by Julia London

April 2000
ISBN: 0440235618
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

This is the first in the Rogues of Regent Street series. In this story, Julia London tells the tale of Adrian Spence, Earl of Albright.

One fateful night, one fateful duel, changed his life forever. Adrian Spence, Earl of Albright has just killed one of his best friends, Phillip Rothembow. Who cares that it was a duel? Who cares that he was given no other choice? Phillip had challenged him, Phillip was the one who had shot at Adrian, after Adrian had deloped. It was Phillip, still staggering drunk, who shot at Adrian, his own cousin. Adrian had shot back in self-defense. They all knew, all the so-called Rogues, that Phillip was slowly trying to die. He was out of control, but none of them could see it, or rather they did but tried to ignore it. But Adrian was the one who ended Phillipís life, and no one could change that now.

After the funeral, Adrian left London for his family home in the country, hoping desperately that his father would never find out about what had happened, for Archie would surely use this as an excuse to disinherit him at last. Heíd been threatening to do it for many years, and now this scandal would give him the perfect excuse to do it. Unfortunately, Archie was at home when Adrian arrived, and accusing him of murder, ordered him out of the house and the familyís lives for good. Adrian left with a heavy heart and was determined to live out the rest of his days as best he could with the guilt he was feeling over Phillip's death.

Lillian Dashell was the woman Adrianís brother Benedict was going to propose to. When Adrian calls upon Lillian to see for himself that she is right for his brother, heís mistakenly understood by her parents to be there making his claim for her hand, not his brotherís. Upon seeing Lillian and her beauty, Adrian sees a perfect opportunity to get revenge on his father, by declaring himself to his brotherís intended. Lillian, of course, accepts, for who wouldnít when a dashingly, handsome rogue as the Earl of Albright comes a-calling?

Adrian explains that his marriage is strictly business. But he soon finds out that Lillian sparks something inside Adrian, something that he thought was dead after Philip's death. By day, they were virtually strangers; by night she is the lover of his dreams, a shameless wanton in his bed. Adrian has been determined that no woman will ever possess her. But will this one woman break all the barriers that surround his heart and make him feel love again? Can he allow that to happen?

This was a wonderful story with tons of action and sensual tension. The Rogues are a bunch of fun guys who look out for each other, but when the duel threatens to tear them apart, each has their own way of dealing with the tragedy. Adrian is hit with the most guilt and deals with it the only way he can, by denying it and refusing to seek help. That is until Lillian comes into his life. Youíll love the way Ms. London writes about what Adrian is going through and how the love of one woman can change a manís life forever.

Reviewed in October 2002 by Debbie.

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