I found Don't Tempt Me to be a fun read and enjoyed this book by Loretta Chase. Zoe Octavia or "the Bolter," as she's called throughout the book, was one of those female characters that just made me smile and cheer. She's a hoyden with a sense of humor, a bit of naïveté, lots of determination and plenty of sex appeal. She's also a brat and a danger to herself and others when it comes to causing a scandal. I loved her!Spunky English girl overcomes impossible odds and outsmarts heathen villains.That's the headline when Zoe Lexham returns to England. After twelve years in the exotic east, she's shockingly adept in the sensual arts. She knows everything a young lady shouldn't and nothing she ought to know. She's a walking scandal, with no hope of a future... unless someone can civilize her.Lucien de Grey, the Duke of Marchmont, is no knight in shining armor. He's cynical, easily bored, and dangerous to women. He charms, seduces, and leaves them - with parting gifts of expensive jewelry to dry their tears. But good looks, combined with money and rank, makes him welcome everywhere. The most popular bachelor in the Beau Monde can easily save Zoe's risqué reputation... if the wayward beauty doesn't lead him into temptation, and a passion that could ruin them both.
Lucien is a man of layers -- a cynical man with nothing to lose and seemingly not a care in the world, except for his loyalty to Zoe's father, Lord Lexham. Lord Lexham became Lucien's guardian when he and his brother were boys. Having lost his whole family, parents and brother, Lucien closed his heart to real love a long time ago. The last straw for him was losing Zoe Octavia when she was kidnapped at 12 years of age.
Zoe provided the much-needed light in Lucien's life when they were children -- after she was lost, Lucien truly gave up. Now, she is really back and a big problem for her family -- although welcomed by her father, after all those years away in a foreign country and having been part of a harem is a concern, especially for her four sisters and her sisters-in-law. She is seen as a walking scandal and social disaster. After an unforgettable scene where Zoe Octavia proposes to Lucien, he decides to take her under his wing, civilize and sponsor her into society.
Lucien is about to be reminded why Zoe Octavia is called "the Bolter," but also why she was the light of his childhood. She takes him along for a ride, full of fun, erotic and tender moments. Zoe and Lucien find themselves again in each other after being lost for so long.
Zoe's sisters provided a great balance to the story. They reminded me of Cinderella's "mean" stepsisters with redeemable qualities. Their horror at Zoe's unconventional social attitudes was priceless. Their characters were not overly developed, although I thought they provided the right touch.
I found the last third of the book where the story includes criminal intent by some characters a bit forced and too long. Zoe Octavia's past is not as well developed as it could be, but I didn't find that to be a huge detriment to this particular story. It didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the novel or the characters.
The amusing dialogue in Don't Tempt Me by Loretta Chase kept me turning the pages starting with Zoe's proposal and through their public and intimate moments. This book gets a B+ from me.