Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spotlight Review: THE UNTAMED BRIDE by Stephanie Laurens

THE UNTAMED BRIDE - Stephanie Laurens
The Black Cobra Quartet, Book 1
Avon Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-179514-5
November 2009
Regency Romance

India and England - 1822

Is there anything better than a handsome soldier-cum-spy with deep pockets and a blazing desire to bring down those who would commit evil? Well, yes. Four such men would be infinitely superior, and in this brilliant new quartet from Stephanie Laurens, we meet the men who are determined to bring down the Black Cobra, the man behind numerous atrocities in India threatening both the Indian people and the Crown’s very profitable financial interests there. The first to have his story told is Colonel Derek “Del” Delborough.

Seven long years spent serving in India should have prepared Del for anything, but when he and his comrades take on the task of defeating the Black Cobra, he never imagined getting tangled up with an opinionated, wild, and altogether too irresistible woman on the way home to England with a letter that may very well end the Black Cobra’s machinations.

Deliah Duncannon has spent much of the last decade in Jamaica where she strove to overcome her more primitive, unruly self, the one that caused her “great scandal” and forced her move far away. She believes she’s become a much more restrained lady in that time, which should please her parents immensely. But then she meets Del, the retired soldier who is supposed to accompany her home, and finds herself dragged (not altogether unwillingly) into the middle of an escapade that could change the world, or at least, her and Del’s world, forever.

It doesn’t take long for Del to realize there’s only one woman suited to becoming his UNTAMED BRIDE, but finding Deliah and having her in such danger because of him offends every protective instinct he possesses. If only he could hide her away somewhere, but Deliah is nothing if not just as determined, intelligent and passionate as he is, and she’ll have none of it. A situation the reader can only be grateful for because if they’d separated, how would they discover a love that seems destined to burn forever and will help to bring down the evil Black Cobra?

Captain Rafe Carstairs, Major Logan Monteith and Major Gareth Hamilton (whose story, THE ELUSIVE BRIDE, arrives in February 2010) are Del’s fellow soldiers and friends, each of whom we meet briefly in the beginning of the book. Along with them, other important secondary characters hail from The Cynsters and The Bastion Club tales. And then, of course, we have some not so admirable citizens, namely Roderick Ferrar, the English gentleman believed to be the Black Cobra; his compatriots, Alex and Daniel; and his aide, Larkins. If indeed Roderick is the man Del and his fellows are out to capture, he’ll be a tremendous foe given that he is the second (and favorite) son of a very powerful man to whom the king himself owes favors, and of course, would have the aid of cultists who have no fear of dying.

As a reader who loves to entertain visions of favorite characters and what their future might look like when the “happily ever after” begins, I have a definite fondness for Stephanie Laurens and the way she ties all of her books together by having them inhabit the same world. Past heroes and heroines have a habit of turning up or just being mentioned briefly throughout her various series. One of the nice things in this book (besides the obvious, the adventure filled romance) is the compendium included in the back outlining the various family trees and books found in her Regency series and some answers to common questions readers may have.

If you like strong, honorable men, daring action, and spirited, clever women who know what they want and go after it, you’re sure to enjoy Del and Deliah’s tale as well as the ones that follow. So what are you waiting for? Stop by your favorite brick and mortar or online store and get your copy of THE UNTAMED BRIDE today.

Lori Ann

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