by Kasey Michaels

March 2003
ISBN: 0-446-61085-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lady Allegra (unfortunately, all I could think of was the allergy medication) Nesbitt did not believe her father, Oxie, a notorious prankster, was serious about taking her and her mother to London for the season to find Allegra a husband. After all, her mother and fatherís only sojourn into London society was a dreadful failure, which resulted in the Nesbitts becoming a laughingstock for blunders that were neither forgotten nor forgiven. But after finding herself in their London house on Grosvenor Square, much to her ostracized motherís consternation, Allegra knew that prank or not, Oxieís quest to find her a husband was not going to come to fruition. They had been in London for a week now, with no invitations of any sort being delivered despite her fatherís appeals to his old society "friends". So when an invitation arrives from their neighbor, Armand Gauthier, Allegra is immediately suspicious as to his motives.

Armand was aware of the Nesbitt familyís reputation, but after seeing the beautiful Allegra and not being overly concerned with societyís approval, he decided to host a ball just so he could invite her. Allegra fears that Armandís intentions behind inviting her family was to make a jest of them, so she enterprisingly pretends to twist her ankle in front of his house in order to meet him and ferret out the true reason behind his invitation. Their meeting is the beginning of a partnership to play a trick on Allegraís father, giving him a taste of his own medicine by "pretending" to be involved in a courtship, a plan that may very well backfire on them since they have both begun to care for each other in earnest!

The Kissing Game is a cute story full of fun pranks that give it a lighthearted appeal. But while the pranks might have been fun, I couldnít help but feel as if they were all a bit juvenile and sometimes just plain silly. However, the mystery behind Armandís past gave the story the seriousness needed to balance out the playfulness. And while the damsel-in-distress ending has been done many times before, it also added a sense of adventure that there before had been missing.

Allegra and Armand were likable and compatible primary characters, and there were also well-written secondary characters with their own romances to add to the tale. I especially enjoyed learning more about Allegraís hired companion, Letty, and the secrets she held. I also appreciated how the epilogue nicely summarized all of the charactersí lives and romances.

If you enjoy your romances on the lighter side, with a playful attitude not to be taken too seriously, you might want to pick up a copy of The Kissing Game.

Reviewed in March 2003 by Nicole.

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