Leisure, Apr 2004, 6.99, 371 pp.
In 1820 Viscount Lucas Westmore is about to pull out of Lady Sybil Roxbury, but she tightens and holds him in place. He is unable to remove himself and releases his seed inside her. Afterward Luke realizes that Sybil is already pregnant and trying to pass the unborn off as his. He tells her he will not marry her, but promises to find her a spouse. Two days later, the London Times announces that Sybil is dead an apparent suicide. Filled with remorse, the rake vows to give up sex. He leaves London for exile in St. Ives on the Cornish coast.
During his nocturnal wanderings to escape from the guilt, he observes a smuggling operation headed by the Shadow. Finding a reason to live, he makes inquiries, but the villagers say nothing. Still he concludes that the squire's daughter Bliss Hartley is the Shadow. He saves her life by informing the excise men that she is his fiancée. They marry mostly out of his failure to help Sybil, but love begins to blossom until an unknown person tries to kill Luc and someone else has taken on her former identity of the Shadow.
The latest Rogue regency romance is a delightful charmer starring two fabulous protagonists. Luc is an honorable person trying to do the right thing though his lament over failing Sybil seems unfair. Bliss is typical of many of the sub-genre heroines as she is courageous, independent, and performs an occupation that most men would fear to try. Together they make a fierce team for their enemies to cope with but a fabulous read for fans of Connie Mason.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner