The Russian Seduction

Nikki Navarre
The Russian Seduction
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River Valley Publishing
Release Date
October 2012
Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Victor Kostenko was the golden boy of the Russian Navy, a submarine captain with a maverick image, until he lost his command for an act of treason he didn't commit. Arrogant, aggressive, and super-smart, the captain pairs his daunting reputation with an appetite for adventure. And he's never met a rule he won't break. Now it's rumored he'll do anything to get back in his government's good graces.

Political Counselor Alexis Castle is one of the highest-ranked diplomats at the U.S. Embassy, a rising star who yearns to live up to her father's legacy as a legendary ambassador. Brilliant and driven, she's always played by the rules. She'll torpedo her career for sure if she falls for one of the world's most dangerous men - a bad-boy Russian sub captain who breaks every rule in the book.

When a hard-line Russian leader invades a country the U.S. promised to protect, war can only be avoided by a risky undercover liaison between one man who has everything to gain...and a woman who has everything to lose.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Nov 04, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
182 people found the following review helpful
Edgy, sensuous and well-crafted, THE RUSSIAN SEDUCTION matches a classic spy novel with a absorbing, intense romance. Nikki Navarre's skill at weaving intense characters with the high-stakes world of international politics makes for a story that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Alexis Castle has spent ten years in the US Foreign Service, making a meteoric rise to one of the highest-ranked diplomatic positions at the U.S. Embassy in Russia, but it has come at a cost. Desperate to step out of her diplomat father's impressive shadow, Alexis has had few personal relationships, especially after the end of her marriage two years ago. But when U.S. relations between Russia begin to seriously sour after Russian subs move into Ukrainian waters, Alexis finds herself thrown into very close company with one Captain Victor Kostenko, a man who threatens to destroy the carefully controlled world she's worked so hard to build.

Victor Kostenko was once a respected submarine captain, but when a charge of treason was leveled against his family, he lost his command, but not his arrogance or his determination to clear his family name by any means necessary. If that means performing a few missions for the Russian government, then so be it.

Alexis knows he is not a man to be trusted, either with her diplomatic information or her trust, but try as she might, she can't deny her growing attraction to the adventurous, intelligent Russian or ignore the heat that smolders between them. Giving in to her desires could mean much more than the end of her career, because her heart is involved as well, and the one man she wants is the one man she knows she can never trust.

The Russian world of this book was a sensational choice and expertly crafted. Fans of James Bond will delight in the first meeting between Alexis and Victor, complete with shadowy offices, a cigarette haze and the promise of danger in every syllable. This atmosphere is sustained beautifully throughout the book, with settings and locales straight out of classic spy films, and the constant threat of betrayal and double-crossing keeping readers on their toes. Though there are times when the descriptive details slow down the story, on the whole, the world of this story is really quite well done and added a great deal to the reading experience.

Perhaps because Alexis keeps her emotions so highly controlled, it was difficult to really get to know her at the beginning of the book. I was glad to see how her relationship with Victor opened her up and allowed readers to see the sensitive, deeply conflicted and very likeable character that she was hiding for so long. Her insecurities are deep and honest, and watching her face them all down over the course of the story really endeared her to me.

Similarly it took a while for Victor to become a three-dimensional character for me, which might have something to do with the fact that we only see him through Alexis' eyes. But as they got to know each other and grew closer, his façade also fell away, revealing the man behind the titles and the cover stories. It turns out he is a terrific alpha-male hero—strong, relentless in his search for the truth and utterly devoted, both to his mission and the woman at his side.

There were few obvious answers in this book, and the questions swirled around Alexis' relationship with Victor, his involvement with the darker aspects of the Russian political structure, and the truth regarding his family and the accusations brought against them. Though I had my suspicions, there was quite enough suspense and tension to keep me flipping the pages; and once the fire between Alexis and Victor finally had a chance to flare, the tension and almost uncontrollable passion between them was phenomenal. Each scene brought them closer together and revealed, bit by bit, parts of their character that sometimes came as much as a surprise to Alexis as to the reader.

While I would have liked to have felt a little closer to Victor than I did by the end of the book, I truly enjoyed this story and the intensity of the tangled relationship between the main characters. There's no doubt that Nikki Navarre knows her subject matter, and has used her knowledge to create a story that is as sultry as it is suspenseful, and I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting more!
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