Format: Bound copy (purchased)
Release Date: May 30, 2006
Having watched her mother languish away for a lost love, Raven Kendrick vows never to surrender her heart. But when her life erupts in scandal, she is forced to accept a marriage proposal from the wickedly sensuous owner of London’s most notorious gaming hell. Though fiercely drawn to her enigmatic rescuer, Raven battles to resist her husband, whose sensuous caresses promise ecstasy beyond her wildest fantasies.
To save the reputation of an innocent girl nearly ruined by his brother, Kell Lasseter sacrifices his freedom to wed the dazzling debutante. Long scorned for his Irish blood and dark past, Kell cannot deny that this enchanting spitfire is unlike other society misses . . . anymore than he can quell his smoldering desire for her. Torn between loyalty to his brother and his growing feelings for his rebellious bride, Kell must somehow free Raven’s reluctant heart before they can know the ecstasy of true love.
I have been reading Nicole Jordan’s books for about seven years and I have to say that in all that time, through countless new releases and reading her backlist, Ecstasy remains my favorite book of hers.
One of the biggest reasons that Ecstasy has remained my favorite Nicole Jordan book is because of the overwhelming passion between Kell Lasseter and Raven Kendrick. It’s impossible not to get swept up in their romance. Though their marriage starts off as one of convenience and honor, it grows into an uneasy friendship filled with sexual tension and dark secrets.
As the fourth book in the Notorious series, Ecstasy can be read as a stand alone (as all of Nicole's books can) without any fear of huge spoilers.
Raven, like her name, is a unique heroine in the series. After her mother's passing, Raven was sent to live with her grandfather and aunt who may have full filled their duty to her by providing her with every thing she needs to gain a titled husband, but failed her as a family. She's had to rely on only herself emotionally and mentally. As much as she wants to do right by her mother's memory and marry a title, circumstances not only prevent it, they throw her onto a completely opposite path. Raven has no one to confide in, no one to help her except for a groom that has no power in her social circles. Raven is a lonely girl who doesn't dream of prince charming and love but of safety and protection that she thinks can only be provided by a title. To comfort herself with the thought of a loveless marriage, she escapes into her fantasies where she can be loved passionately and without limits.
Kell Lasseter for all his faults is an honorable man at heart. He loves his dangerously flawed, unstable brother because he is all he has left in the world. Kell doesn't take his failures well and is overly harsh on himself when it comes to his brother. I loved the dark side of his nature as well as his compassionate, intelligent sides. He's an interesting character because he doesn't live his life for himself, he lives it for his brother but when Raven comes into the picture he is faced with a choice: Protect his brother and doom Raven to a lonely life, or protect Raven and loose his brother forever. Really, it's a situation in which Kell will emerge the loser no matter what choice he makes. It was interesting to see him struggle and come to terms with the fact that he cannot save every one and that the ultimate choice isn't always up to him.
Kell and Raven have an unbelievably passionate, actually it's more erotic, relationship. From the beginning they're drawn to each other despite the circumstances. There's one particular scene between Kell and Raven that involves role play that even now makes me turn on a fan just thinking about it. It's not just the sex scenes though, it's the foreplay, the tension, the verbal sparring and the angst ridden love growing between the two that makes Ecstasy such a hot read.
It's not all sexy romps and angsty mental discussions though. There's a real danger for Kell and Raven in the form of Kell's brother, Sean. He's a villain, but he's also a victim and as much as I wanted to hate Sean for all the damage he did, I felt so sorry for him. He's such a tortured character that at the end you just want him to find some kind of peace, no matter what it is and no matter what it costs Kell. You can't hate Sean but you can't love him either, you can only pity him and Kell.
Final Verdict: I loved every part of this book from start to finish, there's the required sexy couple and villain but Ecstasy is more than that, it's about a man who has lived his life for his brother, done every thing he could to protect his brother and yet still felt like he failed his brother because he fell in love with a very special woman. This was one of those books that I just couldn't put down and even now, remains one of my go to re-reads.