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on 5 May 2006
One incident changes Ellen Drakes life she knows the danger of scandal and has vowed to live her life scandal free. She is now a companion for Rebecca attending balls and soirées not being a part of society but not fitting in with the hired help. She is at just such a function when she is trapped in a room where a seduction begins to take place. She makes her presence known and is shocked to find Rebecca's betrothed one of the participates. Alex Marshall is as handsome as sin and a temptation Ellen soon can't ignore despite her best efforts to keep her distance. What started out as a way of keeping Alex monogamous ends up tormenting her. His kisses make her long for things that aren't hers to have...or can she have a happy ending?

Alex is shocked when Ellen tells him she wants him to give up his rakish ways for Rebecca is fiancée. Rebecca doesn't fire his passion like Ellen does with a simple kiss. It's not long before Ellen and Alex are caught in a compromising position and things change. Alex saves Ellen when she needs him most but will he be able to save the fledgling relationship that has been slowly growing?

Ms. Holts latest romance is peppered with several secondary characters who play key parts in the romance between Alex and Ellen...almost to the point of crowding the romance out. This romance is sensual...almost erotic in nature but Alex and even Ellen are difficult characters to care about at turns. Alex is almost too arrogant and I would have liked to have seen the conflict that kept them apart curtailed a bit...without giving away details the ending saves this read. This is not her strongest effort but at the same time it's not one I'd go out of my way to avoid either.
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VINE VOICEon 14 February 2009
Ellen Drake is all alone in the world after a scandal years ago tore her family apart. Working as a paid companion, she tries hard to be proper at all times. When she catches her employer's fiancé engaging in a tryst she is scandalised and vows that she will ensure he will stay celibate until his wedding day.

Alex Marshall, Lord Stanton, is irked and intrigued by the companion who has taken it upon herself to keep him out of mischief and he can't help but find her irresistible. So he proposes a bargain - he won't dally until his wedding - with anyone else but her!

Despite being a fan of Cheryl Holt, I wasn't overly enamoured with this novel and it certainly wasn't one of her best.

I liked both Ellen and Alex as characters - Alex being the arrogant, sexy lord and Ellen being the downtrodden, lovely hired help. They did have good chemistry together but I didn't find the story as erotic as some of Cheryl Holt's previous books.

The main problem that I had was that there were just too many characters. We spent so much time reading about each different character that by the time you get back to Alex and Ellen, you wonder how much you've missed! I also found some of the characters were completely pointless and distracted from the main story even more. There were also a lot of modern Americanisms throughout the book which gets a bit tiresome and jars you away from the story as you read.

Overall, it's not a terrible book and I really did enjoy the ending, but unless you're a fan of Cheryl Holt's I probably wouldn't recommend this book to you. Readable but only 3 stars.
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