by Victoria Alexander

January 2007
ISBN: 0-06-088262-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Four bachelors gather at their club to toast the marriage of their friend, Jonathan Effington, Marquess of Helmsley. While each of them knows that their responsibilities also demand marriage, they are in no particular hurry. To make things interesting, they decide to have a private wager, or tontine, on the subject. Each man has offered a shilling, and as a group, they added some very fine cognac so that the last man unwed will be amply rewarded for his fortitude. The question is not so much who will be last, but who will be first?

Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Warton, is a man who seizes opportunity whenever it presents itself. Cynical and aloof, he rather enjoys his cold-natured reputation. Fate has handed him a moment to pursue the delectable widow, Lady Chester, and he is going to try his luck. The sparks that passed between them a few weeks ago are too intriguing to ignore.

Judith is surprised that Warton has not called on her sooner. But this innocuous encounter on the balcony has been a pleasant surprise. He is not what she expected, and his reserve appears to hide a sharp wit. She is not used to having unpredictable men in her bed, but she cannot seem to deny him. The anticipation of their first private evening together will carry her through the next few days.

Author Victoria Alexandra debuts her new quartet in familiar territory. Set in the same period as her successful Effington series, readers will see plenty of familiar faces. This is where the comparison takes a sharp turn. Ms. Alexander has taken the lessons of her past novels, and utilized them all to best advantage in A Little Bit Wicked. The dialogue is spot-on, crisp and rife with Wilde-like banter, sure to thrill readers. Her characters are impeccably drawn and so lifelike you can almost hear them speak. She has outdone her previous best efforts and left this reader clamoring for more.

Reviewed in December 2006 by Paula.

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