The fresh voice of Andrea Pickens offers an exciting adventure in which a Regency miss proves her mettle to a cynical, disillusioned earl.

It is a matter of honor. With her ducal father absent, Lady Caroline Alexandra Georgina Talcott must assume the responsibility of conveying a secret missive to London. It will be dangerous, however, since the original messenger is already dead, and there is no one else she can trust with the mission.

Her fears are justified when her coach is run off the road, and she is left for dead. Only chance brings the Earl of Davenport across her path to save her life. And since she obviously needs a protector, and he needs money, it makes sense to hire him as an escort. Can she convince him to help her without revealing the reason for her journey?

Ms. Pickens creates a wonderfully strong heroine who saves the hero with sheer force of will at least as many times as he saves her. Cleverly twisting a classic plot into something new and different, this rising Regency star will win a wide audience for her intriguing tale. (June, 254pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer