The Russian Seduction

The Russian Seduction

The Russian Seduction

Oct 01, 2012
Affluent Press
Book 1 of the Foreign Affairs Series

Reviews

Satisfied Amazon Reader Chi

Nov 03, 2012

Bloody brilliant! I am hooked from the very first page. I was promised to an awesome ride from the start. The author is supreme in her choices of words and to have an inside looks on how the diplomacy at work, that to me is just cherry on top. For me, this is a spy romance thriller. Both Alexis and Victor are of privilege families of their own countries, but they did not cross the line and betray the responsibilities they were given. I love how Alexis can hold her own and rise to the challenges, I admire her poise and grace, the unmatched intellect and the way she turned the table on the Russian government officials, totally took my surprise. The love scenes are steamy, tastefully done with no vulgar language. Finally, I like how the author ended the story. No fairy tale "marry me ", she just left us to wonder and imagine. Dear Ms. Navarre, you've got yourself a loyal fan here. Please keep the good works coming, I can hardly wait for your next novel. Brilliant works you've done.

Reviewed by Chi, Satisfied Amazon Reader

Jamie Michele, Author of An Affair of Vengeance

Oct 10, 2012

Diplomat Alexis Castle's glamorous but stressful career dictates every move she makes. And in Moscow, where she's under constant surveillance and faces the very real threat of being compromised by a Russian intelligence agent, her moves are limited to a handful of carefully calculated cocktail parties. Briefcase always in hand, her poise is unbreakable--until the Russian navy makes a threatening move on fragile Ukraine, and she's forced to negotiate a solution with her new counterpart in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, disgraced Russian submarine captain Victor Kostenko.

Kostenko, furious at losing his sub command for a trumped-up charge, refuses to engage the American on the Ukrainian crisis, but Alexis is persistent. The daughter of a legendary ambassador--and the new ex-wife of another top-level diplomat--she is driven by the need to prove that her success in her field has nothing to do with the men she's loved. She pursues Kostenko with all required propriety, but once she catches him, their diplomatic standards of engagement are slowly shredded. For now that Kostenko has seen her, he must have her.

And what the Captain wants, the Captain gets.

He agrees to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, but only on his terms. Kostenko teases Alexis, drawing her out of the highly structured world of Russian-American diplomacy. Each increasingly unprofessional encounter reveals another layer of attraction that Alexis struggles to deny, for to give in to her unshakable need for the Captain would mean trashing her career at best, and being arrested for espionage by the Russians at worst. For Kostenko, the possible outcomes of an affair with an American diplomat are no better. The facts are undeniable: they cannot be together. Even a whisper of impropriety could be enough to ruin their lives, but soon, things go far beyond a whisper. As their torrid affair deepens, so does the crisis in Ukraine, and their trust in one another is tested beyond the limits of what their secret love can endure.

I LOVED this book. As soon as I finished, I wanted to read it again. I promise you, that's a rare emotion for me. And for once, I wasn't skimming sex scenes. I actually caught myself muttering as I encouraged the heroine to gaze upon the naked hero at one point. The shower scene. (Yup, you want to read it.)

Fantastic sex aside, most of the power of this novel lies in the pitch-perfect setup of conflicts between the hero and heroine. While Russia and America aren't at war, Navarre (a career diplomat herself) nonetheless cultivates a certain Cold-War-like tension between the two diplomats that reminds me of the very best spy novels. It's very difficult in a contemporary romance novel to create a situation in which two people truly cannot be together, but Navarre does here. To so much as have a private dinner with Kostenko would be a black mark on the heroine's record, so when he begins nuzzling her neck and she finds herself wanting more, I bit my nails for her. Alexis couldn't give in to Kostenko's determined seduction--it'd ruin her life and possibly ignite a war. But she had to! She needed to break free of the strictures of her "dream" career, which was never her dream to begin with--it was her father's and her husband's. She'd only convinced herself that it was hers. With Kostenko, she's free to find herself. And that's scary. No matter what might be waiting for her on the other side, a woman doesn't just throw away a decade of clawing herself to the top of a challenging field because of one super-hot Russian sub captain.

