Two superstar New York Times bestsellers, Stephanie Laurens and Christina Dodd, join forces with one exciting rising star, Elizabeth Boyle, to create this sexy anthology with an exciting new theme. In an innovative new twist for anthologies, each author is reintroducing a secondary character from a previous book to star in his own story!
Three historical romance veterans present novellas that give the spotlight to heroes who've appeared in previous books in supporting roles. In Laurens's gentle though disappointingly conflict-free Lost and Found, longtime friends are blindsided by love, but must reunite a boy with his aristocratic family before they can indulge their hearts. In The Matchmaker's Bargain, a whimsical tale that reels with delightful screwball scenes, Boyle binds her engaging heroine to a former rake-turned-recluse, who soon recognizes this sprightly girl has taught him to live again. The final entry, Dodd's The Third Suitor, a fast-paced adventure involving a hoyden heiress and a spy on vacation at the shore, delivers many thrilling twists and turns. While each story will satisfy the individual author's readers, Dodd's has the broadest reach and provides the most entertainment per page, doling out fun main characters, a sinister villain, sizzling love scenes and a marvelous ending that will make strong women cheer. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Hero, Come Back by Elizabeth Boyle
They were twits -- foolish, fashionable, and frivolous.
Reggie Carmarthen stood in Hyde Park beyond the end of Rotten Row, and studied the tonnish females currently gathered about the Avenue with a distinctly jaundiced eye. Especially the younger ladies, those desirous of finding a husband.
Their shrill laughter reached him. The ton was drifting back to the capital for the September and October round of balls and parties. In and about their mamas' coaches lined up along the carriageway, the unmarried young ladies chatted avidly, exchanging the latest news, every one of them hoping, soon, to feature in the latest story. Sun glanced off artfully arranged curls or was deflected by fringed parasols. The breeze flirted with full skirts, teasing the myriad ruffles currently in vogue.
Fashions had changed over the last ten years, but little else had -- he felt not the slightest wish to marry any one of the young things parading in the morning sunshine.
With an inward humph, he swung away and determinedly strolled west across the lawns, leaving the fashionable horde behind.
Despite his antipathy, he had to think of marrying. He was thirty-two. His mother had dropped hints, increasingly pointed ones, over the past decade, but she knew she could push him only so far -- after a few failed attempts, she'd refrained from pressing specific young ladies on him. This morning, however, the dam of her patience had broken, ruptured by the news of his great-uncle's failing health.
His great-uncle was the Earl of Carlisle; his father, Herbert Carmarthen, presently Viscount Northcote, was the earl's heir. Which meant he, Reggie, would, on his uncle's death and his father's accession to the earldom, step up to his father's present title.
Those facts were widely known, yet waking one morning to find himself Northcote was guaranteed, as his mother had waspishly informed him that morning, to focus the attention of every last matchmaking mama on him.
He could either exercise his prerogative and select a wife forthwith, or be inundated with candidates.
Reaching the carriageway that separated Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens, he paused. The looming threat filled his mind. Crossing the gravel, he walked into the heavily shaded walks of the gardens; in the less fashionable area there were only a few nursemaids and matrons quietly strolling.
The idea of marriage had gradually been gaining ground in his conscious mind. Visits, summer and winter, to old friends like the Fulbridges and the Ashfords were largely to blame -- impossible not to notice the satisfaction, the stability, the strength that successful marriage wrought. The Cynster twins, now Amanda Fulbridge and Amelia Ashford, had been his closest friends from childhood and had remained so through the years; the Cynster family in all its various branches numbered among his parents's closest acquaintances. If ever there was a case to be made for marriage, the Cynsters as a group exemplified all that was best, all that could be achieved in that sphere.