by Jo Beverley

March 1993
ISBN: 0-380-76785-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lady Chastity Ware only wanted to help her widowed sister and baby escape from the clutches of her plotting brother-in-law by providing her with the means to travel to her true love. But when she captures a coach containing the handsome and arrogant Lord Cynric Malloren, she gets much more than she bargained for. Because of his amused façade, she not only demands that he hand over all of his valuables, but to humiliate him she also demands that he drive them in his coach to their hiding place.

Cyn is more than ready for an adventure after spending the last few months on medical leave from the army with his family cosseting him and treating him like an invalid. When what appears to be a young highwayman orders him to transport him and his sister to their remote cottage, instead of shooting them when the opportunity arises, he happily obeys his orders. Cyn knows that the highwayman is not what he appears to be, mainly that he isn’t a man at all, but a young lady and of quality at that. However, Cyn is shocked to learn that “Charles” is none other than the notorious Chastity Ware.

Chastity has survived a dreadful scandal perpetuated by her father and brother-in-law and she never expected to live a life of respectability again. That didn’t particularly bother her until she met Cyn, the one man whom she could see herself spending the rest of her life with. But how could she involve Cyn in the scandal of her past and subject him to the gossip and speculation of being with her? Not to mention the danger lurking in the background that could cost him his life!

Jo Beverly writes an exciting and amusing tale with My Lady Notorious. The scenes where Chastity is dressed as a male and Cyn as a woman are hilarious and quite the departure from the usual romantic fare. I couldn’t wait for Chastity to “reveal” herself as a woman (pun intended!) to Cyn and Jo Beverley’s portrayal of those events more than lived up to my expectations.

The mystery involving Chastity’s father and brother-in-law was realistic and added just the right amount of drama and suspense to the plot. As for the romance, the passion was hot and built up to a fevered pitch with a sexy scene involving masks, wigs and whipped cream! But beyond the sex, the reader really believes that Cyn and Chastity honestly care for each other also. Cyn wants to protect Chastity from all evils and made the perfect knight rescuing the damsel in distress. And Chastity would have sacrificed her own happiness to keep Cyn free from the stigma of being with the “notorious Chastity Ware”. Their love was more than just flowery words spoken at the last chapter, but was actually shown by their actions throughout the story.

My Lady Notorious is the first of a series of novels starring the Malloren family, which I definitely intend to get my hands on and if the rest of them are as good as this one, I will be a very happy reader indeed!

Reviewed in November 2002 by Nicole.

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