by Shirlee Busbee

May 1996
ISBN: 0-446-60219-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Tess Mandeville was fleeing her diabolical cousin, who was planning on compromising her in order to gain her fortune, when she fell into the hands of smugglers who stole her horse and left her lying unconscious in the forest. When she awoke, much to her surprise, she had no idea who she was or where she was going. Thankfully, she soon came across a tavern where she was mistaken as a new barmaid and was immediately put to work serving customers. Who should her first customer be but Nicolas Talmage, the Earl of Shelbourne!

The Shelbournes have been long time enemies of the Mandevilles ever since Nicolasí grandfather left his grandmother for Tessí great-grandmother, causing a scandal never to be forgotten. Of course, Nicolas has not idea who Tess is, all he knows is that he is extremely attracted to her and means to have her in his bed that evening!

After a night of passion, Tess entrusts Nicolas with her tale of amnesia, which he finds difficult to believe. Nicolas is convinced that she is trying to trap him into marriage, but nonetheless he decides to take Tess with him to his home, which happens to be neighboring the estate of the cousin Tess is trying to hide from.

Lovers Forever combines a touch of paranormal, a bit of danger and mystery involving smugglers, a passionate love story and even a secondary romance. Although it seems to have all the elements of a good romance, somehow Lovers Forever just falls flat. I found the characters one-dimensional, the villain easily recognizable from the very beginning and the plot a bit routine. I normally enjoy Shirlee Busbeeís novels but Lovers Forever was a disappointing example compared to her usual writing efforts.

However, I did find several praiseworthy points to commend in Lovers Forever. The sex scenes where hot and well written and the banter between the characters, especially Tessí uncles, was entertaining and often humorous. Also, there was a bit of a surprise at the end concerning the old scandal involving Tess and Nicholasí ancestors that I didnít see coming.

While Lovers Forever was not one of my favorite Shirlee Busbee novels, I did find aspects of it enjoyable and entertaining

Reviewed in February 2002 by Nicole.

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