Review of THE NAKED EARL by Sally MacKenzie (see her website)
Zebra, April 2007
Lady Elizabeth (Lizzie) Runyon has been in love with Earl Robert (Robbie) Hamilton for years--so much so that she's in her fourth season and has declined any number of marriage proposals. When Robbie has to flee naked when his bed is invaded by a naked woman, he jumps in the nearest available window--that of Lizzie. Lizzie is certain that a marriage proposal must be forthcoming--after all, Robbie certainly put her reputation at risk--but when Robbie not only fails to make the proposal but denies any intention of making one, she's forced to confront the possibility that Robbie doesn't see her the way she sees him.
Clearly her plan has to be, find a way to rivet Robbie's attentions--and flirting with other men offers an attractive means of letting Robbie know that Lizzie is not a woman to treat lightly. What Lizzie doesn't realize, though, is that Robbie is hiding a horrible secret--a secret so horrible he's willing to give up his own feelings for Lizzie and spend the rest of his life single.
No proper Regency gentleman, let alone an Earl, can be allowed to remain single and Lady Felicity, the woman who's surprised Robbie in his own bed, intends to trap him into marriage. Unless Lizzie can persuade Robbie to be honest about his feelings, he's likely to be forced into marriage with her, while Lizzie is dragooned into marriage with one of the many men who want her money if not her affection.
Author Sally MacKenzie (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by MacKenzie) continues her 'naked' series with an entertaining romp. Set largely in an English house party, a group of aristocrats scheme at seduction, marriage, and love. MacKenzie introduces interesting subplots, including one involving the party's host and one involving Lizzie's chaperone--who is in love with her own butler, but the primary story is that of Lizzie and Robbie. Robbie's problem, the result of a hazing incident, has persuaded him he's of no use to women--and everything Lizzie can do only makes him more certain he's the wrong man for her. MacKenzie manages to treat Robbie's problem with a degree of sympathy, while maintaining a light tone.
Although THE NAKED EARL is a sexy story, MacKenzie brings back the battle of wits that made so many readers love the regency novel. If you're looking for a fun and sexy romp, sit back and prepare to enjoy yourself. THE NAKED EARL is a lot of fun.
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