Monday, June 19, 2006

My Scandalous Bride - Anthology

I can't remember why exactly had to get this now, but I think it is because I realised that once I read this there would only be one Celeste Bradley book that I hadn't read yet. Hers was the first novella that I read, but I will go through them one by one. I actually hadn't read any of the other authors at all.

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...

I am not sure what to make of this story. I really liked the premise until near the very end of the story. Keefe is a master spy who is trying to stop a French spy from giving away England's secrets. Laura is convinced that Keefe is a double crossing spy, and she is determined to unearth his secrets. So when she pretends to be his wife at the local inn, so that she can spy on him on his land, he decides to claim her as his own as he knows that no one in the inn will assist her against him.

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

First thing...Dyan? It is an unusual name for sure! I am not sure whether one or both of these characters had been introduced in other books, but I didn't really feel as though I knew who Fiona was. Fiona and Dyan had shared a kiss many years ago, and Fiona, wanting a declaration of love, scared him off. As soon as they saw each other again the sparks were there, and when Dyan realises that Fiona has no idea that the dinner party she is attending is THAT kind of party, the obvious thing is that he be the one to debauch her instead of one of the other guests. Not too bad as a story!

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 she'll share as soon as she conquers her temptation for the man she was never supposed to marry!
Having read and mostly enjoyed all of Celeste Bradley's books except for Fallen, this story was the reason why I got this book in the first place, and I wasn't disappointed. When she is on form, Celeste Bradley takes stories that you might well have read before and gives them a humour and a freshness that is really entertaining. Alfred Knight has found the perfect wife. She is quiet, will never embarrass him in public and will remain dutiful. It doesn't matter that he will never feel any great love for her. He just wants to get on with restoring his family's good name after all the terrible exploits of his mother. So when his perfect bride switches places with her twin sister, Alfred is a little surprised to feel such a strong attraction to her, and that she isn't the biddable miss he thought he was getting. The only thing that stretched a bit too far was the fact that Kitty is a really good knife thrower. Other than that, a good read.
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 had never even heard of this author before, let alone read anything by her, and for the most part I really liked her story. If there was one thing that bothered me, it's trying to work out whether a confirmed rake would wait around 13 years for the only woman that he ever truly loved, and if so, why would he be such an out and out rake during that time? Other than that the novella was entertaining.

Overall rating: 4/5

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