Author: Christina Dodd, Celeste Bradley, Stephanie Laurens, Leslie LaFoy
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: May 28, 2004
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Christina Dodd, "The Lady and the Tiger"
Laura Haver will stop at nothing to find out who killed her brother-even if it means posing as the wife of notorious rogue Keefe Leighton, the Earl of Hamilton. But things go too far when Keefe engages Laura in an artful game of seduction-a game that can have only one winner...
Stephanie Laurens, "Melting Ice"
Once, Dyan St. Laurent Dare, Duke of Darke, dreamed of making Lady Fiona his bride. Now they're together again-at a scandalous dinner party where debauchery is the menu's main course. But will wedding bells ring after the guests get their just desserts?
Celeste Bradley, "Wedding Knight"
Alfred Knight will do anything to avoid a scandal-even marry a woman he barely knows. But his bride has a most titillating secret...one she'll share as soon as she conquers her temptation for the man she was never supposed to marry!
Leslie LaFoy, "The Proposition"
Rennick St. James, the Earl of Parnell, has four days to seduce London's most popular widow into becoming his wife-or else she'll marry another man. It won't be easy...but Rennick has been lusting after the beguiling Julia Hamilton far too long to let her go now...
I admit to buying this book because the cover bore Christina Dodd's name, but her story, The Lady and the Tiger, was a huge disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I love steamy scenes, but there were too many crammed up in a novella. Instead of exploring the spy plot more fully, Ms. Dodd concentrated on the lead couple's sexapades at times plunging the plot into weak chick-porn.
Stephanie Laurens's Melting Ice was a pleasant surprise. There was still enough steam to boil Chinese dumplings, but at least she gave her characters an extremely believable back story that made the reader root for the two to finally clear the humongous misunderstanding and have their deserved HEA.
Celeste Bradley's Wedding Knight was a delight to read. Though the premise was quite outrageous to begin with, the plot was charming, the two leads at first glance complete opposites, yet so similar. Maybe the "mystery" took a little too long to unravel, resulting in a hasty, rather patched-up ending, but still, this story was an endearing one. It most definitely put Ms. Bradley on my map.
Leslie LaFoy's The Proposition is another little gem in this quartet of novellas. It's a bittersweet and poignant take on "the second chance" everyone deserves yet few get. Rennick's words "I'll wait for you, Julia. For as long as I must." give additional emotional weight to the already deep story of second chances and the difference between forgiving and forgetting, yet ending up doing both.