I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Thorn's twin Gideon has finally come home after abruptly taking off on his own. Finding Gideon and their neighbor Olivia back together as if they never lost a step, annoys Thorn in a way he doesn't fully want to think about.
Olivia has always had a good friendship with Gideon but his twin and the heir Thorn, always seems to find something at fault with her.
When Gideon starts kissing her at clandestine meetings, Olivia doesn't know what to think, especially when it's Thorn who she's starting to feel strange around.
Third in the Masters of Seduction series, you could read this as a standalone but there are characters with story lines that will be missed. The author seemed to want to focus on everything but the romance. In the beginning and most of the middle, the focus seemed to be on Thorn and Gideon's relationship. Thorn not understanding why Gideon left and the mystery of what Gideon did when he was gone. This could have been more powerful if the author would have had the brothers discuss more and have a scene where they aired their grievances or resolved issues. Towards the end Gideon disappeared and as a reader, I felt left adrift from a storyline that started off the focus. I also felt like the couple of Thorn's cousin Chance and Tempest (book 2) were focused on too much. Maybe not reading their story hurt me here but I didn't understand what was going on with them and neither did I care. The same can be said of Tempest's father (book 1) and her mother's relationship, obviously I was missing something there. I spent a good portion of this book not sure who the hero, heroine, or main couple was supposed to be.
Thorn has been celibate for a while, so calling him a rake wouldn't be quite right but his personality and way he treats Olivia is harsher. I felt this way because of his actions, constantly grabbing Olivia to kiss her and his thoughts; he seems more concerned with keeping her away from his brother than actually having any love for her. His pretending to be his brother to get closer to Olivia also went on too long; would have been cute in one or two scenes. As it dragged on and intimate situations where had, it felt devious and immature. When he is talking to her father, his first thought when they are discussing their betrothal, is how now his twin can't have her. This could be the "I can't admit to myself I want her" but since we're not given great loving thoughts and feelings from Thorn towards Olivia, I felt more of a cold drift than a heat wave from them.
Olivia gets kind of the shaft; she's not given much to work with. Thorn constantly says she's too naïve and her actions constantly prove him right; she's a bit TSTL. There were glimpses of her rising to the challenge of going back and forth with Thorn but they never fully materialized. I also question how she was able to traipse around London by herself and leave a ball alone with Thorn; the historical accuracy seemed a bit off.
I mentioned some of the focus on the past two main couples but there was also a big focus on characters that were clearly series baiting. There were cousins, brothers, sisters, and exiled princes constantly given the spotlight. I want my secondary characters to add to the story and main couple but the focuses given to them here did nothing but distract and detract. I will say though, the exiled prince may have intrigued me enough to read his story.
Quite honestly, I didn't fully know for sure I had the right hero and heroine paired up correctly toward the end of the story, definitely a problem. The sudden villain at the end, with a very 1980s bodice ripping deviance, and the way they info dumped their evil motivations and plans, felt out of nowhere. I appreciated how the author went a little darker with her male characters but wanted more layered heroines too. This story was way more ensemble piece with carnal leanings whispering in the wings, not an average light or sweet bedrooms scenes regency romance, so it did have some difference going for it. However, the lack of romance had me ultimately wondering what the point of the story was.