LOVER BE MINE - Nicole Jordan
Legendary Lovers
, Book 2
Ballantine Books
ISBN-13:  978-0-345-52529-1
June 2013
Historical Romance

London, England – 1816

Lord Jack Wilde is a member of “that Wilde” family, notorious and considered a rake, gambler, and racer of horses, generally not prime marriage material.  But his adopted sister Katharine and youngest cousin Sky have a campaign to marry him off, after they succeeded in marrying off his brother Ashton a week ago.  Kate now thinks the family can find true love by imitating legendary lovers.  Ashton fell in love with his “ Cinderella, ” and now Kate thinks Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, applies to Jack and Miss Sophie Fortin.  Jack has gone to a masquerade party in Miss Fortin's aunt's garden to at look at Sophie and tell his sister and cousin they were wrong, but against all rules he finds she has great allure.  She has an enchanting smile, feminine grace, a beautiful body, and surely inspires lust all through his body. But the women say he must immediately start his courting of Sophie because the Duke of Dunmore is reputed to be asking for her hand in marriage before too long.  The Duke of Dunmore is twice her age and widowed, and despite himself, Jack hates the thought of such an appealing young woman being bullied into marriage just to save the finances of her parents.  But the main hindrance to any relationship between them is the old feud between the families; Jack's great-uncle killed her great-grandfather in a duel over a woman, and then her great-uncle fled to America with the woman.  This feud led to Sophie's father's side of the family losing their estates, and just when they might have regained them, her brother Theo died at a young age.  Jack's life hasn't been any better; his mother had him out of wedlock in Paris, and during the unrest was abandoned by her lover.  After being recognized as an aristocrat in the street, she was killed by the mob in a riot, leaving Jack to be caught and kept in a back room to be sold to the highest bidder.  It was only his uncles who came to Paris to find him that saved him from a life of servitude or worse.

Sophie sees the handsome man watching her at the masquerade and asks the pirate why he is staring at her.  When she finds out he is Lord Jack Wilde, she knows all about his reputation, along with the fact her father hates his entire family because of their feud.  Jack boldly tells her why he is at the masquerade, and Sophie thinks it is highly creative of his relatives, but marrying the Duke is the answer to her parents' situation, and getting to know Jack with his wild reputation is something she dare not contemplate.  When Jack steals a kiss, Sophie's body betrays her as it melts with the sensations he evokes.  She has accepted whom she must marry, and doesn't see any way to avoid the Duke's proposal, especially since her aunt is having a house party next week where it is hoped he will make his proposal.

Despite Jack's not trusting in his cousins' matchmaking, he is determined to either marry Sophie for love or to avert her from a sad marriage to the Duke.  They go from a house party, to London, Paris, and on in Jack's quest to figure out whether he loves her enough to consider marriage; that is a large step he is very careful thinking about.  Jack knows that he is the heir to the ruler of Navartania, and his hated father has begged him to reconcile and accept a princedom.  His suit might be better considered by Sophie's parents as his father's heir, but can he do such a thing?

Nicole Jordan is continuing her highly entertaining series with Lord Jack Wilde and Sophie Fortin, both living with the results of a feud from years ago.  Jack lives with the death of his mother and the fact his father didn't protect him after it happened.  Sophie wants to marry to ease the load on her parents, who live off her Aunt, Mrs. Pennant, and rely on her for their future happiness.  But with Jack determined to find out if Sophie is his true mate, he is leaving no stone unturned in getting to know her better and deciding if she is his fate.

Secondary characters are Jack's relatives who have supported him since he came to them as a small child.  Mrs. Pennant would prefer Jack to the Duke, and Sophie's parents' hopes ride on the Duke of Dunmore; then, more importantly, Prince Raoul, Jack's father and the ruler of Navartania, who wants Jack to be considered his heir.

LOVER BE MINE continues the Legendary Lovers series, and perplexes me how the two women can predict what kind of legendary lover each person is drawn to.  A fresh and original story, LOVER BE MINE follows PRINCESS CHARMING, and there are several cousins left still to be matched to their fate.  You will enjoy LOVER BE MINE this month for a distinctively individual story that will pique your interest.

Carolyn Crisher