A favorite storyteller creates another innovative love story in which a handsome earl takes possession of a recently acquired estate and loses his heart to an independent lady.

It is the answer to all of his problems. No longer will Maxwell Longford, Earl of Merimont, have to endure the excoriating abuse of his arrogant ducal father. Winning a fortune along with an estate will give him the independence he has craved for to put his own theories of land management into action. And what better way to celebrate this stroke of good fortune than to invite his friends, along with a few dolly birds, to visit him in his new abode?

Discovering Miss Hope Ashburton, niece of the previous owner, still in residence is a shock. Learning that she and her ailing mother have an unbreakable 99-year lease is an even bigger shock. Worst of all, however, is trying to figure out what to do about his less than respectable house party.

His unorthodox solution has him literally climbing the walls, as he attempts to satisfy the demands of hospitality and protect the feisty lady who has won his heart.

Ms. Lane is a wonder at twisting familiar plots in new and refreshing directions. Once again, readers can relish the hand of a true master in this cleverly crafted tale of love. (On-sale Feb., 221 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer