A Knight To Remember

Once A Knight

Rules of Attraction

Rules of Engagement

Rules of Surrender

The Runaway Princess

That Scandalous Evening

Scottish Brides

Someday My Prince

A Well Favored Gentleman

A Well Pleasured Lady

 
Lost in Your Arms
by Christina Dodd
(Avon, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-380-81963-5
***
Enid MacLean was only married for three months, but that was long enough for her. Her wastrel of a husband, Stephen MacLean, abandoned her to his gambling debts and never looked back for nine years. Now forced to be a nurse to keep out of the workhouse, Enid is suddenly faced with her past.

MacLean has been gravely injured in an explosion and Enid is summoned to his side. She reluctantly returns to find the man scarred and suffering from amnesia. As she nurses him back to health, Enid finds that the scars are not the only things changed about MacLean. He has no memory of his past with her, and is anything but the feckless charmer Enid remembers.

Soon the two of them are fleeing England to escape the spies who are out to kill MacLean before he remembers whatever it was that he found out before the explosion. When they reach the MacLean castle in Scotland they are bombarded with a cast of stock secondary characters that don't do much but get in the way.

At first glance, Enid is a strong, take-no-guff heroine. However, the longer one reads, the more it becomes apparent this is just a surface treatment. Although she doesn't allow MacLean's boorishness to go without sharp commentary, she easily capitulates to his every whim, and that of almost everyone else as well. Still, surface spunk is better than none at all. I found myself liking her somewhat more than expected.

MacLean starts out arrogant and never really gets over it. At first it can be excused because he is experiencing memory loss and doesn't know who to trust. Later, as he begins to recover, he remains overbearing. He has plenty of tender words for Enid, but they are always delivered with a sense of command that spoils it. It's difficult to see how Enid views MacLean as an improvement over the old personality

Despite the weakness of the main characters, Dodd whips up wonderful sexual tension and chemistry between them. She brings it about gradually, making it more realistic, and the love scenes are sensual and engaging. It's unfortunate that they aren't more appealing otherwise.

The spy subplot drags down the story and goes on too long for comfort. Dodd succeeds, however, in keeping most of the secrets well hidden so they are not readily obvious to the reader. Nothing is worse than having a supposed surprise that a reader could smell coming since page three. Still, the conclusion is anti-climactic and the identity of the villain leaves one wondering why they didn't do the job earlier when it would have been much easier.

Characters from previous titles in Dodd's Governess Bride series make an appearance in this book, but it isn't necessary to have read them to understand this story. Lost in Your Arms is readable, but definitely not up to Dodd's usual standards.

--Anne Bulin


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