by Linda Needham

November 2003
ISBN: 0-06-051411-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Author Linda Needham begins her Gentleman Rogue trilogy by introducing us to the three heroes - Jared, Drew and Ross. These young men may have started life at a workhouse, but their skills and loyalty to Queen Victoria have lifted them to the highest circles. Now all three are titled, propertied gentlemen who continue to serve Her Majesty in a number of mysterious ways. Since they are all back in England, the three friends are looking forward to a safer lifestyle than they had abroad, and are enjoying the privileges of their wealth and position.

Jared, Earl of Hawkesly, has one small matter to attend to. His shipboard wedding two years ago remains unconsummated, and his lovely bride has been lingering on his country estate, far from the dangers that killed her father, Jaredís shipping partner. Jared is eager for a reunion with his wife, and has plans to seal the union as soon as possible. He scoffs at his friendsí warnings that charm and legality may not be enough to entice her into his bed. After all of the luxuries his wealth and status have brought, she should be glad to see him, and eager to begin their marriage in earnest.

Now, any reader with some sense knows that this is not going to be that easy. Even in Victorian England, women were not that meek. He has arrogantly forgotten that she has had the run of the estate, and has probably been running the estate in his absence. His assumptions are about to come to a screeching halt.

Kathryn, Lady Hawkesly is far from idle. Her days are filled to the brim, and the last thing she could possibly want would be for that wretch who married her to suddenly appear on the horizon. Well, she would like to see him, just long enough to give his a piece of her mind and a swift kick to the shins. But between the rescued Irish orphans and the Ladies Relief organization sending food to that famine-ravaged country, she has to host the fishing tournament at her husbandís lodge. She can scarcely find time to sleep. How was she to know that Jared would arrive? Besides, she hasnít seen him in two years and the sun was in her eyes during the ceremony. She wouldnít recognize him without a name tag.

With the setting staged, and the characters all in place, Ms. Needham has penned a winner. Jaredís arrogance and Kathrynís stubbornness start the sparks flying and readers will be laughing out loud at their verbal barrages. The Pleasure of Her Kiss marks the beginning of a series that is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy humor, sharp wit and lots of romance.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Paula.

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