Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation…and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.
Then, Win returns to England…only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…
Kev Merripen suffered greatly as a child in the hands of his Uncle, the rom baro, or leader of their Romany tribe. In a cruel and abusive fashion, Kev was taught to hate, to hurt those weaker than he, and to steal any chance he got. But after being left for dead and nursed back to health by the Hathaway clan, Kev learns the meaning of family and love. While all Rom are compelled to continue on with their travels, Kev stays with the Hathaways because of not only his debt to them but also because he fell in love at first sight with Winnifred Hathaway. Determined that the only way he would ever leave Win would be by death, he decides to live a life of servitude to her safety.
Win Hathaway has lived the life of a docile invalid long enough and is bound and determined to rehabilitate herself for the man that she loves, Kev Merripen. Feeling that all Kev's reasons for rejection are centered on her physical weaknesses, Win decides to make way to France and receive the revolutionary and extremely controversial treatment from Dr. Julian Harrow. She is also bringing along her brother Leo in the hopes that he may find some peace away from England and the grief soaked memories of his love who passed away from the scarlet fever that not only nearly killed Win but Leo as well. If not for Kev's herbal remedies they would both be dead.
Kev is not happy with Win's decision to leave and while she promises to stay if he would just tell her in words that he loves her, Kev can't for he never will subject her to the black emptiness of his soul. With anger and crushing remorse, Kev lets Win leave.
Two years later and Win returns to England as a new and revitalized woman. While she had written several times Kev, his lack of response leaves little doubt that he doesn't want her. In an effort to move on, Win invites Dr. Harrow to accompany her home in the hopes that they might become better acquainted. Win has every intention of seeing her dreams of love and family come to life and she won't let her broken heart over Kev's rejection slow her down.
Meanwhile, Kev's first reaction to Dr. Harrow is that he must die and wastes no time in his attack. While his black soul has claimed Win for it's own, it's Kev's own inner yearning for Win's safety that prevents him from fully claiming her. Yet as he continuously drives off prospective suitors Win has had enough and confronts him on his hypocrisy.
But it's Kev's ultimate act of cowardliness that soon earns Win's hatred of him. After being caught in a compromising position at the Hunt's Ball, instead doing the honorable thing and offering for Win he allows Dr. Harrow the privilege of claiming Win instead. He'd rather Win live a life in the arms of another man than be the eventual cause her death. While this fear may seem extreme it has been recommend by Win's doctors that she never attempt to become pregnant. Due to Kev's lustful urges where Win is concerned he fears that if he makes good on his claim of her that he will kill her with his child. What Kev blatantly fails to take into account is that childbirth in general is a risk and that he doesn't have the right to prevent Win from having the family she's always desired.
Win's strength to conquer her dreams was incredibly admirable and the fact that Kev tried constantly to interfere with that left much to be desired. Win had every right to dislike Kev for his stubbornness and then later hate him for his cowardliness and because of this, I didn't like Kev as a hero. Yes he was sultry and mysterious but I thought that his strength didn't equal that of Win's.
Of course when these two stubborn souls finally succumb to their need for one another, Kleypas is a master at passion. There is a rather contrived suspense plot woven through the story but it was subtle enough to not overwhelm or distract the reader. I think Kleypas needed something to really shock and convince Kev that he belonged with Win and up to that point in the story she had made Kev almost too set in his rejection.
There was one character that really stole the show and that was Leo Hathaway, Win's brother. His one liners where hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud. He is a man who has already loved and lost and is of the firm belief that he will never love again. There was a very excellent and moving scene between Leo and Kev at the jail that really proved to me once again why Kleypas is a truly remarkable and gifted writer. I read the scene twice before moving on.
In addition, I really like the heroine that Kleypas has picked out for Leo and I already have my theories as to why the lady in question is only antagonistic to him an no one else.
'Seduce Me At Sunrise' was an enjoyable read but what kept it from receiving an A was Kev. I never could fully forgive him for his cowardliness and when he ultimately decides to accept the fact that Win may die from childbirth, he'll still marry her just didn't feel good enough. It's like he just sighed and said "fine, I give up" rather than "I was a total and complete idiot but even though I don't deserve you I'll devote my entire life to making sure that all your dreams come true." - that's what I wanted to hear but didn't. Otherwise it's a B- for me.