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Charlotte Arkendale knew all there was to know about men. After all, she'd made a career out of steering marriage-minded women away from untrustworthy members of the opposite sex.Yet nothing could have prepared her for Baxter St. Ives - an arresting stranger too daring, too determined, too dangerous to be her new man-of-affairs. Still, perhaps he was the perfect person to help Charlotte investigate the recent murder of one of her clients. So she gave him a chance, never realising that Baxter, a gifted scientist, would soon conduct a risky exploration into the alchemy of desire, with Charlotte as his subject. But even as he sets out to seduce Charlotte, a twisted killer lies in wait, ready to part the lovers ...or see them joined together forever - in death.
Engaging and sympathetic--although somewhat one-dimensional--heroines, and fast-paced plots propelled by a series of well-calculated revelations are the hallmarks of Quick's (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) bestselling novels. This latest suspenseful romance (after Mischief), set in Regency England, begins with an exciting prologue in which the heroine, plain but determined Charlotte Arkendale, faces down a would-be rapist with an empty pistol. When he asks her whether she "believes in destiny," it is obvious that their paths will cross again. Five years later, Charlotte, now a 25-year-old virgin with her own investigation business, engages Baxter St. Ives as her man-of-affairs. She wants him to assist her in solving the murder of one of her clients, not knowing that Baxter has insinuated himself into this position in order to seek out the killer himself. Although he appears to others as "bland as pudding," Charlotte sees "a man of strong passions" and is immensely atrracted to him. Baxter, who has concealed his background as a scientist and his identity as the bastard son of a wealthy earl, finds himself entranced by the spirited Charlotte. Meanwhile, Charlotte's sister, Ariel, makes her debut in society, where she meets Baxter's legitimate half-brother, Hamilton, fifth Earl of Esherton. They are all drawn into the search for the murderer, who instead entices them into his trap. The killer's destiny is determined by the old adage that character is fate, and by a bit of scientific sleight-of-hand. As always, Quick injects enough sexual innuendo to cause some heavy breathing and arranges for her reluctant heroine to recognize true love. FYI: The paperback edition of Mischief, published in May, will contain a chapter from Affair.