Wednesday, November 13, 2013

ARC Review & Interview: Pleasuring The Lady (The Pleasure Wars #2) by Jess Michaels

Pleasuring The Lady (The Pleasure Wars #2)
by Jess Michaels
Expected publication: November 19th 2013 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Samhain Publishing

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Once the game begins, there is no tearing your gaze away.

Her mother's madness and her father's and brother's irresponsibility have relegated Lady Portia to the life of a wallflower. The only shining light in her life is her best friend, Ava, who is suffering a rift with her own brother.

Portia's quest to help takes her to the notorious Donville Masquerade in the hells, where behind the safety of a mask she witnesses shocking public acts of sin. And succumbs to the touch of Marquis Miles Weatherfield.

Unfortunately, they're discovered. And now, tainted by scandal, she and Miles are destined for a marriage neither of them want. But Portia makes a bargain that raises even Miles' eyebrows.

In return for saving her mother from the asylum, Portia will do anything Miles wants in bed. Shocked by his driving desire for Portia, Miles agrees. As they explore every wicked desire, every forbidden act that pleases them, they discover something that goes far deeper than flesh. But the lies that brought them together could be the very wedge that drives them apart.

Warning: This book contains wicked encounters, erotic voyeurism, lies, a brief threesome, and unexpected kindnesses.


As a sequel to Taken by the Duke, I was left with a image of Portia being a hopeless wallflower left on the shelf simply because of her need not to fit into society. Both she and Ava are of the nobility but their drive to be different seemed to be the only thing pushing possible suitors away.

Obviously, it would take Jess Michaels to put a different spin on things. It turns out that poor, helpless Portia is a woman pushed to the edge by her only brother, Hammond, the person who should be protecting her and their ailing mother. The only thing important to him is whatever was left of their money that he can gamble away. To save on expenses, he rents a hovel for them, leaves a stingy allowance, and tries to hide them from the rest of the world. Scum.

The only person keeping Portia sane is Ava, and in order to try and patch things up between Ava and her brother Liam, Portia disguises herself and goes to the Donville Masquerade in search of him.

Miles sees her there -twice- and they both discover a desire for each other. Unfortunately, Hammond discovers them too and they're forced into marriage.

Ava, after what she went through with her husband Christian, offers her friend some sage advice. Miles is a renowned rake, and in order to barter her mother's safety, suggests that Portia allows Miles the freedom of her body to do with whatever he wants. Miles agrees. Of course!

What an erotic education she gets under her husband's tutelage! All these lessons just reinforce one thing for her: she is in love with her husband. Unfortunately, he comes from a more abusive background than she does and finds it hard to believe that someone could actually care for him. I would love to say he was a total jerk for trying to push her away but I understand his illogical logic and fears.

I enjoy Portia's strength the most. She is a complete chameleon, meeting all the problems thrown her way with her head up and with complete conviction and honesty. Now that's my type of heroine and just the one to make Miles see and admit the truth. As it's said, only those who have been broken have the strength to help others heal.

So, when is the next book coming out?

An Interview with Jess Michaels

1.       Do you have any set rituals that help you to write? What are some of the things you must have to get your creative juices flowing?

I don't really have rituals or even believe in rituals. Writing is my job so I have to do it whether or not I have the "right" environment or not. So over time, I've developed the knowledge that once I start writing I will hit a groove even if I'm not in "the mood" after I write for a short time. I tend to lose myself in my stories and if I give myself that chance, it will happen. I do tend to write in my office rather than anywhere else and I try to make it as quiet as I can. I don't write to music or anything like that. The story is my music. :)

2.       Your books are historical in setting but the relationships the couples get into are very modern. What inspired you to write the novels in this way?

I guess I don't see the relationships as modern. I tend to write unusual heroines like courtesans or widows, for whom a sexual relationship wouldn't be so unusual. If I write a virginal heroine (like Miranda in Everything Forbidden or Ava in Taken By the Duke), they develop their relationship for a reason and know perfectly well what the consequences will be. I write stories that fit my characters, so I'm not really thinking about modern or not modern, just passionate and powerful and erotic and emotional. I think that's what readers love about my books. It's definitely why I love writing them!

3.       What are your thoughts on being a mentor via The Passionate Pen through your husband's Killer Book Marketing? Will you become more active with that?

I ran Passionate Pen and was very active on it for over ten years. Right now I'm so busy with writing and promoting books and a travel schedule into 2014 that I don't know how active I can be on there. But I do actively write articles for writers on Killer Book Marketing and my own blog at www.authorjessmichaels.com and I also write blogs for readers on my website. I also highly recommend killerbookmarketing.comas he has some great advice there for writers interested in building their platform and finding more success.

4.       There is a thin line between smexy and porn and your novels are able to keep to sexy erotica very nicely. How do you manage to do this so well?

Again, I really think it is all about writing a story that fits the characters. The sexual conflict is built in for my stories, so the sex scenes aren't extraneous. They build character, they further the plot and they develop the emotional bond of the characters, so as long as I go into every scene of my book (sexual or otherwise) with that in mind, I'll do the right thing by my characters and my readers. I want a sexy book, but also a good book.

5.       Do you have models for your heroes and heroines? What about these attributes make them so loveable among your readers?

I do tend to have models for each hero and heroine as far as their looks, it helps me develop a picture of the hero and heroine, especially in the beginning stages of a book. Actually, I tend to post pictures of my models at my Pinterest page, too, for readers to get a bit of an extra:http://www.pinterest.com/jessmichaelsbks/ Beyond the looks, though, I create character sheets and that is what determines the personalities of my characters. So I might have someone that looks like Michael Fassbender, but I don't really base the character on the actor beyond looks. For me, character determines plot. By that I mean that what a character has gone through in their past or their personality traits will determine how they react to something. A person with a loving family might react to a perceived abandonment differently than someone who grew up on their own. So knowing what someone has been through and who they are really helps me build what I hope are strong, character-driven stories.


Thank you so much for having me!! I hope your readers enjoy! :)

Review based on ARC sent by author.

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