Avon, Aug 2004, 6.99, 384 pp.
In 1815, Devon St. James walks home alone at night from her job on the mean streets of St. Giles. Two thugs accost her, but she manages to kill one of them before the other knocks her out. Lord Sebastian Sterling enters the London slum looking for his younger brother when he sees the unconscious woman. Out of character for the normally prim Sebastian, he takes her to his home.
As Sebastian nurses Devon, he initially believes she is a thief and a strumpet. When he sees where she lives and works, he becomes outraged. As he worries about her returning to the slums especially with the other criminal waiting to enact vengeance on her, he also falls in love with her. She reciprocates, but believes he would never want her beyond being his mistress. Sebastian, who observed the unhappiness and fights between his parents, had never wanted passion, but now he needs to persuade Devon with her that is exactly what he needs for a lifetime.
This is an interesting Regency romance because of the courage of the heroine and the changing reactions of the lead male towards his “guest”. The secondary characters add depth whether they are a street thug or Sebastian's brother. Fans will enjoy this fine look at a couple whose childhoods were wanting for different reasons as both realizes money cannot buy happiness, but it does help eliminate stress inducers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner