Review of THE NAKED MARQUIS by Sally MacKenzie (see her website)
Zebra Historical Romance, March 2006
Major Charles Draysmith, A.K.A. the Marquis of Knightsdale, hadn't expected to become Marquis. His brother had been assigned that role at birth, leaving Charles the army and the more relaxed position of younger son. But when his brother is murdered while touring Italy, Charles is thrown into the one job he really would rather avoid. Since his brother left daughters but no sons, it's also up to Charles to come up with a male heir--and for that he needs a bride. The solution, in Regency England, is to host a house party filled with eligible females--all in all, Charles would rather face Napoleon again.
The perfect solution presents itself almost immediately. Miss Emma Peterson, A.K.A. 'Shadow' had tagged along with Charles and his friends when they'd been young boys. She's all grown up and has become quite beautiful. An instant engagment would let Charles off the hook for the house party, and would let him get back to London, leaving his nieces in Emma's care. Of course, since Emma is all grown up, he'll head back to the ancestral home from time to time to create the heir he needs.
Emma might be in love with Charles, but she isn't willing to accept a proposal that leaves the nieces with an absentee father-figure--and Charles doesn't say anything about loving her. Perhaps throwing a china dog at him was a bit of an over-reaction, however. Still, Charles insists on including Emma in the house party--where he intends to pursue his suit.
In a sub-plot, something, perhaps ghosts, appears to be haunting the ancestral home and a strange man is lurking around the party, obviously looking for something.
Author Sally MacKenzie (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by MacKenzie) continues the series she began with THE NAKED DUKE (see our review) with Charles' story. MacKenzie's mix of humor and sensuality, with just a hint of suspense, definitely works in this novel. THE NAKED MARQUIS is a lot of fun. I'm happy to recommend it.
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