In 1820s England, 28-year-old Lydia Grenville is a few inches under six feet tall and mind-numbingly beautiful. Clever as well as gorgeous, she is the author of a London newspaper's most popular adventure serial and has also penned scathing articles about the prostitution trade in the city. Her less-than-ladylike occupation, checkered past, and questionable lineage make it highly unlikely that she will ever marry a member of the Regency ton
. However, in keeping with a long legacy of hell-raising ancestors, Vere Mallory, the notorious Duke of Ainswood, has a reputation for flaunting society's dictates. Besides, one look at Lydia and he loses his heart, although at the time, it doesn't occur to him that love is what he feels. He terms it lust and sets out to bed the beautiful Lydia.
What follows is an endearing, hilarious contest of wills between a woman determined to hold her heart and body safe, and a man just as determined to conquer her. In a final, winner-takes-all contest, Lydia and Vere come to terms, but neither is sure just who won and just who lost the wager. Is it possible they may both come out winners? Meanwhile, