First up this time is the anthology Talk of the Ton (Jove), with stories by Eloisa James, Julia London, Rebecca Hagan Lee, and Jacqueline Navin, all set in the Regency period. In Ms. James's 'A Proper Englishwoman', Emma Loudan decides to take matters into her own hands when word of her intended's wild behavior reaches her from London, setting off to pose as a Frenchwoman and seduce him herself. 'The Vicar's Widow' by Julia London has widow Kate Becket's new suitor, Lord Montgomery, fending off the gossips of the ton in an effort to woo the woman he truly wants to marry. Rebecca Hagan Lee's 'Clearly a Couple' features another of the Free Fellows, Jonathan Manners, Earl of Barclay, stopping to pick up a 'parcel' for friends and finding instead the exotic Lady India Burton. Finally, Ms. Navin's 'Miss Jenny Alt's First Kiss' has poor Jenny falling for Miles, the Earl of Hatherleigh, the man her cousin has set her cap for. I liked Rebecca Hagan Lee's story best of all, with its whirlwind romance and captivating characters. Ms. London's tale is charming, too, but with a rather stock 'villainess'. I'm giving the entire anthology four arrows.
Mary Reed McCall's Beyond Temptation: The Templar Knights (Avon) is next. Lady Margaret Newcomb's life has not been easy, and the return of Sir Richard de Cantor to his home will not make her current situation any simpler. Richard has many demons, and Meg's past makes her cautious. This one is filled with historical detail, and more than one bad guy. While I enjoyed the story, it isn't a keeper for me. It's earned three of Cupid's five arrows.
Finally, we have the latest from Laurin Wittig, Daring the Highlander(Berkley). Ailig MacLeod's return home isn't the triumph it should be, nor is his father pleased with the news he's brought. The keep has gone to pot since Ailig's sister eloped, and he enlists the aid of the beautiful widow Morainn MacRailt to get things in order again while he tries to carry out the king's orders. This one was fun, with believable characters and a great setting--Scotland; how can one go wrong there? I'm giving it four arrows as well.
Until next time, happy reading!