This sixth book in Ms. Lee’s series of historical romances explores the Taoist sex cult of 19th-century China. Anna Thompson is an orphan stranded in China with no one else to turn to except her adoptive father, who forces Anna to unwittingly become his finest opium runner and eventually a slave to opium herself.
Anna tries to free herself, but the Emperor’s Enforcer Zhi-Gang, from whom she is desperately attempting to escape, catches her. Instead of killing her, he makes her his prisoner and concubine. Zhi-Gang is also on a personal mission to rescue his sister from the traffickers who abducted her. This personal quest consumes his life and fuels his passionate hatred of drug and human traffickers. However, Anna makes him reconsider the direction of his life. She reciprocates his deepest feelings and tries to end her addiction. Although he does not trust her because she is an opium user, they fall in love while embarking on Zhi-Gang’s quest of killing traffickers who peddle young girls to the brothels.
Tempted Tigress is an exciting, sensual adventure-romance. The flawed and troubled nature of both the hero and heroine adds to the dramatic tension of the plot and gives this story a welcome complexity. I also felt that the setting, encompassing the opium trade in 19th-century China, and Anna’s personal history, which is revealed in journal entries at the end of each chapter, added a thought-provoking dimension to the story. Anyone who enjoys a complex adventure-romance should delight in this novel.