One of the most original voices in the Regency genre returns to spotlight Lord Benjamin Whitbury, younger brother of Gideon, the Misfit Marquess.

Lord Benjamin is in need of employment. Released from the Navy under less than desirable circumstances, he is determined not to live off his brother and his new wife. If he can just meet the right people, surely someone will have an opening for an ambitious young man.

A chance encounter with horse-mad debutante Katherine Oakes, however, has unexpected consequences when he is trapped into a temporary betrothal with the young lady by the schemes of a fashionable scoundrel. At first appalled by her unorthodox behavior, he gradually begins to appreciate her bright intelligence and shining spirit.

Even if he could win her heart and make the betrothal real, how could he support a wife in such straitened circumstances?

Ms. DesJardien develops a fresh, complex tale featuring a rich ambiance and vividly drawn characters to challenge the imagination and please the heart. (Mar., 216 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer