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Betina Krahn

Genre: Victorian Period, England, Historical Romance

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The Perfect Mistress

Perfect, eh?" my friend Mary said, when I mentioned the name of my newest book, The Perfect Mistress.

I knew I was in for trouble. Mary is a psychotherapist whose specialty is the trendy syndrome "perfectionism." She's a whiz at treating people who wrap Christmas presents with T-squares, wash their ashtrays between cigarettes, and fold the end of the toilet paper to a neat little equilateral triangle each time they leave the bathroom.

"Why perfect?" she asked with that analytical gleam in her eye.

"Well, her mother wants her to be the perfect mistress."

"Mother problems, eh? It figures. Most perfectionists are mother-fixated."

"Not Gabrielle." I fidgeted. "She simply believes she doesn't have the 'juices' to be a sizzling courtesan."

"Ahhh." She nodded with a faintly superior smile. "Repression of libido as a passive-aggressive response to an overwhelming maternal authority figure."

"Gabrielle is anything but passive." I folded my arms. "She talks her way out of an abduction by convincing her amorous kidnapper to pose as her lover. Unwittingly, she has chosen notorious rake Pierce St. James, Lord Sandbourne, as her partner in deception. Her worldly mother knows his reputation and distrusts both his motives and Gabrielle's change of heart. She locks them up together in Gabrielle's boudoir, demanding that Pierce gently woo the virginal Gabrielle, to prove the genuineness of their love."

"A classic retribution paradigm," she sniffed.

"So Gabrielle and Pierce are caught up in their mutual lie and have to pretend to sin. Poor Gabrielle has to think of ways to keep the irresistible Lord Sandbourne from seducing her...while convincing her mother that he's doing that very thing! And things get really interesting when he proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she has a few 'juices' after all. Neat plot twists, eh?"

"Nothing that two or three decades of in-depth analysis couldn't straighten out," she scowled. "What those two need is a good relational therapist."

"Or," I played my trump card, "a romance writer with a devious mind."

The Perfect Mistress has something for everyone-a tender love story, a bit of shocking (and historic!) political intrigue, irresistibly playful sensuality, a fresh look at the old double standard, a slow-melting hero, and even a couple of dueling mothers-in-law. Enjoy!

Be sure to enter the Bantam/RCA Victor giveaway involving The Perfect Mistress and the new CD release of the St. Louis Symphony's recording of Romeo and Juliet! Talk about romantic-you could win a trip for two to Verona, Italy! Details are in the back of each book.

I'd love to hear from you. Write to me c/o Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. Include an SASE for a reply.

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