This lively Restoration romance is the third in Royal's Chase family Jewel Trilogy (after Emerald). Lady Kendra Chase is long overdue to be married, according to her protective older brothers, but she'll have none of the many titled lords who have asked for her hand. When Kendra is found unchaperoned with the Black Highwayman, Patrick Caldwell, aka Trick, her brothers seize the opportunity. Kendra can't deny the immediate passion she feels for Trick, but she's perplexed as to why her brothers are so willing to wed her to a coach-robber. Before long, Kendra discovers that Trick is not all that he seems—he's actually the Duke of Amberley. So why is he holding up Puritans at gunpoint? The answer to this question is tangled up in the mystery of Trick's own childhood, a mystery solved when he visits his estranged, ailing mother in Scotland. This energetic tale is filled with likeable characters, particularly Kendra, who takes the refreshing step of talking to her husband about his confusing behavior rather than generating conflict by jumping to conclusions. Trick is a bit on the broody side, but his interactions with his family are drawn with charm and warmth. Although Royal is a new romance author, this winning debut will earn her critical kudos. (July 10)
Forecast:Royal is an impressive new talent, and it's no surprise that she has already signed a deal to write three more books featuring the Chase family. This novel should sell well—boosted by the March release of In Praise of Younger Men, a story collection that features Royal along with Jo Beverley, Jaclyn Reding and Cathy Maxwell.
Release date: 07/01/2001