Layton masterfully merges humor and strong emotions -- with a handsome
but starchy gentleman; an unconventional, fascinating, adorable female; her
sea captain grandfather; and a worldly governess who likes to tipple -- into a well-written, lively, fast-paced and sensual novel.

Lord Constantine Wylde never does anything in excess. Every inch the gentleman, he's engaged to the straitlaced Miss Winchester.

Then Captain Bigod appears on his doorstep and announces that Con is betrothed to his granddaughter, Lisabeth. Con travels to the captain's home to find out more about his so-called fiancee. He enjoys spending time with the lovely and free-spirited Lisabeth, who gives him the gift of laughter, happiness and love. Though Lisabeth accepts his hand in marriage (after she seduces him) she suddenly changes her mind.

Con devises a plan to win her back: remind her of his great-grandfather and father, whom she found dashing. But his best-laid plans don't turn out as he expected. (Avon, Dec., 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Joan Hammond