Waking Up with a Rake

Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-7240-0

Mason and Marlowe’s dual effort is the first book in their Royal Rakes regency series. With the “Hymen Race Terrific” underway in 1818 England, the Prince Regent’s three unmarried brothers are anxious to find virgin brides so that either they or their offspring can inherit the throne. In exchange for being exonerated of losing a battle to the French, Lord Rhys Warrington must seduce and deflower the heiress Olivia Symon before the duke of Clarence, one of the three potential heirs, can win her. He manages to gain Olivia’s trust, but soon feels torn between his mission and his growing love for the intelligent, unpretentious beauty. Rhys becomes her protector after discovering that she is targeted for murder. Romance veteran Mason and newcomer Marlowe serve up spicy love scenes as the backdrop to an alluring read complete with an outspoken female protagonist and a hint of mystery. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Jan.)