Avon, Mar 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1810 Cornwall, Aveline Stoddard begs Lucien DuFeron not kill her father. Lord Chestwick lost a lot of money gambling to Lucien and then accused him of cheating. Lucien asks remittance on her father's gambling bill and will throw in the loser's life in exchange for three nights of sex with Aveline. Both are stunned by how much they enjoy the tryst, but on the final morning they depart with nasty words. A few months later she sends him a note informing him she is pregnant, but his best friend responds telling her to have a nice life.
Not long afterward, Lucien is assaulted and impressed leading to five years at sea. When he returns home he goes after Chestwick, blaming him for the abduction, but the man is a shell having suffered a stroke. He meets five-year old Chloe, recognizes her as his daughter, and marries Aveline. He refuses to take her father with them to his estates so she refuses to have sex with him. When her father's gambling debts threaten Chloe, Lucien cleans up the mess. Aveline realizes her husband is honorable and they make love though she feels he is wrong about her father, but someone did betray him. If not her dad, who?
This entertaining Regency romance stars a delightful lead couple that seems perfect together especially during the three delectable nights. They later provide a Lyistrada-like morality battle when they reunite. Still both protagonists wear blindfolds when it comes to not seeing mountainous flaws of loved ones; this appears out of character for either of the strong duo. Award winning Debra Mullins furbishes a wonderful historical that the audience will relish.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner