Where are all the exciting men in London After spending years in the glittering ballrooms of the ton, Amanda Cynster is utterly bored by the current crop of colorless suitors. Determined to take matters into her own hands, one night she shockingly goes where no respectable lady ever should, but where many an intriguing gentleman might be found. But titillating excitement quickly turns to panic when Amanda discovers she's quite out of her depth. She looks around for help -- and is unexpectedly rescued by the Earl of Dexter. Lean, sensuous, and mysterious, he has delayed re-entering society, preferring instead a more interesting existence on its fringes. He's the epitome of the boldly passionate gentleman Amanda has been searching for, but although his very touch makes it clear he's willing to educate her in the art of love, Amanda has to wonder if such a masterful, lionized rake can be sufficiently tamed into the ways of marriage.
Veteran romance author Laurens adds to her early 19th-century Cynster family saga with this highly sensual tale featuring 23-year-old Amanda Cynster, cousin of the six former rogues who starred in Laurens's earlier entries (The Promise in a Kiss, etc.). After six years on the marriage mart, Amanda and her twin, Amelia, despairing of ever finding the right mate, have decided to broaden their search. While browsing for prospects in a notorious gaming hell, Amanda encounters Martin Fulbridge, fifth earl of Dexter. Banished from England by his father for a murder he didn't commit, Martin eschews London's elite circles and has been living abroad for the past 10 years. Nevertheless, he finds himself playing the part of Amanda's protector as she flits from one disreputable venue to another in a spurious quest for adventure. Inevitably, Amanda is "compromised," but she's unwilling to settle for anything less than a marriage based on love. The solving of the 10-year old murder mystery, though hasty, doesn't detract from the primary players and their witty repartee, but newcomers to the series may be put off by Amanda's anachronistic behavior (she has sex with Martin out of wedlock and frequently goes about without a chaperone). Still, readers will relish Laurens's spunky heroine and sizzling love scenes. (Apr. 2) Forecast: Avon is billing this book and its sequel (On a Wicked Dawn), which will be released only a month later, as Laurens's most sensual titles ever, and if that declaration doesn't move units, print advertising in Redbook and the Romantic Times will. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 31, 2002
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Excerpt from On a Wild Night by Stephanie Laurens
Upper Brook Street, London February 20, 1825
"It's hopeless!" Amanda Cynster flopped on her back on her twin sister's bed. "There is simply no gentleman in the ton worth considering -- not at present."
"There hasn't been for the last five years -- well, not gentlemen interested in taking a wife." Stretched beside Amanda, Amelia stared up at the canopy. "We've searched and searched--"
"Turned every stone."
"And the only ones even vaguely interesting are... not interested."
Alike in both feature and figure, blessed with blond ringlets, cornflower blue eyes and porcelain complexions, the twins could easily have posed for La Belle Assemblýe as the epitome of well-bred fashionable young ladies, except for their expressions. Amelia looked disgusted, Amanda mutinous. "I refuse to lower my standards."
They'd discussed their requirements in a husband ad infinitum over the years. Their standards did not materially differ from those espoused by their mentors -- their mother and aunts, their cousins' wives. They were surrounded by strong women, ladies all, who had, one and all, found happiness in their marriages. The twins had little doubt as to the qualities they sought.
A gentleman who loved them, who would set them and the family they would raise above all other considerations. A protector, a helpmate, with a reliable, strong arm who would always be there to keep them safe. A man who valued their skills, intelligence and opinions, who would accept them as an equal however much he wished to be lord and master of his world. A gentleman of sufficient substance to render their not-inconsiderable dowries by-the-by; a man of their world well connected enough to take the powerful Cynster clan in his stride.