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Crescent Blues Book ViewsDell (Paperback), ISBN 0-440-23640-
In the service of King Richard of England, the bold knight Bayard de Villone sets off for northern France to claim his family's holding for the English throne. With no desire to lay siege upon his relatives, Bayard hopes to convince his Uncle Rowan (featured in Delacroix's The Heiress) to surrender the keep.

Book: Claire Delacroix, the TemptressWhen bitter and angry relatives meet him at the gates, Bayard seeks out his grandmother and requests the legacy his father Burke (of Delacroix's The Damsel) once spurned. Margaux agrees to transfer Montvieux to Bayard, contingent upon proof of his loyalty. The proof consists of besting Bayard's cousins and winning the hand of Esmeraude of Ceinn-beithe in a bridequest. A self-confident Bayard agrees and heads for Scotland. But not even battle has prepared this brave knight for what he will encounter in the beautiful, but bewildering, Esmeraude.

  Esmeraude's smile broadened even as her maid's disappeared. "I shall find the man I shall wed. Twould be only fitting, particularly as you suggest my expectations are too high."
  The maid propped her hands on her hips, her laughter well and gone. "Fitting in whose terms? 'Tis fitting for a man to seek a bride, as the men summoned by your parents will seek you out, not back ways 'round! No bride seeks her spouse and no man of honor finds such boldness fitting at all."

Determined that she will marry for love and not be the object prize of a bridequest initiated by her parents (Eglantine and Duncan from Delacroix's The Countess), Esmeraude takes the matter of her marriage into her own hands. As a result, she will soon become Bayard's most formidable foe.

Book: Claire Delacroix, the beautyIn her most tantalizing bridequest yet, Claire Delacroix offers a sumptuously savory, although unorthodox romance. Despite crafting a feisty heroine who quickly gives herself to the hero, Delacroix packs each page of this novel with promise and passion.

Our heroine, Esmeraude, proves delightfully impetuous yet determined. While Bayard falls short in his faith of love, his charm and loyalty more than compensate. Together, this heartstrong woman and headstrong man create an explosive match -- what a thrill to watch their fires burn!

I began Delacroix's Bridequest series with the first volume, which proved mildly disappointing. However, I liked the second book even more, and found each subsequent book evolved into better plots and more vibrant characters. The third volume fast became a favorite. And now, these heroines and heroes reunite to play roles in The Temptress, where Delacroix weaves them into the book's compelling plot like fine threads. In addition, delightful settings, Delacroix's wonderful storytelling and pure passion foster a pleasurable reading experience.

Whether you already qualify as a Bridequest fan or just began your quest, The Temptress proves to be a sweet victory.

Lynne Remick

Click here to read Kassie Walters' review of The Temptress.

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