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Paying the Virgin's Price (Regency Silk & Scandal) Paperback – 1 Apr 2010
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About the Author
Christine Merrill wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. During a stint as a stay-at-home-mother, she decided it was time to “write that book.” She could set her own hours and would never have to wear pantyhose to work! It was a slow start but she slogged onward and seven years later, she got the thrill of seeing her first book hit the bookstores. Christine lives in Wisconsin with her family. Visit her website at: www.christine-merrill.com
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Once apon a time three young men of noble birth had been friends and colleagues, working together for a government department. But then one of them had been murdered, and a second accused of the crime - and not just hanged for it, but attainted as a traitor, so that his wife and young children lost everything.
Twenty years later the scandal resurfaces, dragging in the surviving member of the original trio and the children of all three of them. But it is far from obvious who is who ...
The hero of "Paying the Virgin's Price" is the long lost brother of the heroine of the first book, and like her, has modified his name to avoid the shame of his father's execution and attainder. But he has changed his name rather less, shortening it from Nathan Wardale to Nate Dale.
This book starts a few days after the conclusion of "The Lord and the Wayward Lady" while the hero and heroine of that book are on their honeymoon. Having lost touch with his mother and sisters while he was serving in the navy, Nate is oblivious to the fact that his sister has just married his boyhood friend, and equally unaware of the events leading up to their marriage.
At the start of the book, Nate gets a visit from another boyhood friend - the illegitimate son of the man who his father was executed for supposedly murdering - who presents him with a silken rope, such as would be used to hang a nobleman.
After an angry exchange between them, Nate decides to warn Marcus, Lord Stanegate, that his family may receive similar attentions (not knowing that they already have.) Arriving at their home he is astonished to be met by a woman who he has been carefully avoiding for ten years ...
Having lost everything when his father was hanged, Nate earns his living as a gambler. He always wins but never seeks to carry on playing beyond the point where his opponents have something they can bet against him. But all too often people bet things they cannot afford to lose, and then lose them to Nathan. The most extreme case being ten years ago, when one particularly desperate man bet both his house and the virginity of his daughter, Diana Price.
Nate only accepted this bet to teach the man a lesson, never intending to claim the prize from his daughter. He has carefully avoided even meeting the lady, let alone pressing her for something her father had no right to pledge.
Until he arrives at Marcus's residence to be met by Diana Price: having lost her home and fortune because of her father's foolish bet, Diana is working as companion to Lord Stanegate's younger sisters.
And then the unthinkable happens: Nathan finds himself attracted to a woman who honour and common sense tells him he should avoid ...
The stories in this series are not tremendously plausible - although I have read worse - and most of them do not have the wealth of period detail about the world of the haut ton which the best regency writers such as Georgette Heyer or Marion Chesney (also known as M.C. Beaton) build into their books.
Like "The Lord and the Wayward Lady" this is somewhere between a good three star book and the bottom end of four stars. But if you like light regency romances with a touch of the cloak and dagger about them, you will probably enjoy this book and the rest of the "Regency Silk and Scandals" series, which consists of:
1) "The Lord and the Wayward Lady (Regency Silk & Scandals)" by Louise Allen
2) This book, "Paying the Virgin's Price" by Christine Merrill
3) "The Smuggler and the Society Bride (Mills & Boon - Regency Silk & Scandals)" by Julia Justiss
4) "Claiming The Forbidden Bride (MB Continuities)" by Gayle Wilson
5) "The Viscount and the Virgin (Mira (Direct))" by Annie Burrows
6) "Unlacing the Innocent Miss (Mills & Boon Regency Silk & Scandals) (MB Continuities)" by Margaret McPhee
7) "The Officer and the Proper Lady (Regency Silk & Scandal) (MB Continuities)" by Louise Allen
8) "Taken by the Wicked Rake (Mills & Boon - Regency Silk & Scandals) (MB Continuities)" by Christine Merrill.
I wasn't too keen on the characters in this story. They were either idiots or just plain irritating. Plus the plot moved along at a snails pace.
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