Lilah Chadwick thinks she's the apple of her father's eye-until he announces his plans to marry. Hoping to counter his decision, she rushes to London. Adam Harleston, the ninth Earl of Drakesley, is a man possessed. His young cousin has been seduced by an older gentleman, and he's determined to save her honor before it's too late. But wedding bells are about to ring for Lilah's father and Drake's cousin. Joining forces, Lilah and Drake vow to stop their loved ones from making a drastic mistake-only to discover that falling in love is never a mistake....
Two strong-willed people learn that they do not always know best in Farr's formulaic romantic comedy, which is ostensibly set in the 19th century. When Delilah Chadwick learns of her father's hasty plans to remarry, she becomes concerned that he is being manipulated by a scheming harpy, especially since the hitherto pragmatic Sir Horace hasn't even given his daughter a chance to meet his fiancee. Lilah reluctantly joins forces with Adam "Drake" Harleston, the earl of Drakesley, who is convinced that his young cousin has been seduced by the much older Sir Horace. Together they journey to Wexbridge Abbey in the hopes of stopping the impending nuptials, but their partnership is not at all harmonious. To the reader's frustration, Drake and Lilah manage to engage in a battle of wills over the smallest of decisions, even as they are irresistibly drawn to each other. Although occasionally interspersed with witty dialogue, the book on the whole misses its mark. Drake comes across as overbearing, and Lilah is given to childish tantrums. At one point, she even exclaims "I wish to return to Wiltshire with Papa and go on just as we always have!" It's clear that Drake and Lilah are meant for one another, but there's little incentive for readers to stick with the story and see that they get it right. (Oct. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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October 10, 2011
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Excerpt from Duel of Hearts by Diane Farr
The room had only one occupant, an extremely large and unkempt man who sat with his back to her, draining a tankard. Lilah thought he looked more like a highwayman than an earl. There was nothing the least bit elegant about him. He appeared to be dressed all in leather, and he was exceedingly dusty. She could easily imagine him pulling a pistol on her and demanding, "Yer money or yer life." Still, she did not care to show disrespect to a man of his rank--assuming that this odd specimen belonged to the aristocracy. She infused a note of polite deference into her voice as she addressed him. "Lord Drakesley?" He did not immediately respond, but continued swallowing. He must be slaking a fearsome thirst. Perhaps he had not heard her. She took a step closer and tried again, a little louder. "Lord Drakesley? May I have speech with you?" He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and swiveled halfway round on the bench. His expression was anything but welcoming. Her first impression was of thick brows drawn down over fiercely gleaming eyes. He looked like a hawk disturbed while feeding. "Who in blue blazes gave you my name?" he growled. She drew back, startled by his brusqueness, then stiffened her spine. It was absurd to let him frighten her. "The landlord, of course," she said coolly. "Why? Is it a secret?" The man's scowl became downright menacing. He rose slowly off the low bench, the gradual straightening of his body somehow more intimidating than a hasty movement would have been. "From the likes of you, it is." Lilah's eyes widened in astonishment. "The likesof--what on earth do you mean?" He did not deign to answer her. The derisive expression on his face struck Lilah as insulting. Her brows snapped together in a frown. Did he not perceive that she was a gentlewoman? A fine attitude, from a man so thickly powdered with dust that it was impossible to tell the color of his hair! She felt her temper rise. "Perhaps you misunderstand," she said crisply. "I am not some farmer's daughter. I am--" "I don't care who you are," he interrupted rudely. "And whether your father is a duke or a ditchdigger, he should have taught you not to bother strangers. Particularly men. More particularly, lone men. And mostparticularly, lone men in public inns." Lilah's jaw dropped. "How dare you? No one speaks to me in such a tone--let alone a stranger!Who gave you permission to take me to task?" "You did. You began this conversation, not I. Let it be a lesson to you." He tossed a coin down on the table to pay for his drink and gave her a brief, dismissive nod. "Good day." He would have strolled past her, but she caught at his arm. "Wait! If you please," she added, catching the look on his face. "I see that I have offended you. Pray believe that I would never have approached you were the circumstances not extraordinary. But really, my lord, I mustspeak with you." He towered over her. She had to tilt her chin to look him in the eye. He was younger than she had first thought--probably less than thirty. It was his massiveness, his solidity, and his arrogant air that made him appear older. And, of course, the scowl that was twisting his features at present. The scowl added years to his face. "Now, look here," he said evenly, as if hanging on to his patience by his fingernails. "I'm a busy man. You are the fourth numbskull today who has wasted my time, wanting something from me. It's not that I dislike being manhandled by a pretty woman"--Lilah hastily let go of his sleeve--"but, frankly, I have nothing to say to you. And whatever it is you want to say to me, I'm betting I don't want to hear it." He was right. How annoying. Lilah glared at him. "You can't possibly know that." A gleam of irony lit his features. "I grow more certain of it every moment." Hostility was getting her nowhere. W