by Deborah Simmons

May 2004
ISBN: 0-425-19656-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

There were bees in her father’s ballroom. At least, that is what Lady Juliet Cavendish supposes is the source of that irritating drone coming from somewhere amidst all the Egyptian antiquities just delivered to the Carlisle Estate. Imagine her surprise to find a stranger sleeping, and yes, snoring in a shipping crate. She tried to rush him out, not an easy job considering how big and muscular the man was, whom she later learns is Morgan Beauchamp. Not to mention, a cad. A gorgeous cad, though she would never admit she thought so. Morgan had no respect for her station. She was the daughter of an earl, for goodness sake. That alone should earn her some sense of awe from the man. And how dare he instruct her concerning the artifacts! It wasn’t as if he was an accomplished scholar like herself. He was an opportunist and a cad!

Juliet’s father had allowed her an education. Much good that did her. Men in her circle believed a woman’s brain too small to handle much more than learning to play the pianoforte, shopping for the latest fashion, and watercolors. None of which she was the least bit interested in. Juliet knew the place assigned to her and had resigned herself to it. If that rogue, Beauchamp had left well enough alone then she would not have forgotten why she should accept her fate and worse, why she wanted him to be gone. Oh, how the high and mighty fall.

Morgan Beauchamp didn’t claim to be a gentleman. Nor, did he want anything to do with her ladyship. He’d been hired to find the pieces in question, oversee their shipment, and help put the collection in order. That was exactly what he was going to do whether she liked it or not. How simple it would have been if it weren’t for that pesky chemistry between Juliet and Morgan. It was her fault! If she didn’t use that fragrant soap then he would have been able to concentrate. A lady of her class should wear gloves so that her warm, soft skin couldn’t brush against his own. Okay, so maybe working with Juliet Cavendish would not be so bad after all. Now, what to do about that coxcomb who claimed to be the lady’s fiance.

Both so much alike and yet so different, Juliet and Morgan lead a merry romp as they discover on their own, that they weren’t meant to live solitary lives. They also realize they’d been merely existing until the moment they met. Only then, did they really begin to live.

My favorite aspect of the story is that Morgan begins to recognize and appreciate Juliet the person. Where other men patronize her and dismiss her, Morgan encourages Juliet to let herself shine. Deborah Simmons expertly combines fun, and mystery in a tender adventure of finding love in unexpected places. Her lead character’s flourish in this winning tale. A Lady of Distinction is sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Rho.

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