This "Beauty and the Beast"-themed novel entertains on all levels. It's fun to watch the heroine unearth the hero's masquerade and reveal the dark but necessary reasons behind the mask. There's also a rousing supporting cast and a well-balanced plot.
Robbie Darkwood seeks employment at a hermitage so that he can have solitude and anonymity. But his isolation is interrupted by the appearance of his employer's daughter, recently returned from a disappointing London season, who insists his hermitage is her domain.
Laurel Gardiner is intrigued by the handsome, mysterious recluse and decides to turn him into a gentleman. But Robbie is already refined; he's the Earl of Westbridge, and he harbors a dark secret. As Laurel works to refine him, he falls in love with her. But he knows his secret will destroy any chance for happiness they might have. (IMAJINN/FOREVER REGENCY, Jan., 227 pp., $14.00)