POTENT PLEASURES received a top pick in its hardcover release (Sep. 99), but the paperback release is even better. Eloisa James has revised her original story to enhance historical accuracy.
Lady Charlotte attends a masquerade ball, where she loses her virginity to a sensual, mysterious man with silver streaks in her hair. Alex Foakes, the future Earl of Sheffield and Downes, never forgets the masked beauty during the three years he and his identical twin brother are exiled to the continent for indiscretions.
Divorced, Alex returns to England and wants a wife to help raise his daughter, Pippa. He meets Charlotte, who instantly recognizes him as her nameless lover, but he cannot equate her with his garden girl. Charlotte accepts his proposal, but jealousy rears its head when Alex realizes Charlotte is not a virgin. He doesnt believe the tale of their long-ago encounter and insists it was his twin she met. Fuel is added to the fire when Alex is away and his brother is seen coming out of their home. The gossip mongers have a field day. Readers will see how easily gossip and scandal can ruin a relationship in this intriguing Regency romance by a vibrant new voice in the genre who brings a slightly different slant to an era we are familiar with. SENSUAL (May, 592 pp., $6.50 — Hardcover published September 1999)