Pocket, Nov 2003,
Though an Earl, Caine “Vice” Ballinger lives on the fringe of society ever since his father Henry committed suicide off the cliffs of Devon. Caine blames his sire's death on Duke Edward Ashton, who called in a debt that Henry could not pay off. The family home Northcote was sold on the auction block once its entail expired. Caine is angry and frustrated because he cannot do a thing to the man who destroyed his family and his heart.
Opportunity for revenge finally arrives when Edward's daughter Lady Bliss Ashton attends a party that Caine, as the sex toy of the current owner of Northcote, Olivia Hamilton, is also at. Olivia bets Caine he cannot seduce Bliss, known for rejecting suitors. If he wins he regains his family home, but if he loses he becomes a more attentive lover. As Caine makes his move, Bliss sees inside the angry arrogant man to a warm, caring and honorable person who she loves, but to persuade him that he deserves her means a paradigm switch from detesting the Ashtons.
Though the “solution” with her father is too easily resolved, fans will appreciate this passionate Regency romance starring two unlikely people who the audience will adore. The story line moves forward rather quickly whether the subplot contains a romantic theme or a murder mystery. Caine's personality traits are presented rather early in a delightfully intelligent manner during a tryst with Olivia so that the audience sees the pulls on his character and ironically before Bliss finds them. By George, sub-genre fans seeking pleasure in their novels will gain plenty from this solid tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner