Harlequin Spice, Feb 2009, $13.95
In 1850 in Worcestshire, England, childhood friends Lord Lindsay Markham and Lady Anais Darnby are attracted to one another though so far they have hid their deep regard. However, Lindsay plans to propose to Anais and has already bought a ring.
His opportunity is thwarted by Anais’ friend Rebecca Thomas who drugs him with opium and seduces him. When Anais sees her friend and her beloved together, her heart breaks. She rejects his plea and his excuses before vanishing.
Almost a year later, Lindsay is ADDICTED to opium, but still hopes to find and marry his beloved. When he finally meets up with Anais, he declares his love. However, having still not forgiven him for his transgression with Rebecca and nauseated by his drug dependency, she rejects him again although she knows she still loves him. He knows what he must do if he wants the woman he is addicted to as his wife; he must give up the opium, but that owns his soul as much as Anais does.
Lindsay with his opium addiction makes for a unique energizing Victorian romance. Anais is a terrific lead female, but in some ways is more a major secondary character as she competes with opium for Lindsay’s soul. His mistreatment of his loyal friend Brougham is partly caused by his need for the drug even as he knows that he can never fully kick the habit as there will be times he will want to indulge. Fans who relish something well written but different will want to read Charlotte Featherstone’s insightful historical as the hero is not just flawed he is overwhelmed by his cravings.