by Laurie Alice Eakes

ISBN: 1-58749-123-0
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Christina Marlowe has always been a headstrong girl – too headstrong for her controlling and unfeeling parents. And in order to avoid being married off for reasons of political alliance or money, she takes matters into her own hands to rid herself of an unwanted betrothed.

Wade Montrose, an American from Virginia (not a Yankee!), is in England to find and bring back his soon-to-be fiancée's brother, a condition which his intended, Mary Beth, placed upon Wade when agreeing to marry him. While taking an evening walk, he encounters Christina by the lake, alone! Unheard of for Wade to see a lady out and about in the dark – and unchaperoned no less! But then before he can suspect that she was there for a tryst, a gunfire is heard and Wade is forced to knock Christina face down in the lake!

Though Christina’s attraction to Wade, and vice versa, is undeniable, it is unfortunate for them both that Mark, who is a good friend of Wade, happens to be the man whom she “cheated” on to escape marriage! Mark is rather nasty towards Christina, for good reason, but since Wade is almost betrothed, there isn’t anything Christina can do about her growing fascination for Wade anyway. Or is there? Christina is once again being forced by her parents to marry a peer of their choosing and needs to escape… maybe this time Wade can help her become unmarriageable again?

Laurie Alice Eakes pens a story of romance and intrigue and does it skillfully with lots of sexual tension and suspense. The underlying mystery is interesting enough to keep the pages turning – but Wade and Christina’s romance is what glues one to the page (or rather to the screen)! Both are appealing characters with depth, that one can easily identify with and admire. Christina is a bit ahead of her time, by insisting on equal partnership and freedom, not to mention love, in a marriage. Doesn’t sound like too much nowadays, but in Regency England, any resistance to a parent’s decision was akin to mutiny! When Mark broke off their engagement, Christina was severely punished – so severely that she has nightmares about it! It’s enough to put any young woman off marriage! Wade, however, is a great contrast to Christina’s willfulness. Honorable, proper and a bit on the stiff side, he berates Christina for being improper… but secretly admires her determination to do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

The mystery plot ties it all together neatly at the end. With likable characters, interesting mystery and well-written sensual scenes, it’s an ebook that’s definitely worth having in your collection.

Reviewed in June 2002 by Veronica.

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