If you like your historical romance with a spicy Regency flavor, keep your eye out for the fast-rising star of Shelley Bradley.

It was an outrageous request by any standards. How could her elderly husband ask her to make love with another man? But Lady Serena, Duchess of Warrington, knows that the dukes unorthodox entreaty springs from a desperate fear that both she and his estate will be left to the not-so-tender mercies of his dissolute nephew after his own death.

Fulfilling his request, however, is easier said than done. Not only is Lady Serena possessed of a severe handicap to seduction, but she has another problemwhere in the world can she meet a rake, indulge in passionate lovemaking and return home the same night with no one the wiser?

The answer is obvious: Vauxhall Gardens. But Lady Serenas unplanned encounter with Lucien Clayborne, fifth Marquess of Daneridge goes nothing like she expected, and soon the lady finds herself first a widow and then a wife to a man who will trust no woman with his heart. Can she change the stubborn lords mind?

Although plot development stirs up murky legal waters and characterization is a bit too volatile, Ms. Bradley presents strong, dramatic concepts with an unerring romantic sensibility in her debut novel. (Feb., 319 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer