As Lady Rebecca's companion, Ellen Drake stays in the background. She has Rebecca's interests at heart when she accidentally spies Rebecca's fiance, Lord Alex Marshall, trysting with another woman. Ellen stalks Alex, stopping him from breaking his vows. The only problem: she's attracted to the rogue herself.

Alex finds Ellen aggravating, annoying and far too tempting. He is determined to seduce the prim and proper Miss Drake, but when she surrenders to him, giving in to her own fantasies, Alex falls in love.

It would be easy to call off his engagement and marry Ellen, but Holt adds subplot after subplot to complicate this intelligently crafted, steamy tale. The deliciously tangled threads of Rebecca's love for Ellen's brother; Alex's best friend Nick's passion for an actress that leads to a complex alliance with Rebecca's ruthless sister Lydia; and several complications for them all.

Holt delivers pure erotic romance with a dash of the gothic, never missing a beat. Her three-dimensional characters play out their roles while the sizzling love scenes flow and the suspense builds. This is what historical romance readers relish, perfectly balanced passion and plot. VERY SENSUAL (Mar., 400 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin