Assured of both money and position, none of the five friends who form the Merry Widows need ever marry again. But they have no intention of foresaking physical passion for the rest of their lives. So they make a daring pact -- each will consider taking a lover for the pure pleasure of it.
Marianne Nesbitt adored her late husband, but the racy reminisscences of the Merry Widows make her wonder if she missed something special. Might she find it now through a love affair? Uncertain how to go about it, she asks Adam Cazenove, and old friend and notorious rake, to tutor her in the arts of seduction.
The brazen request turns Adam's world upside down. He never imagined his best friend's very proper and exceedingly attractive widow would seek out a lover. If not for his own recent betrothal, he would jump at the chance to warm her bed. Since he cannot bear the thought of another man doing so, he foils her every attempt at seduction. Until one night of unintended passion changes everything ...
I bought this back in February when it first came out, but didn't get to reading it until recently (last weekend, in fact). Well, I'm glad I read it. It's pretty good.
Marianne's no virgin widow, but as she listens to one of her friends recount the pleasures found with her new lover, Marianne realizes that although she had an amicable relationship with her husband and loved him dearly, they had no passion. Of course, up until now, Marianne had no reason to believe there had been anything missing from her marriage. When the Merry Widows vow to not let themselves miss out on the pleasures of a lover just because they are now widowed, Marianne decides to learn just what it was that she missed out on.
Adam Cazenove is Marianne's best friend, though originally her husband's best friend. Adam is the man she feels most comfortable with, and she almost would have asked him to be her lover, except he informs her that he's now engaged. Adam may be a rake, but he honestly wants to be faithful to his future wife, no matter how much he wishes he could be the one to show Marianne. There's a scene where Marianne lists men who she decides might be discreet lovers and Adam finds one thing or another wrong with almost all of them. It's quite cute and early on shows how much he cares about her. There are many other scenes too, which I loved as they all quietly show how love develops between these two characters.
I also liked how the ending was. Convenient, but not too much so. I mean, it IS a romance, so Adam and Marianne must get together somehow. I also didn't have a problem with how frank the Merry Widows got with some of their conversations. Just because this is set in the Regency doesn't mean women never gave out intimate details to their friends in private. It worked for me. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Just One of Those Flings (which has a cover I love, although DH when first seeing it said, "ooooh, nipple" - or something along those lines *g*). Men. *sigh*