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Joint Review: Wicked Temptation (Nemesis Unlimited #2) by Zoe Archer

wicked temptation by zoe archerPublisher: St. Martin
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from author and publisher

Fate Brought Them Together.

Newly widowed, Bronwyn Parrish’s fortune has been spent settling her late husband’s debts—thanks to an unscrupulous business manager—and now there’s nothing left. Society has no place for a woman without means, and with nowhere to turn, Bronwyn is lost…until, from out of nowhere, a handsome gentleman steps in and makes her an offer she can’t refuse.

Will Desire Tear Them Apart?

Secrets and subterfuge are in Marco Black’s blood. As one of Nemesis, Unlimited’s most senior agents, Society women aren’t his usual cup of tea. But Marco’s sixth sense tells him that there’s more to Bronwyn than meets the eye…and he wants to help the brazen beauty retrieve her lost fortune. But is his attraction to her worth the risk? His mission will lead him all the way to Les Grillons, France’s most ruthless crime syndicate. Soon, Marco and Bronwyn will find themselves facing a danger that could cost them their lives—and a passion that is priceless.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

 

E: I really enjoy Archer’s writing and have reviewed a few of her other works on the blog to include Winter’s Heat and Dangerous Seduction 1.5 and 2 in the Nemesis Unlimited series respectfully. So, when the opportunity came up to get a copy of the third installment I was very excited. I was even more excited when it broke the string of mehish reads I had experienced at the time.

Marlene: I’m with you. I truly enjoy Archer’s writing, and the opportunity to review Wicked Temptation finally pushed me to read and review Sweet Revenge , Winter’s Heat and today’s review of  Dangerous Seduction at Reading Reality. I love her science fiction romance and steampunk too!

E: Whenever I read something by Archer, I expect an unusual pairing. In this particular case she took the man who detested the idle wealthy and matched him with one of those formerly idle wealthy now an impoverished widow. He justified the mission as an attempt to both find justice and to gain a wealthy benefactor for Nemesis’ efforts. She was just grateful and puzzled that someone not only believed something wasn’t quite right but was intending to fix the problem. Watching Brownyn and Marco lose class established blinders as the story progressed was a lot of fun. Not only did they have assumptions about life on the other side but they also had assumptions about each other individually. Marco had a much greater obvious chip on his shoulder but Bronwyn was extremely sheltered and rather untrusting given the sudden reversal of her situation.

Marlene: One of the things I like best about Archer is her always unconventional but equally matched heroes and heroines. Bronwyn has led a conventional life until the story begins, and Marco has been both a spy and a Nemesis agent. Neither of Marco’s occupations should have gotten him in the front door of Bronwyn’s existence, until her life turns upside down. Marco even feels a kind of reverse snobbery for those who live at the so-called upper echelons of society, and doesn’t think that a society widow is worthy of Nemesis’ help. His continued astonishment that Bronwyn is not only worth helping, but also capable of helping him, changes his perspective. And his life.

Watching Bronwyn’s metamorphosis from sheltered society wife to potential Nemesis agent gives this story a lot of zing.

E: That change was really refreshing to see. I loved how Nemesis had to prove they were legitimate, actually cared about her situation, and had a history of helping those who couldn’t pay. I think the fact Nemesis did expect something from her after the success of her case helped their efforts. I also found it touching that her referral to Nemesis came by way of a servant not through omniscient. It was also really telling to discover even though that servant trusted Bronwyn enough to mention her situation to Nemesis, she didn’t trust her with personal potentially job ending information.

Just as Nemesis had to prove to Bronwyn they were trustworthy, Bronwyn had to prove to Marcos she could be more than a sheltered society wife. What really struck me about this was how she didn’t set out to prove him wrong, she just was and by being, proved him wrong. It was as if once she was set free from society’s contrictions and given a goal everythign she could be came out. The character development is one of the many reasons I enjoy Archer’s writing.

Marlene: Except for Winter’s Heat, all of the stories in this series so far revolve around a couple who are at opposite ends of the social spectrum; a teacher and an escaped convict, a bal-maiden and a lord, and here where we have a society widow and a spy. These are people who should never have crossed paths, but do because of Nemesis’ need to right society’s wrongs, one injustice at a time. Each of the stories features people who are unable to accept what society and their position have decreed for them, and it is just as true for the ones at the top of the scale as it is for those at the bottom.

