Handsome, wealthy, and well-born, Jonas Tallent has everything a gentleman needs to enjoy London society to the fullest — and he has. He's played cards until dawn, flirted with eligible young ladies, and made love to some ineligible ones.
But now he's restless and bored with the mindless frivolity and careless pleasure, so it's with a sense of relief that he takes up the reins of his family's estate in rural Devon. His most pressing need is to hire a new manager for the inn — the center of village life. Such a small task, yet he discovers few decent applicants are willing to live in a quiet country backwater.
Then genteel but impoverished Miss Emily Beauregard applies for the position. Jonas's initial response is an emphatic "no!" Ladies, especially one as attractive as Emily, belong in the ballroom or the bedroom, not running an inn. But with no alternatives, he grudgingly allows Emily to try, and she rapidly proves herself worthy, resurrecting the inn with tact and...
In Lauren's 17th Cynster novel, romance abounds, but the plot lacks drive. Twenty-five-year-old Emily Beauregard escapes her hateful uncle's house with her four younger siblings and settles in Colyton, getting a job as the manager of Red Bells Inn, a rundown establishment in need of an overhaul. She is drawn to her new boss, Jonas Tallent, a dashing, wealthy aristocrat and Cynster relation, who returns Emily's affections, but Emily can't be distracted from what she came to Colyton for-to find her family's long-lost treasure and regain her status in society. The suspense of where the treasure could be is not enough to hold this story together; when Emily excels as the inn's manager, Tallent professes that he wants to marry her, and the town showers her with affection, it becomes unclear why she so desperately needs the treasure anymore. The extended sex scenes will delight Laurens's fans, but the repetitive arc (Emily swooning over Tallent then denying his advances, Tallent trying to discover what brought Emily to his town while seducing her) is wearying. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.