Where the Heart Leads, by Stephanie Laurens

Penelope raised her eyes and locked them on Barnaby Adair’s face. And tried her damndest not to see. When she’d determined to call on him, she hadn’t imagined he – his appearance – would have the slightest effect on her. Why would she? No man had ever made her feel breathless, so why should he? It was distinctly annoying.

Penelope Ashforth is not a typical ton miss. Although she lives a life of privilege, she is determined to work hard and to make a difference for those less fortunate than herself. She runs an institution which looks after orphans, preparing them for successful lives. She has no time for men, and certainly no intention of every marrying. But when five of her intended charges mysteriously disappear, she has to turn to a man – Barnaby Adair.

Adair is a man of the ton, and similarly determined to make a difference. His contribution is to solve crimes as an investigator. He, too, is not keen on the idea of marriage – though he is not without an interest in women. When the pair meet, neither expects their mutual desire to find the missing boys will be matched by another mutual desire – one which consumes their every waking moment.

Where the Heart Leads is a sensuous regency romance novel. Against the backdrop of the mystery of the disappearing boys, and a murder, the complicated relationship between the two main characters develops, with passionate scenes aplenty. For fans of author Stephanie Laurens there are some familiar names and characters, with Adair having featured in Laurens’ earlier books about the Cynster clan, and Penelope the younger sister of Portia Cynster. But those who have not read the earlier books will not be at a loss – this is a stand alone title and also marks the first in a new series, From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair.

Where the Heart Leads: From the Casebook of Barnaby Adair

Where the Heart Leads, by Stephanie Laurens
Avon Books, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Edge of Desire, by Stephanie Laurens

Watching him stroll, ineffably graceful, across the room toward her – allowing herself to – had been a mistake. All that harnessed power condensed into one male – a male no one with functioning eyes would rate as anything less than dangerous – was a phenomenon guaranteed to distract any living, breathing woman. Her most of all. Yet today she needed to reach past the glamour and deal with the man.

Twelve years ago Christian Allardyce, Marquess of Dearne, went away to war, leaving behind the woman he loved, who promised to wait. Now he is back in London, but his love – Lady Letitia Randall – is married to another man, and they no longer speak. Until the day Letitia comes to him for help. Her husband has been murdered and her brother stands accused of the crime. Letitia needs Christian’s help to prove Justin’s innocence and to find the true murderer.

Whilst Christian fights the desire for revenge against the woman who scorned him, Letitia fights her own battle. She believes Christian abandoned her, and has turned to him now only in desperation. But as they work together to solve the crime and prove Justin’s innocence, their relationship is rekindled. Can they manage to overcome their past?

The Edge of Desire is a regency romance with a strong element of mystery. Whilst the relationship between the two protagonists is central, the mystery is also important, with many twists and turns, and there is also a strong cast of supporting characters for readers to engage with. An absorbing read.

Author Stephanie Laurens, who hails from Melbourne, has written numerous Regency Numerous and the last twenty two have been bestsellers in the USA.

The Edge of Desire

The Edge of Desire, by Stephanie Laurens
Avon Books, 2008

This book can be purchased from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.