Unclaimed by Courtney Milan is the second in her trilogy on the Turner brothers Ash, Smite and Mark. Yes, Smite. They’re all named after Bible verses by their crazy fanatical mother. This particular story is the tale of Mark, the baby of the family, who has recently become famous for his practical guide to chastity for men. The fame and accolades this has generated are something of a surprise and irritation for Mark himself – all he wants is to lead a quiet life and perhaps someday find a woman he can love and marry and start a family with. Fame has also brought him to the attention of many who’d like to see him fail at his chastity, including supreme asshole George Weston (I think that’s his name, I can’t totally remember and I’ve already returned the book to the library). Since he hears that Mark is thisclose to being nominated for a government position he wants, he decides to hire a woman to seduce Mark, therefore ruining his reputation and costing him any chance at the appointment.
Enter Jessica Farleigh, a beautiful courtesan Weston has used and abused in the past. She proposes that she will seduce Mr. Turner for a tidy sum of 3,000 pounds – enough to leave the life of a courtesan behinds and purchase a cottage in the country, where she can start a new life where no one knows her. What Jessica doesn’t count on is falling in love with Mark and, he with her – can such a woman have true happiness with a man who has vowed chastity?
I enjoyed this book more than I remember liking the first Milan wrote on Ash Turner. Jessica is seriously damaged, and it’s understandable. Every man she’s ever known has treated her like a piece of property or less than human. Her own father, once discovering she’d been ‘ruined,’ threw her out of the house and told neighbors she was dead, leading to the life as a whore she is currently struggling to leave. Her desire to leave the life she hates makes you root for her, and as someone with serious trust issues, she’s somewhat relatable. Mark was a favorite character in the book about Ash and so I enjoyed reading about him. He’s confident, charming, and disarmingly honest to Jessica.
My only negative on this book really is that it’s kind of long. There might be one too many times where Jessica at first thinks she can live the life she wants but then runs away for fear all her hopes will be dashed once again. That isn’t to say it’s not believable; I think anyone in her shoes would react that way. It’s just by the end I was skimming through some of these inner monologues and looking forward for signs that something new was happening. I’ll definitely read the one about Smite, as I hear it’s the best.