Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Enticing the Earl-Nicole Byrd

Enticing the Earl
Nicole Byrd
Berkley, Apr 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425220979

Unable to cope with the death of his son Robert last year and with no grandchildren Squire Harris left Yorkshire for London where he lost the estate in a game of cards to the Earl of Sutton. Robert’s impoverished widow Lady Lauryn Applegate Harris vows to get the property back as that is her home. Though she knows her sister would welcome her back, Lauryn offers to become mistress to the new owner Marcus in hopes of regaining the deed.

Marcus arrogantly informs her he will give her a two week trial at his country estate. There he realizes immediately that Lauryn is not a courtesan though she stirs his blood like no one ever has. As they fall in love in and out of bed and forge a relationship that includes companionship, a missing ship of his has been found. She decides to give her beloved a gift by investigating what happened to the vessel. Her endeavor and his efforts to keep her safe strengthen their love, but place their lives in danger from a deadly opium smuggler.

This entertaining historical romance is a fun read as a resolute Lauryn and a scandalous Marcus engage in a terrific gender war. Although that theme has been used frequently, the story line is fast-paced from the moment the duo duel and never slows down until their final confrontation. The subplot involving smugglers is exciting, but more critical is that it enhances the battle of the sexes. Nicole Byrd provides an engaging nineteenth century romantic romp.

Harriet Klausner

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