AN UNLADYLIKE OFFER
Merrill does a great job of redeeming a rake in this charming Regency-set story. The characters are well developed, and the backstory is woven seamlessly into the plot. Both the hero and the heroine are really likable, and their difficulties are believably real.
Unfortunately, war hero St. John Radwell has also decided to change his life. He's been promised an earldom as a reward for his bravery -- if he can stay out of trouble. So instead of taking Esme as a mistress, he attempts to match her to a worthy man.
Esme doesn't want worthy, she wants St. John. Her father wants to beat her into submitting to the old roue. It's a circle dance that comes to a very satisfyingly romantic end. (Harlequin, Aug., 299 pp., $5.99)