A wealthy and bitter exile, he most dangerous and desirable man in all of England, he burns to possess a proud, headstrong beauty who is promised to another. But winning Emma Stokehurst's exquisite hand through threats and determination does nothing to fill the empty spaces in Nikola's heart—until passion's magic carries the handsome, tormented prince back to a bygone era of splendor and romantic dreams. For there his destiny awaits him in a distant life. And in one remarkable woman's tender touch—achingly familiar but gloriously new—he must seek the elusive promise of ecstasy . . .and learn, at last, to love.
In English exile from his Russian homeland and his family, Prince Nikolas Angelovsky is a wonderfully romantic, dark and brooding hero complete with a haunted past. One of his occupations in exile has been watching Emma Stokehurst and waiting for her to reach marriageable age. But Emma nearly slips from his grasp when she makes marriage plans of her own to a fortune-hunting scoundrel. Nikki puts the fear of God into her intended, sending him off to marry another heiress. Unaware of the intrigue surrounding her suitor's desertion, the devastated Emma agrees to a marriage of convenience with Nikki, who promises her personal freedom, access to his vast wealth and a lasting sanctuary for her menagerie of abused animals. But once they're married, Nikki steers clear of his bewildered bride, eventually turning ruthlessly cold and hard. This is where the haunted past comes in, one that gives readers a clue as to Nikki's horrid behavior. But readers have no clue that Nikki's about to be zapped back 170 years to 1707, into the character of one of his ancestors. For some 100 pages-practically a novella-Kleypas deserts the main point to plague us with this ancestor's tragic love story, which is intended to teach Nikki a lesson. Kleypas's (Only with Your Love) style is clear and uncomplicated. If one can forgive the flashback (most easily done by skipping it), then the rest of the book is a treat. (Aug.)