Simply Wicked by Kate Pearce

Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia, October 2009
Genre: Historical Romance (Erotic)
Rating: 4.5 Kisses
Reviewed by Voirey Linger

In Simply Wicked, Kate Pearce once again takes us to the House of Pleasure where we meet Anthony, a young man whose history of abuse has skewed his perception of sexuality into something dark and damaging. Determined to put the violence he’s craved for so long behind him, he leaves his lover and the world of bondage and dominance behind him. When he is asked to act as social escort to Marguerite, a young widow with secrets of her own, he sees an opportunity to distance himself from the pull of submission and a much needed distraction from a lifestyle that is destroying him.

Marguerite isn’t sure what to think about the intriguing and sensual man her family has procured as escort. He brings to life desires which have laid dormant since her husband’s death and she quickly acts on them. But Anthony’s past may be more than she can handle, and when his former lover refuses to let him go, Marguerite is pulled into a bitter man’s vicious game of revenge.

Ms. Pearce has penned a story of sensual elegance so lush and appealing, I didn’t want to put it down. The two lovers battle their private demons, trying to lay the past to rest and move on with their lives. However, they discover their pasts aren’t as separate and private as they believe and must work together to set things right before they can move on.

I was drawn to Anthony early in the book because of his vulnerability, his desperation to leave behind a lifestyle which left him filled with shame and degradation. He didn’t know what he wanted besides change, and this lost quality left him floundering, searching for some elusive sense of happiness. Anthony’s attitudes were frustrating, though. He ranged from one who seemed to enjoy wallowing in victim mode to sulky bratty-ness early in the book, however as he learned to stand up for himself and make his own decisions he matured.

I was not as attracted to the character of Marguerite. While she was a very sensual character, I was never sure what drove her or why she made some choices. She was, however, very sensual and surprisingly open to new sexual experiences. Sexually, she was the perfect match for Anthony, firm and demanding, yet still the picture of soft, feminine sensuality. This fourth book in the House of Pleasure series left me wanting more. Ms. Pearce’s luxurious writing is a decadent delight and I cannot wait for book five and its unexpected hero.