Fascinated

Bertrice Small, Author, Susan Johnson, Author, Thea Devine, Author
Bertrice Small, Author, Susan Johnson, Author, Thea Devine, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $14 (384p) ISBN 978-1-57566-606-8
Paperback - 378 pages - 978-0-7582-4628-8
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Whether the four novellas gathered here strike readers as erotic or pornographic, they certainly push the envelope of the historical romance genre. Set in 1750, Small's ""Mastering Lady Lucinda"" finds the young, widowed Lady Lucinda Harrington publicly humiliating three suitors. Incensed, they conspire to have her kidnapped and trained to enjoy the pleasures of matrimony. Lucinda, however, is a woman ahead of her time, and has a trick or two up her sleeve. ""Risking It All,"" Johnson's contribution, also features a young widow. She is Felicia Greenwood, who gambles in Monte Carlo to save her villa. Just as she is about to lose her fortune, a handsome stranger offers assistance. Victorian-era principles notwithstanding, Felicia repays her mysterious benefactor by spending some wanton hours with him. Set in 1812, Devine's ""The Pleasure Game"" finds the virginal Lady Regina Olney conspiring against her protective, scheming father by learning the ways of the world from the proverbial boy next door. Finally, there's Schone's outr ""A Man and a Woman."" Its protagonist is a 48-year-old vicar's widow named Megan, who trades places with a local prostitute to experience a night of sexual abandon with a man dressed as an Arab, who's probably the first 53-year-old eunuch to be a romantic hero. Readers will find here every euphemism imaginable for men's and women's private parts, as well as explicit biological terms, and should be prepared for raunchy antics throughout. This book's predecessor, Captivated (1999), hit several bestseller lists; Fascinated should do the same. (Oct.)
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