by Stephanie Laurens

September 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-083925-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Gervase Tregarth, Earl of Crowhurst, has been summoned home Ė again. This time he is stunned to learn that his three young stepsisters are behind the vandalism! What were they thinking?

They are terrified that Gervase will bring home a spoiled London wife who will ship them off to Aunt Agatha. Someone who will only care about fashion and parties, who wonít want to assist them with their Seasons. While this sounds unreasonable, they have already seen it happen to the Hardesty sisters, and they donít want to be the next victims. Gervase should find a country wife, one who understands the commitment to the land and the community. They want him to find someone who can be his countess in deed, not just in name.

Gervase is not getting anywhere in London, thatís for sure. He doesnít understand why his sisters donít trust him to bring home a suitable wife; yet he sees that they are quite worried. So he decides to spend the summer in the country, looking toward the local gentry to see if there might be someone compatible. Perhaps he can find someone like Madeline Gascoigne.

Elegant and regal, Madeline Gascoigne has served as the regent for her brotherís estates for a decade. She was groomed by her father to serve in this role, and her devotion to her three younger brothers has made her the most respected peer in the area. Some might say that she has been robbed of her youth and the chance to marry, but Madeline does not see it that way. Her life has been filled with purpose and she is gratified that she has been successful.

When she suddenly feels the change in Gervaseís interest, she is confused. Why would he be studying her so intently? Why has the casual friendship they have always shared, changed? What on earth is he looking for?

His years of military service have taught Gervase to be a keen observer of humanity, and he cannot believe that he has overlooked Madeline as a potential countess. Madeline cannot believe he is serious. She is too tall, her hair too wild, her intellect too sharp and her manner too outspoken to ever be a society wife. She would never fit in to the ton and their idle lives filled with gossip and parties. But she must admit that his attention is thrilling. This may be her only chance to experience romance, so she should seize the moment.

Author Stephanie Laurens answers all of these questions and many more in her latest Bastion Club novel, Beyond Seduction. This book is a readerís delight. Not only do we have two unforgettable lovers, but there is danger and humor to keep us interested through every page. Other Club members make appearances, and the enigmatic Dalziel returns to taunt us with more mystery. The series is winding down, but the action hasnít slowed at all.

Reviewed in August 2007 by Paula.

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