The Rogue's Bride (St. Martin's) by Leslie LaFoy is up first. Lady Simone Turnbridge, illegitimate daughter of the late Duke of Ryland, who's having her Season only to satisfy her sister, not to snare a husband, no matter how attractive or rich. Tristan Townsend, Marquis of Lockwood, knows the expectations for him now that the younger son has inherited the family title, but none of the proper young ladies in Town interest him the way Simone does. I surprised myself very much by liking this book quite a lot. I remember enjoying the first of the sisters when her story came out earlier, but this one is far better, with a much stronger heroine, and a hero determined to do the right thing, no matter how it breaks his heart. While you'll know early on who's against them, there's a little twist at the end to surprise you. I'm giving this one four of Cupid's five arrows. While I expect the third sister to have an interesting tale, I somehow think that Simone is going to remain my favorite of the three Ryland sisters.
Rules of Seduction (Dell) by Madeline Hunter is next, with Alexia Welbourne, recently dependent on the goodwill of her cousins, now forced to find her own way when Hayden Rothwell ruins her cousin, leaving Timothy unable to support himself and his sisters, let alone a cousin as well. But Alexia doesn't know the entire story, and Hayden is bound not to share it with her. She's proud, but not stupid, and takes on the job of companion to his aunt and governess to his cousin, and, despite all the reasons she has to hate him, she still finds herself attracted. Ms. Hunter is a personal favorite of mine, so I expected nothing less than a great romance here, and I was not disappointed. There are hints throughout at the slight mystery, but the main focus is the romance, which makes me exceedingly happy, because the romance is wonderful. Alexia and Hayden are well-matched, not to mention how sexy Hayden is. This is a fabulous way to while away a fall or winter evening, and a definite keeper. It's earned four and a half arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!