Readers will welcome Blake back with her first historical romance since 2002. Challenge to Honor is set in the time and place she knows best: New Orleans' golden age. Here, duels of honor are fought at dawn and the swordsmen known as Masters of Arms rule supreme.

To prevent her brother from dueling the infamous Rio de Silva, Celina Vallier bargains with him for her brother's life. He agrees—at the price of her innocence.

Rio wants to use Celina as a pawn to trap his enemy and her fiancé—a count who is in New Orleans to convince the U.S. government not to annex Texas. But as Rio toys with Celina, he discovers a woman whose honor and passion match his own, and whose love he begins to crave. When Celina refuses to marry the count they are enmeshed in a political game that threatens their love and their lives.

With its lush backdrop and impeccable research, the first in Blake's new series evokes everything alluring about New Orleans. She brings the bayous and the mansions, the foggy mornings and heated evenings to life, along with her vibrant characters. Fascinating and little-known historical details add just the right amount of depth. (Jan., 408 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin