cover image The Virgin's Secret

The Virgin's Secret

Victoria Alexander, . . Avon, $7.99 (374pp) ISBN 978-0-06-144947-5

Launching a series of adventure-flavored historical romances, Alexander (Seduction of a Proper Gentleman ) describes Victorian-era amateur archeology as a cutthroat business. Gabriella Montini, mourning her slain brother, is determined to continue his quest for a priceless ancient seal that could help locate the lost city of Ambropia. When Gabriella breaks into the home of a man she suspects of hiding the seal, his brother, handsome adventurer Nathaniel Harrington, catches her and insists on joining her mission. Episodes of skulking and confrontation ensue through the ballrooms, mansions and bedrooms of London. Gabriella is a likable heroine with a few secrets of her own, and Nathaniel proves easy to love. A pleasant subplot describes Gabriella's reunion with her late mother's family. Two additional seals and Nathaniel's two brothers will presumably require two sequels. (May)