasons for doing so and why Ariel allows it are hinted at, but never truly explained. Given that this relationship had major implications for the early days of Ariel and Zeke’s marriage, this was a rather large miss.
Several love scenes between Ariel and Zeke. They’re not quite as good as in Lovers and Strangers, but they’re good nonetheless.
Ariel throws several objects at Zeke, who also kicks in a door.
Bottom Line for Seduced and Betrayed
Seduced and Betrayed is a very good book, with one issue keeping it just below the great category. 4.49 stars.
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Hero: Zeke Blackstone. Actor/producer/director. Black hair, brown eyes.
Heroine: Ariel Cameron. Actress/model. Golden blonde hair, blue eyes.
Tropes: Actor. Actress. Contemporary romance. Harlequin Temptation. Hollywood. Reunited. Second chance.