Wicked Angel
by Julia London, historical (1999)
Dell, $5.99, ISBN 0-440-22632-5

Coo, I was rummanging through my TBR pile during one particularly dry day and I found this lying under a pile of categories. How did it get here? Hmm. I was reluctant to read it, as reading the author's debut The Devil's Love was a traumatic experience I did not want to undergo again. But since it was a dry day for bookreading, I sat down and read this anyway. And I must say I am very impressed. If Ms London keeps up her momentum, she's going straight to my Keep an eye out list.

Alexander Christian, the Duke of Sutherland is betrothed to dull, pallid, and lifeless Lady Marlaine. He meets Lauren Hill one day while hunting in the country and is smitten. They part ways, until one fine day Alex sees Lauren once again, this time in the glittering ballrooms of the Ton. Lauren is a Bavarian countess in search of a husband to ensure some prospects ffor her family. Needless to say, they can't keep their eyes and hands off each other much less their clothes on.

I salute a master in the making, I truly do. The sexual attraction between these two is simply explosive, and the final confrontation between these two, under different circumstances, would have me reverently placing this book on my keeper shelf. And I find myself very intrigued when Lady Marlaine shows some surprising cunning and a backbone of steel. This book will be a keeper if I'm not me.

I'm sorry, but I can't help it: I'm lamentably traditional when it comes to some sort of principles and I'm especially anal when it comes to honoring one's vow. This book blurs the lines between black and white wonderfully, but no, I'm sorry but the moment Alex sleeps with Lauren in a fit of hormonal combustion only to propose to Marlaine the day after (thus breaking all the promises he makes to Lauren the day before), this book is a goner. I keep reading because I'm enthralled by the storytelling, but I'm not as forgiving as Lauren or Marlaine when it comes to cowardly wishy-washiness in honoring vows and promises. And the final confrontation worthy of a true keeper only further lowers Alex's esteem in my eyes. Lauren chooses to honor her betrothal vows, and he hates her for it. Sorry, Alex, but you never rise above being a spoilt, petulant brat to me.

It's definitely prejudice and I'm definitely biased when it comes to this book. Wish I can say otherwise, but egads, Alex presses a lot of buttons, wrong ones, with his antics. Sure, he's nuts about Lauren, and one can say men are naturally dense when it comes to emotional thingies, but still...

Lauren, between us gals, here's some unsolicited advice. Every last Sunday of the month, when you're feeling too happy, think about Marlaine. Remember, you are now Marlaine, if you know what I mean. Watch Alex closely and keep him on a leash. A very short one. Just in case.

Rating: 80

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