Marco’s reasons for both his spying and his starting Nemesis both stem from his need to fight injustice, and for his desire to “stick it to the man” as we would say now, for the way that society has treated him and his family.

It takes him a long time to figure out that any woman, no matter supposedly how high, can be immediately turned into a victim without much ability to fight back. Eventually, his figures out that all of his assumptions are wrong, but it happens because Bronwyn begins fighting back against her role almost immediately.

My favorite line in the book is when Bronwyn says, in response to Marco proclaiming that he is no knight, “I know. And I also know that I don’t want to be rescued. What I truly need are lessons in holding the lance, so that any time another dragon crosses my path, I can slay it on my own.”

That’s pretty awesome.

E: Such a wonderful line!!! Marcos’s chip was a very impressive one. Watching it slowly dissolve as he and Bronwyn trekked through England and various parts of Europe moving from one situation to another was a lot of fun. His change didn’t come easily or smoothly. On more than one occasion I wanted to shake Marcos when he made some disparaging comment towards Bronwyn and her place in society but seeing him start to regret his statements relatively quickly and learn that he had to depend on her to succeed made it all worth it.

Marlene: Wicked Temptation is another story where Archer constantly ratchets up the tension, bit by bit, until you can’t hold your breath another minute. Marco takes Bronwyn on a transcontinental manhunt, in order to find the person who stole her fortune, only to see the man shot by a ruthless French gang the minute they track him down. Then the hunters become the hunted, as the gang goes after them.

The pace never lets up, as Marco and Bronwyn try to outrun the thugs while tracking down the information needed to bring down the gang AND return Bronwyn’s fortune. Getting some money into Nemesis’ coffers would be icing on the cake.

E: Archer included a few more twists to Marcos and Bronwyn’s path towards restitution and happiness than I expected. I knew they would be in danger and things wouldn’t be quite as obvious as one would expect but I wasn’t mentally prepared for ALL the tension. I loved the glimpses of the seedy underbelly to society, old contacts, hidden knowledge, and the danger of mistrust. The variety of clues, leads, and setbacks really kept me just as enthralled with the suspense as I was focused on the central relationship. The balance between those two elements meant I was never pulled out of the world but stayed fully immersed.

Marlene: One other common thread among all the stories in this series is that even though the hero and heroine fall in love, they both believe that a long-term relationship is not possible. Marco doesn’t believe he is capable of love, and that it is impossible for a spy to put anyone through the torment of never knowing when, or if, he will return from a mission. And all the Nemesis agents believe that working with Nemesis means that they can’t trust anyone else to keep their secrets, and that the work is too important to give up. So the heat of the sexual tempest is always tempered by the sadness that it can’t last. Until it does.

E: I will admit I get a good laugh out of all the “no relationship” people gradually succumbing but not with just anyone. I think Nemesis as an organization has grown stronger as this series progresses and new skills are adopted as the membership expands. It is always good to catch a glimpse of prior couples as they continue their work supporting Nemesis. Those encounters provided both faith and some levity because they could see the growing relationship with each original agent and their temporary partner. After writing this review and seeing everything Marlene enjoyed as well I really want to do an Archer reread glom! I can’t wait to see what Archer comes up with for her next case and relationship.

I give Wicked Temptation an A.

Marlene: I sincerely hope that you will be tempted by Wicked Temptation, and the entire Nemesis, Unlimited series. The combination that Archer has created of slightly nefarious justice seekers who find love with partners that they can count on mixes action and adventure with passion.

I give Wicked Temptation an A-, only because Alyce is still my superheroine.

Links to purchase:

By Marlene

Marlene is a librarian, ebook advocate, science fiction fan, and RPG fan who lives in Atlanta. She and her husband are owned by three cats, just ask them. She's a geek and a nerd and proud of it. She's also an avid reader of everything, including the back of the cereal box, and has been blogging since April 2011 at Reading Reality and is a reviewer at Library Journal as well as active on Goodreads.

One reply on “Joint Review: Wicked Temptation (Nemesis Unlimited #2) by Zoe Archer”

Great review ladies! I have not read any of her books, but I do have some on my shelves. Is this readable as stand alones, or do you discourage that?

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