Ask For It  - Sylvia Day My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

Have to say, I’m very happy with Sylvia Day’s 1st book (for me). Ask For It definitely made me ask for things *winkwink* and even though things about Marcus bugged me, I ended up really liking him. Elizabeth was a pleasure to read, I did connect with her in so many levels, can’t explain. I also loved that in the end, I believed these two were supposed to be together, despite Marcus’s rakish character and Elizabeth’s 1st marriage. It was great that we weren’t just supposed to swoon over Marcus because of his reputation, which Elizabeth didn’t. He worked hard to get her; he was as emotionally vulnerable in the book as was she which is why I had so much fun.

The story starts with Marcus, who works in an agency of spies that works for the crown. He’s getting (actually forcing Eldrige, the head of this agency) a certain mission, one that involves Elizabeth, his former fiancée. 4 yrs ago, he and she were engaged but because of a misunderstanding, Elizabeth did something rash as to elope with another Lord, who also incidentally worked for the same agency, Hawthorne and married him. Marcus never thought he’d ever get a chance to ‘have’ her. He’s always been possessive about her and despite the fact that she’s married, he’d always thought Elizabeth as his. She just came out of her 3 yrs mourning period and there is threat on her life because of a journal Hawthorne left. She asked for Eldrige’s help and now, Marcus wants to be the one to do the job. But, Marcus’s intensions are very personal, to have her by any means, seduce the petticoat off of her (he’s an expert of that, duh!) and let the affair run its course. He’s sure it’ll cure him of his ailment, the thorn on his side which is Elizabeth because even after 4 yrs. he can’t, just can’t get her out of his system. No amount of dalliances help. Marcus has been out of England after that disastrous courtship and just came back. I wasn’t sure why did he wait so long knowing Hawthorne died just a yr after she married him? But yes, this investigation gives him an opportunity to work on his ‘plan’ for her. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is how Marcus thought but on the inside, he was very concerned for Elizabeth’s well-being and over and over again in the story, he proved that he cares for her beyond just lust, even though he tried to brush it away as something unimportant and injurious to his manly pride!

Hawthorne died in an accident of some sort, where Elizabeth’s brother William was also injured. Now, Elizabeth didn’t know where Hawthorne, William and now Marcus, worked. After her husband’s death, she’d come to learn of it and hates this job with a passion. She also can’t stand rakes, men who dallies with women and then discards them. Her father is a great example for it. The man never got over his wife’s death at a young age, whom he loved a lot. I didn’t think it was a good enough reason for his loose leaving, gambling and whoring to the max, even at an advanced age. He was a coward, a scene almost at about halfway in the story proved that to me. Elizabeth always had trouble friending women because of her father and William. Some women might fall for her father, start caring for him and then would be discarded callously so, you can guess... they didn’t exactly like mingling with the man’s daughter. William was no better; he was a match for his father, almost (and Marcus, who used to be his best bud before the engagement disaster). I didn’t exactly like it when these two got back together as they’d discuss about their young age proclivities (you know what kind) and sort of reminisce about those. Egh! So, though I was very charmed by William’s loving/passionate relationship with his pregnant wife Margaret (this is a love match, no doubt as he keeps saying she ‘reformed’ him), I was equally put off by those. As with Elizabeth, William was also very suspicious of Marcus’s intensions when he came back into her life. He is there, everywhere she goes and keeps dropping not too subtle hints of what he wants from her. And despite everything, she wants him. It seems like the red-hot passion they felt for each-other hasn’t died with her marriage and his betrayal of her but only gotten matured and is waiting only to be unleashed.

