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Love in a Bottle

 
Scoundrel: The Blades of the Rose
by Zoe Archer
(Zebra Books, $6.99, R) ISBN 1-4201-0680-0
*****
Have you ever received a box of chocolates so good that you savored them, eating a little at a time, thus prolonging the tasty experience? If Zoe Archer's latest book Scoundrel: The Blades of the Rose was a dessert, it would be a box of really yummy, high quality assorted chocolates. You get a little of everything.

Scoundrel is the second book in the Blades of the Rose series. It follows 'Blade' Bennet Day in his quest to protect an item (the mystical 'Greek Fire') of magical importance from a group of English supremacists called the 'Heirs.' While in Athens, Day comes across a beautiful and intelligent linguist named London. He is instantly intrigued and, like any good scoundrel, hopes to bed her. His plans for him and London take a steep downturn when he discovers that:

A) Her father is an upper member of the 'Heirs.'
B) She's in Athens to translate an ancient tablet which could lead the Heirs to a 'Source.'
C) She's a widow because Day shot and killed her husband.

Talk about awkward. Now, Day has to try to keep London from helping the Heirs, keep his personal feelings in check and try to find the Source.

Day ends up kidnapping London from a steamship headed to the island where the ancient tablet is located. Day, along with his friend and co-Blade, Athena and the ship's captain, Kallas, explain to London that her father and all of his associates are out for world domination and will kill whoever gets in their way.

London's life gets a wee bit complicated once she reaches Athens. She finds herself falling for a dashing man she meets in the market place, who then kidnaps her and tells her that her father is more or less evil. London, a woman who has longed for adventure and to not be treated like a porcelain doll as her highly sexist father does, now faces a decision. Stay with the familiarity of her father and ignore that he is out for world domination, or go with Day, the man who killed her husband, into a life of uncertainty.

London chooses good over evil, which means having to leave her father behind. Now it's a race to see who will survive and who will get to the Source first.

Loaded with magic and fun, Scoundrel makes for a very entertaining read. Zoe Archer's talent with dialogue shines through. The witty banter helps keep the reader engaged in the down time in between major events in Scoundrel. Archer has fun with language, coining new terms like "nymphocide" which add humor and charm to the story line.

The characters are well crafted and vivid. The colorful cast of supporting characters add depth to the story and while you are cheering on the main characters, you never forget about the supporting characters; more specifically Athena and Kallas, whose obvious sexual tension is a delight to watch unfold.

London and Day's romance has its share of hurdles and problems, but the chemistry between the two of them is explosive and passionate. Watching London get over her anger towards Day killing her husband, and moving past the controlled woman she had been, and into a free and adventurous woman she always wanted to be is empowering. London learns, for the first time, what living is truly about.

The sex scenes are well written, steamy and plentiful. London's sexual re-awakening, as well as Day's high-powered lust for London is intoxicating. There is sex, and plenty of it, but not enough to derail the plot line.

Set against the backdrop of the Greek isles and the crystal blue ocean gives the entire story an exotic feel. Scoundrel takes you all over the remnants of ancient Greece. History is woven with myth and magic, making the overall story highly entertaining.

So, if you're looking for a fat-free treat this fall, look no further than Scoundrel. You won't be disappointed.

--Lindsey Seddon


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