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No Marriage of Convenience

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Three moon gifAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-81534-6
Sexy Riley Fontaine doesn't seek a marriage of convenience. She wants cold, hard cash to keep her theater company afloat. Mason St. Clair, the new Earl of Ashlin and former Oxford don, desperately needs a rich wife. Riley and Ashlin battle wits and fight a growing desire that threatens to upstage both their plans.

Book: Elizabeth Boyle, No Marriage of ConvenienceIn No Marriage of Convenience, Elizabeth Boyle cracks the romantic hero mold by creating an unexpectedly impoverished leading man. From his profligate, newly deceased brother Frederick, Ashlin inherits a title, a shipload of debt and three unruly nieces to marry off.

Shortly afterwards, Riley Fontaine, London's most notorious actress, walks into Ashlin's drawing room and plays the scene of her life. A legion of creditors banged on Ashlin's door since his brother's death, but none quite so stunning as Riley Fontaine. Only Riley didn't come to demand money, she came to plead for an extension on a loan. Frederick lent Riley a substantial sum to finance her new play at the Queen's Gate Theatre. Unfortunately, if Ashlin demands immediate payment for the loan, Queen's Gate will close, leaving Riley with no means to repay the debt.

Book: Elizabeth Boyle, Brazen TemptressAshlin will give Riley a grace period, if she grooms Frederick's three daughters for the marriage mart. The girls form Ashlin's greatest liability. What kind of a man wants a lifetime partner who's ungainly, outspoken and downright rude? As Ashlin says, "There isn't enough gold in all of England to entice a man to marry one of these girls." Can Riley turn these loutish chits into charming Originals who will be snapped off the marriage mart?

The aristocratic St. Clair line overflows with rakes, reprobates and wanton flatterers. Ashlin males patronize the arts -- well, they patronize the actresses, opera singers and ballet dancers who adorn the more entertaining arts. The new earl rejected this heritage and chose the celibate life of an Oxford don. He assumes Riley was just another of Frederick's concubines. With the figure of a Venus and the grace of a Diana, Riley boasts the nickname "Aphrodite's Envy." The stories told about her sizzle hotter than the latest on-dits from the ton. Or are these tales just stage hype?

Riley upends Ashlin's quiet, scholarly life. She distracts him, bothers him and entertains him. Suddenly the marriage of convenience he seeks with a wealthy merchant's daughter seems damnably inconvenient.

Elizabeth Boyle romps through 18th century London with a charming tale about a seductive actress and a scholarly rake. Her amusing characters and delightfully whimsical ending will leave you highly satisfied.

Doris Valliant

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