cover image Mystique


Amanda Quick. Bantam Books, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09698-9

Strong, independent women are bestselling author Quick's (Mistress) forte, and her newest heroine, Lady Alice, is no exception. A medieval lass of a practical cast, she's lively, determined and sharp-tongued--and she's a whiz of an herbalist, too. At 23, she fears no man, not even Hugh the Relentless, the warrior-knight with whom she initially grapples, and eventually gropes, in order to safeguard a better future for herself and her handicapped, 16-year-old brother. Alice and Hugh strike a bargain and become business partners: she will find the last stolen, mystical Stone of Scarcliffe (which Hugh needs to establish his control over his newly acquired lands); and Hugh will pay for her brother's education on the continent and provide Alice with a dowry. Intrigued by the bold Alice, the knight agrees to her outrageous proposal. However, he makes one of his own: he will support her brother, but, in return, she must become his wife. They set off to find the mystical stone (the key to a hidden treasure), only to find more than they bargained for--a curse, a murder, a villain from the past and, of course, that they are in love. Fast-paced and entertaining, this romance, like Alice, accomplishes everything it sets out to do. (July)