cover image Dangerous to Kiss

Dangerous to Kiss

Elizabeth Thornton. Bantam, $6.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-553-57372-5

Fast-paced and full of surprises, Thornton's (Dangerous to Love) latest novel is an exciting story of romance, mystery, and adventure set in England during the Napoleonic Wars. In the prologue, Deborah Weyman and Quentin, the eight-year-old boy in her charge, witness the murder of the boy's father, Gilbert Barrington. Deborah, who does not see the murderer clearly, hears Barrington address his killer as ``Lord Kendal'' and is horrified to find that she and Kendal have been named as Quentin's guardians. Fearing that Kendal will kill Quentin to silence him, she takes the boy, assumes a false identity and goes into hiding. Kendal, upon learning that Deborah has abducted Quentin, assumes that she had something to do with Barrington's death and with the espionage Barrington had been about to uncover. He sets out to apprehend her and, when he does, she proves to be a worthy opponent. Their battle of wills is skillfully woven into a complex plot that exuberantly carries the reader through abductions, unmaskings, blackmail and murder. Thornton's firm control of her plot, her graceful prose and her witty dialogue make Dangerous to Kiss a pleasure to read. (Apr.)