"If one is not marrying for love, one may as well marry for something else. My future countess has to be sufficiently docile and endowed with at least passable grace of form, deportment and address."
Fate has made Gyles Rawlings a man determined to control his destiny.
Appealing characters and red-hot chemistry breathe new life into a familiar story line in the latest entry in Laurens's Regency-era Cynster series (following All About Love). This time, Cupid's arrow fells Gyles Rawlings, the Earl of Chillingworth and an "honorary Cynster." Gyles realizes that it's time to take a wife and carry on the line, but he's determined to go about it in a businesslike fashion with an arranged marriage. Fortunately, country heiress Francesca Rawlings, a distant relation, seems to be the perfect candidate. She's well favored, pleasant and endowed with an estate that will nicely complement his own. On his wedding day, however, he discovers that the serene, docile woman that he spied in the garden a few days earlier was not Francesca, but her cousin Frannie. The heiress he's contracted for is the passionate hoyden he's met galloping across the downs. Nevertheless, he goes through with the marriage, seizing the opportunity to complete his estate and indulge his passion for the spirited Francesca. She, in turn, is determined to make the earl admit his love for her. The stubbornness of the hero and heroine, though the center of the story's conflict, may irritate some readers, but Laurens's twist on the bride-switch, arranged marriage formula is fun, spicy and sure to please. (Sept. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.