Except he's more than just hot--he's the hottest, tallest, broadest-shoulder-est man in Moscow. Heads turn and bras pop when the Captain walks into a room. It'd be ridiculous if he didn't seem so real! But I swear, this man exists somewhere. (I'm sort of hoping the author has him in her attic, Jane Eyre-style). Navarre revels in describing him over and over again until I found myself smelling his distinctive mixture of Beckham cologne and high-end cigarettes (hey, he's Russian, it's realistic) before she even mentioned it. I salivated over the way his perfect pecs filled out his captain's uniform. I ogled his flawless biceps when he tugged off his crisp white shirts. I shivered beneath his Arctic-blue gaze right along with our heroine. Alexis didn't stand a chance against that calibre of hotness, and that's the way it had to be. If she was going to commit a breach of protocol so severe that it could end her career, the guy had to be worth it. More importantly, I had to believe that he was worth it, or else I wouldn't be able to sympathize with her. (He totally is, and I totally did). Because the author crafted an irresistible hero and a relatable heroine, I could nod understandingly whenever Alexis dove back under the covers with the Captain, even though she seemed to ruin her life in the process.

This is all coming from a reader who often leaves romances half-read and skips sex scenes, remember. But you couldn't have paid me to stop reading this book. Partly because their affair is utterly forbidden, the sexual tension between Alexis and Kostenko is ignited in the first five pages and grows to an inferno by the book's end. The push-pull of duty versus desire kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. I 100% recommend this extremely sexy and glamorous romance with a compelling thriller sub-plot, and look forward to the next release in this author's Foreign Affairs series.

Reviewed by Jamie Michele, Author of An Affair of Vengeance

The Romance Review

Nov 04, 2012

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!

Reviewed by Bridget

Josie Malone

Oct 15, 2012

THE RUSSIAN SEDUCTION is the story of what happens when Political Counselor, Alexis Castle, a diplomat on her way up, meets Victor Kostenko, a submarine captain who lost his ship, his command and is on the way down. Each has a great deal to prove to their respective governments. Can Alexis show everyone that she earned her position and doesn’t have it because of her family connections? Can Victor prove that he follows his own code of ethics or is he just marching to his government’s dictates, determined to ruin Alexis in the process?

This is a sizzling hot story between two very strong characters. They know the risks, know that they are pawns but manage to fall in love anyway. Now, how are they going to survive all of the dangers and adventures that their adversaries throw at them? Is a happy ending even possible? Or will their passion destroy them? Nikki Navarre keeps the reader hooked scene after scene, page after page as the story evolves. The Russian setting was beautifully drawn and the authentic descriptions brought the book to life.

I can’t wait to read more!

Reviewed by Josie Malone

Cocktails and Books

Oct 10, 2012

Oh my! Nikki Navarre has provided us with political / romantic suspense story that kept me on the edge of my seat. For political junkies, it was the perfect mix of intrigue, political tension and romance to hook you.

Alexis Castel has worked hard to earn the post of Counselor at the US Embassy in Moscow, despite who her father was and the fact that she reports directly to her ex-husband. With tensions rising between Russia and Ukraine, it's Alexis' job to make contact with her Russian counterpart, ex-sub captain Victor Kostenko, and try to find a way for Russia to back down before the President's visit in a few weeks. She didn't count on the sparks flying when she mets Victor or to become embroiled in a Russian cover-up about what exactly happened when one of their ballistic missile subs went down two years before.

I love a good political thriller and The Russian Seduction is a really, really good one. Told for Alexis' point of view (in the third person) we find a woman torn between the expectation of her father, her ex-husband and what she really wants. While she excels at her job, she's finding herself restless. When she mets Victor, he (unknowingly because she hides it behind political bravado) unleashes the adventurer in Alexis. She fights herself, for three quarters of the book, because despite wanting to be a woman in control of her life she finds herself hopelessly attracted to Victor and willing to let him take charge (a place she never wanted to be in again). Alexis has to look deeply at herself and her desires to discover that a little adventure with a former Russian sub captain is exactly what she needs.

I look forward to reading more from Nikki Navarre.

Reviewed by Cocktails and Books