There are also two other agents working with Marcus, one was called Avery James. Elizabeth relied on him for information and she learned from him that Marcus is an agent and working in this case. She’s furious with Eldrige for doing this to her, even knowing their past. But she can’t deny what she feels for him and be jealous of the women who keep giving him eyes. She’d, of course, heard of his lifestyle. Ton women never cease to discuss those behind their fans (if one is amongst them, to boast of it) and titter. Elizabeth can’t help but be angry and hate all of it; Marcus’s lifestyle and her intense desire for him, which he reciprocates only too well. I was really enjoying their banters/quarrels and Elizabeth’s jibes to Marcus which he’d smooth with his seductive smile and sometimes, with his fiery kisses. One day, against Marcus’s will, she goes to meet the blackmailer who wants the journal. A scuffle ensues and the man runs away. Elizabeth could handle a gun well. So, when Marcus saw red as the man tried to shove her, she comes to his rescue by shooting the man and saving him. This shakes Marcus a lot and he’s now ever determined to do something to keep her all to himself. He takes her to his townhouse and makes hot hot love to her which did take me breath away. They also sort out the misunderstanding they had 4 years ago. And so their affair starts. Elizabeth gave in because... well, there’s no because when a sexy man does this intense perusal of you and the fact is, you want him too. It was a dilemma to her, about what she’s doing, a thing she loathes (not sex, but the concept of a meaningless affair) yet she can’t deny him. Even William, when he learns of it, asks her that since she so used to hate his lifestyle. Anyway, I have to say most of the love scenes were very intense. I do love it when a man is trying to prove she’s his ;), which Marcus does throughout the book. He wants her so much that he can’t see straight, literally. This is what I want in my Romance! It was fun to read how he was disgusted at himself that why he can’t get her out of system like he did with so many others but he would do anything for Elizabeth and her safety. I had no doubt about that.

I didn’t like that Marcus would go and think of his rakish life though, sometimes comparing those with his affair with Elizabeth but I totally loved that he was very focused on Elizabeth and Elizabeth only. I mean VERY focused, which won me over. They had sex numerous times (I have NO problem with that :p) and he was helping her with the case, too. Marcus hates this pirate called Christopher St. John and they have a history together, a history of much chasing and bad blood. So when Christopher approaches Elizabeth one day in a ball, Marcus, again saw red and got concerned. He was thinking all these might be St. John’s doing. But, Elizabeth was stunned by the revelation Christopher made, that Hawthorne was his half-brother. Christopher’s father most probably fathered him before his marriage to Hawthorne’s mother. His mother was a maid in the late Lord Hawthorne’s household. Now, Hawthorne knew of it from an early age and it was hinted that the brothers had a good, close relationship. Hawthorne became an agent to help Christopher and so on. Sorry but I was too absorbed in the love scenes so I wasn’t taking notes here. *giggles* Anyway, Elizabeth believes his tale because the resemblance between her late husband and the pirate is quite shocking. Christopher tells her that he’s not guilty of blackmailing, that he considers her a family member so he’s always looking out for her. He also doesn’t know who Hawthorne’s murderers were because it was always bandied about that he, the Pirate St. John, killed Hawthorne. This is why Elizabeth hated Christopher before but now, all these surprises left and right are making her confused. She also has to keep her meetings to Christopher a secret from Marcus knowing his hatred for the pirate; a fact which keeps bugging her a lot.

In between they were having this battle of their wills with their intense desire for each other, what this relationship actually means and where this would finally lead to because Marcus and Elizabeth have already figured out that they can’t really get each-other out of their systems. Margaret supports Marcus wholeheartedly and kept up her campaign to Elizabeth to consider marrying him but Elizabeth, for one moment, didn’t believe that Marcus wants marriage and even if he did, he’d never be able to stay true to her. I couldn’t really blame her because her fears were very realistic. I knew she really cares for him, which is why she’s scared of being hurt again. I wish there were more glimpses of their past courtship but I got some impression like when Marcus saw her for the 1st time, he’d decided this is the woman for him. His reputation wasn’t any better than so William wasn’t very interested in this match. But, Elizabeth was also taken with Marcus and he reconsidered. The rest, you already know it all. Soon, Marcus realizes that the only way he can really take care of her and keep her safe, is to marry her. But he’ll be aloof and won’t let her know about his true obsession and cravings for her.

