by Adrienne Basso

July 2002
ISBN: 0-821-76988-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Hurt that her younger rakish brothers thought her to be an old, on-the-shelf spinster at twenty-six, Merry nevertheless reluctantly agreed to help them win a wager. A simple proof that a spinster, no matter how old, is still a passionate person despite her unmarried state. A simple kiss would have been proof enough… if not for Merry’s disheveled state after a turn in the garden with Trevor, Marquess of Dardington.

Although Trevor is a rake through and through, it pricked his conscience that Merry has to suffer society’s censure because of a “little” kiss. What else would a rake, who, by the way, believed that spinsters are an emotionless, icy lot, do but offer marriage?

Trevor’s a bit of a jerk but not entirely unlikeable. After proposing to Merry, with much seduction in their brief courtship, Trevor is the one who turned cold and kept his distance after their marriage. He believed that he cannot love the same way again after the death of his first wife so there was no sense in “leading” Merry on about their convenient marriage.

Merry, on the other hand, is thoroughly likeable. She stands apart from the ladies of the ton by being openly intelligent, and therefore, not entirely accepted and barely tolerated by society matrons.

A subplot of a killer running loose in London, intent on killing Merry is a bit silly – the character and why he chose Merry to victimize is really a convenient attempt to bring Merry and Trevor together as it provided a catalyst in bringing Trevor to realize his feelings for Merry.

Despite the incongruous subplot, it’s still a pretty good way to pass an afternoon.

Reviewed in November 2002 by Veronica.

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