Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man - a naked unconscious man - and loses her innocence forever.
Viscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he's hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities - even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.
Charmed by Simon's sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has - her love.
Incredibly vivid lead characters, earthy writing and an intense love story buoy the third entry in Hoyt's Georgian-set romance series (following The Leopard Prince), which kicks off with Lucy Craddock-Hayes's page-one discovery of Viscount Simon Iddesleigh in a ditch near her home, naked and beaten almost to death. Though her blustery father fears for Lucy's virtue, they take the battered man in, and the insightful, beautiful Lucy is soon as drawn to the handsome, witty gentleman as he is to her. But Simon's mission, to avenge the death of his brother, pulls him in two opposing directions: his soul-deep need for revenge and his desire to protect Lucy. The exquisite romance, flawed slightly by a dearth of historical details, is touched by Hoyt's mesmerizing storytelling; in a less talented writer, the love story could easily have been overwhelmed by the revenge subplot, but Hoyt skillfully uses Lucy and Simon's internal and external conflicts--including the threats against their lives--to enhance her love story. (Sept.)
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August 31, 2007
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