A writer of rare talent, Eileen Winwood entrances us with a scintillating duel of hearts in which an arrogant English duke more than meets his match in a feisty Welsh beauty.

Gideon Traherne never expected nor wanted to become the Duke of Claremont. But when the highly inconvenient death of his fathers curmudgeonly cousin leaves him at the mercy of Londons most notorious matchmakers, he takes the first opportunity to escape the overheated salons of the haute ton to pay a duty visit to his newly acquired castle in Wales.

His arrival at his ramshackle property is less than auspicious. His only greeting comes from a less than respectful lad he rescues from a pair of smugglers. Not only does the impudent imp turn out to be definitely female, the fiery Gwynna then claims to be the old dukes daughter. But where is the proof?

Bemused and beguiled by the beautiful firebrand, Gideon finds his heart under siege for the first time in his life. Dare he take the risk of loving her? Even if he does, what about his prior obligations?

Ms. Winwood exquisitely crafts her elegant characterizations with both intelligence and wit. On the way to prominence in the highly competitive romance genre, Eileen Winwood is a name connoisseurs of fine fiction will associate with the very best in reading pleasure. (Mar., 304 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer