Even if you're unfamiliar with the House of Pleasure series, this story serves as an excellent introduction to the small community of sexually liberated characters living in Regency London. The romance could have fallen prey to a homophobic "conversion" narrative in less practiced hands, but Pearce writes convincingly and expertly. Add an intricate plot, vivid characters, sizzling sex and a dastardly villain for a deliciously well-crafted page-turner.

Misfits Anthony Sokorvsky and Marguerite, the widowed daughter of madam Helene Delornay, help each other get back into society's good graces. Marguerite's marriage tragic-ally ended in a duel for which her late husband's family blames her, while Anthony's homoerotic proclivities are hardly a rumor. It's a business arrangement that turns physical, surprising both of them and catching the attention of Anthony's former lover, a devious man who also has ties to Marguerite's past. (APHRODISIA, Oct., 304 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Michelle Wiener