But before he could propose, Elizabeth runs from him. She was scared and wanted this affair to end, something Marcus wholeheartedly didn’t agree with. lol Then, when it was clear that someone was trying to break through William’s townhouse (the Chesterfield house) and going through her stuffs, Elizabeth also felt concerned over William and Margaret’s safely. She had already asked James to investigate if Christopher’s claims were true or not. Marcus knew nothing about Christopher though. When she runs and goes to this relatively unknown place owns by her Godfather, Marcus easily finds her. It left me without a doubt (and a stunned Elizabeth) of how easily he could read her or her actions. Now he starts being aloof, not having sex with her etc… well, you’ll find some of the scenes sexy yet hilarious, if that means anything. She wants him very much, yet because of her doubts, she’s keeping him at bay. He accedes to her dictates but keeps on thinking how much he’d like to do this or that to her, sexually of course… I mean the whole situation was so enjoyable, I was laughing hard. This does lead to one particular scene where... *heehee*, read the book to know about it. :p She does give in eventually to his proposal and his not-so-suave attempts at a courtship. The whirlwind which is called Marcus isn’t something you can ultimately survive! But Elizabeth’s equally bummed to find him distant now than while they were having the affair.

Marcus was trying hard to play the detached man who-doesn’t-care-one-whit but what he feels for her, he can barely restrain it. Needless to say, he doesn’t like feeling helpless like this; losing his control even when he’s having sex. But being with Elizabeth does exactly that to him. Then, on their engagement ball, Elizabeth is stabbed by someone. It wasn’t that bad but was enough to almost give Marcus a heart attack. He goes nuts over it. I loved how he stayed with her and took care of her. Here, there is the scene which I talked about that concerns her father. The man actually goes to drink and whore seeing his daughter injured, terming it as something he can’t take twice (the possibility that she might die, like his wife, huh?). With Marcus’s care and much fussing from William, Elizabeth gets well and they marry. I was a bit annoyed at her when she was thinking of jilting him again (her father manipulating her, like he cares!) but easily, she saw that her feelings for him will never diminish and decides to take a chance on him. Marcus was aware of her skittishness and was adamant to give chase if she runs. I mean I was really impressed by this connection between them that did blossom amongst all those chaotic incidents and an awkward past history.

When he finds out about her visits to St. John from the outriders looking out for her, Marcus is jealous and angry. He acts like a jerk with her but I’m so glad this didn’t drag on to become a serious thing/misunderstanding and was sorted out very nicely when Elizabeth tells him about St. John. Marcus then decides to talk to William about it and ask for his help, despite the fact that Elizabeth exclusively asked him to keep William and his family out of this for their safety. And she gets mad when she learns of this. I should’ve been annoyed by all these ups and downs but thankfully, I wasn’t. It helped them come to terms with the whole murder mystery with the agency and their own feelings towards each-other. In between, Margaret has her baby, a son and this does make Elizabeth a bit depressed thinking she might be barren as she never conceived while with Hawthorne, not even now that she’s with Marcus. But Marcus surprised her by brushing over her concerns, saying something sweet like he only wanted her. That she makes his life meaningful. Children would’ve been an added bonus but if not, it’s ok. Having her is all that he cares about.

Later, as the story continues, it was kinda hard for Marcus to come to terms with the fact that all his years of enmity and suspicions over St. John might be for naught. When summon from Eldrige comes for investigation, he goes away with James and few other agents but is ambushed on the way. I’ll leave the revelation here only by saying that I had some guessing as to who might be behind the whole thing, even then it took me by surprise. Christopher helps him out and Marcus takes it, albeit grudgingly. He also explains to Marcus about the whys and hows behind his association with Hawthorne and the agency. I liked Christopher a lot, a blonde sexy guy. I admired how nice he was with Elizabeth and for being a veritable gentleman, though his upbringing hasn’t been like one of them. Can’t wait to read his book! This story ends quite sweetly, with a nice surprise for Elizabeth and Marcus. 4.25 stars, gladly.