Once again Nicole Jordan thrills and enchants with this fabulously seductive Regency romance, the next installment in the Paradise series. She is the woman of his dreams . . . and he will pay any price to possess her. From the moment he met the lovely Lady Eve, soldier of fortune Alex Ryder set his sights on winning the spirited beauty. But fate intervened, making Eve another man's wife then a widow. Now, despite Eve's ardent vow never to marry again, Ryder aims to use every seductive weapon in his arsenal to woo her.
In the fourth book of her Paradise series, Jordan backgrounds the series' mythology, which centers on a secret band of noble warriors called the Guardians of the Sword and its attendant subplots, leaving a generic man-at-arms/damsel-in-distress story in its place. Guardian Alex Ryder has carried a torch for the lovely Lady Eve Seymour since before he was a knight-and before Lady Eve was a Seymour. Newly widowed of her wealthy, selfish husband, Eve fears men and intimacy, but her sister, Claire Montlow, concocts a plan to help Alex win Eve's love. Asking Eve to play matchmaker for Alex, Claire knows that Eve will be forced to confront her love for him. It doesn't hurt Alex's case that somebody is intent on killing Eve, allowing him to flex his Guardian skills protecting her. Readers who enjoy heroes in pursuit may enjoy this one, but the backstory makes this a weak series entry. Eve can frustrate with her refusal to recognize Alex's obvious overtures, but Jordan's prose still waxes purple in plentiful love scenes. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 29, 2006
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Excerpt from Fever Dreams by Nicole Jordan
London April 1816
"What I cannot understand, Eve," Cecil said, spearing a kippered herring on his breakfast plate, "is why you don't wish to marry again. Since we arrived here for the start of the Season, I must have counted at least a dozen gentlemen who are eager to court you."
Caught off guard by her brother's unexpected choice of topics, Eve drew a sudden breath and regrettably wound up choking on her morning coffee. Blindly setting down her cup, she groped for her napkin and pressed it to her lips to stem her fit of coughing.
But if she hoped to avoid answering, she was doomed to disappointment, for Cecil waited with stubborn patience for her to be able to speak again, even to the point of ignoring his forked kipper.
"One marriage was enough, thank you," she finally rasped.
"Seriously," Cecil prodded with a frown, "why don't you want to remarry?"
"If you were a woman, you might understand why a widow would cherish her independence," Eve replied vaguely.
"But I'm not a woman or a widow so it doesn't make any sense to me unless you explain."
Holding back a smile at his earnestness, Eve busied herself with taking a bite of soft-boiled egg. Cecil regularly puzzled over the "inexplicable workings of the female mind." But because it would be impossible to make her younger brother understand how she felt when he had no concept of what some married women endured, she wouldn't even begin to attempt to explain.
Thankfully, though, Eve reminded herself with joyful relief, after six interminable years of marriage and one of widowhood, she finally had a glimpse of freedom and independence. And she would allow nothing and no one to spoil it. She would never, ever marry again.
"It does seem a contradiction," Claire said in her soft, melodic voice, "since you are insisting that I marry."
Eve cast her sister a sympathetic glance. "Because marriage is the only viable option for a young lady of quality. But I promise you, dearest, no one will force you to accept any man who is not your ideal match. We will find you a husband who can make you happy. You have my most solemn word on that."