Ten Reasons to Stay -Sabrina Jeffries
One night, the newly minted Earl of Montieth, Colin Hunt stumbles upon a horse thief. Eager to defend his property, he captures the thief easily and is shocked to discover that it is in fact a young woman. Desperate not to reveal her circumstances that forced her to 'borrow' his horse in an attempt to flee to London, Miss Eliza Crenshawe commences a battle of wits with the Earl, trying to prevent him from learning the truth of her identity. For surely he would send her back to her drunken uncle. But Colin is not easily swayed by the sharped tongued beauty and when he finally learns her circumstances -he doesn't believe her! Desperate for his aid, Eliza offers him a 'trade' of sorts; getting her to London in exchange for ~pleasuring~ him.
****4 STARS- Jeffries story is definitely the best of the bunch. Matching saucy and uninhibited (for a virgin that is) Eliza with the jaded and guarded Colin is a hoot. Eliza matches wits with the Earl and creates a palpable sexual tension, especially when she finds his erotic indian prints ;). And the 'ten reasons to stay'?, well lets just say that fans of Jeffries steamy writing style won't be dissapointed.
After Midnight -Liz Carlyle
Miss Martinique Neville, resident hellion of the school of heiresses, is given a her last lesson on the day of her departure -learn to value yourself. Her whole world turns upside down when during a simple country furlough, before entering London society, she is caught in a compromising position and is forced into a betrothal with the scandalous Lord St. Vrain. Neither wants marriage. His past still haunts him (as well as shuns him in most of decent society) and her heritage is not exactly one would expect to find in a lady. So they form a pack to pretend to accept the betrothal until the scandal passes. Only then do things take a turn when they fall in love with eachother and neither is willing to let go.
*1 STAR- Yeah it was that bad! No likeable characters whatsoever. And please, please don't have the hero *canoodling* with someone other than the heroine and then expect me to like him later -UGH! And the heroine? I'm sorry, virgin teenagers don't talk like 40yr old experienced women, even with a french accent. Don't get me started on the cold hearted family (who's explanations didn't pacify me at all). A semi-depressing story that really never recovers. Skip this one.
The Merchant's Gift -Julia London
Miss Grace Holcomb, a pretty heiress from Leeds, had anything and everything a titled gentleman suitor could want in a wife; poise, grace and training from the exclusive school for heiress, except for the fact that her family attained their wealth from <GASP!> TRADE! And sheep trade unfortunately, which caused a bevy of snide remarks behind the poor girls back and led to several unsuccessful seasons. Now home again with her family until the new season starts, she meets again her childhood crush Mr. Barret Adlaine, who tempts her in ways she'd rather not think about. After all, as a man in trade, he is wholly inappropriate according to her father's (who is determined for a titled match) standards. But that doesn't stop their little run-ins and when Grace returns to London and finds a real titled suitor she must decide between matters of the heart and matters of the family.
****4 STARS. Great underdog story. Plenty of sexual tension, Barret really goes out of his way to court Grace and his gifts are very touching. The only part I didn't like was that Grace was a bit too cruel/mean to him. Over and over she reminded him of what his station in life was and what was expected of her. But the author sort of made up for it in the end with a grand romantic gesture -done by the heroine surprisingly!
Mischief's Holiday -Renee Bernard
Surviving the holidays without incident proved too difficult a task for the accident prone Aylssa Martin. Disaster seemed to follow her everywhere she went, even home to a small gathering of her beloved father's friends for the holidays. Only the sinfully handsome guest Mr. Leland Yates would'nt mock her when she tumbled into the mud or snicker when embarrassing childhood stories where repeated. But what were her chances with him? Especially when her beautiful cousin Violet arrived?
****3 stars. I liked this one? Don't know, but its a cute story. Alyssa's bumbling was funny, but some of the guests comments were cruel. The story strangely lacked steamy love scenes compared to the others in this anthology. And the ending was kind of abrupt, your kind of left hanging -with your own imagination to fill in the gaps. Just kind of bland really.
These four stories were supposed to flow well together but didn't. The writing styles of these authors are way too different and ultimately brought down the whole anthology for me. A disappointment really considering that each can write full novels very well. I guess they should just stick to those.
For some really well matched stories in an anthology, check out Lady Whisteldown Strikes Back and The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown.