The hero has a reputation as being an honorable man and the heroine is known for being a shrew, yet over the course of this novella they are both able to break out of these stereotypical roles to become fully formed and interesting characters. In addition to great characterization, the author also includes bits of Chinese language and culture into the text, making the story a welcome change from European-set historical romance fare.

Mei Lin resents being forced into marriage, especially when it is to the odious local official Zhou. So Mei Lin issues a challenge: she will only marry a man who can defeat her in a sword fight. Fortunately for Mei Lin, her grace and accuracy with weapons make her unbeatable. That is until Shen Leung, a famous swordsman, enters Mei Lin's village and requests a test of her skills. Mei Lin is immediately drawn to the strong, handsome warrior. Now she must decide if this is a battle she wants to win. (Harlequin, Sept., dl. $2.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Dawn Crowne