Mallory showcases her talent for creating powerful stories made stronger by intense emotions. With her well-drawn characters, their rapier dialogue and an irresistible bad-boy hero, she captivates readers’ attention. Even a plot as old as the genre becomes fabulously new in her hands.

Some might believe Charlotte Chatsworth is made of ice; in truth she is her father’s pawn in his scheme to marry her to a wealthy nobleman. Her concern for her sister outweighs her fear that her father’s gambling will ruin the family. Roman Merrick, owner of a gambling hell, understands men like Chatsworth. Why then does he crave Charlotte and accept her father’s outrageous wager: one night with Charlotte in exchange for his vouchers? But that one night; where they play chess till dawn, is not enough. Charlotte knows she must marry well, but she yearns for the passion she senses Roman can deliver. As he pursues her like a sleek, sensual cat after a mouse, she willingly plays into his hands, though it can lead to social ruin — or a lifetime of love. (AVON, Mar., 384 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin