By: Lisa kleypas
Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
Published by: Brilliance Audio 10/2011
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Zachary Bronson has built an empire of wealth and power, but all London knows is not a gentleman. He needs a wife to secure his position in society -- and warm his bed in private. But one alluring, unexpected kiss from Lady Holly Taylor awakens a powerful need within him beyond respectability.
An exceptional beauty whose fierce passions match Zachary's own, Holly always intended to play by society's rules, even when they clashed with her bolder instincts. But now a dashing stranger has made her a scandalous offer that does not include matrimony. Should she ignore the sensuous promise of a forbidden kiss...or risk everything to follow her heart to a place where dreams begin?
Reviewed by Lisa Kay
The 2000 paperback publication has long been one of my favorite Lisa Kleypas books and I can see the hero, Zachary Bronson, as the archetype for so many other Kleypas heroes to come: a rough, self-made man with endless determination to get what he wants, and he wants Lady Holland Taylor. (Talk about a man in pursuit!) Only here he is set in an era where dukes ruled the day and he is, alas, without anything approaching a title. But that is not deterring him. One of my favorite early scenes is between Zachary & Holly:
Needless to say, I was a tad worried about listening to it via audio, but my fears never took flight. Rosalyn Landor does a great job of bringing this book to life; her narration is spot on for Lady Holly ー and the scene-stealing little Rose, Holly’s button obsessed daughter. Ms. Landor’s voice is more than acceptable for the large, rough, masculine Bronson. Even her gasps during the love scenes are perfectly paced.“I suspect if someone were drowning in quicksand, you would extort all manner of promises before throwing him a rope.”
He shrugged philosophically. “My sweet, that's the entire point of having the rope.”
Marchesa Marianna Florenzi, by artist Heinrich Maria von Hess, 1824
While not the sexy, sumptuous red evening gown that devilish Zachary commissions to entice the widow, Lady Holly, into making her entrance out of her extended mourning, the above may be one he has designed later in winter, when he wants to keep her safe and warm. The background could depict the entrance to the garden, where the delicious epilogue takes place. (While ZB has no taste in architecture, his gardens are beautiful.) Plus, the face and expression on this model, with her secret smile, are what I envision when I think of Kleypas’ shy, patient, heroine who is the epitome of a gentle lady seduced by a dangerous rogue.