Review of WHAT A WOMAN NEEDS by Caroline Linden (see her website)
Zebra Books, August 2005
Stuart Drake needs an heiress. Decades from securing his title and ancestral properties, Stuart has bought a nice little estate--but now his father has cut off his income and Stuart stands to lose everything--unless he can find an heiress and marry her. Fortunately, there are plenty of heiresses around and Susan Tratter seems like an ideal candidate. Admittedly he doesn't love her, but she seems infatuated with him and she's pleasant enough, and rich. That is a better basis than most marriages. There's only the simple matter of persuading Susan's aunt.
Charlotte Griffolino, Susan's young aunt, knows fortune-seekers too well. She recognizes Stuart's game immediately and will do whatever it takes to protect her niece. What it takes starts with ruining his reputation by repeating London gossip and, when Stuart breaks into her home in an attempt to recover his engagement ring, Charlotte repeats the favor. From there, things get sexy in a hurry. But there's something else going on--someone has tracked Charlotte to England, is rifling through her things, and absconds with Susan. Now Charlotte has no one to turn to except Stuart--the man she did everything to destroy.
Author Caroline Linden starts sexy, with a bondage scene, but really hits her stride when the intrigue portion of the book kicks in. The with Charlotte and Stuart working together to solve the mystery of Susan's disappearance really work, as does Charlotte's decision to risk her reputation and have an affair with Stuart. Stuart makes a great tortured hero and Caroline is a woman with a very definite past. Fans of Amanda Quick (see BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Quick) will definitely want to get their hands on this sexy regency-era historical/adventure.
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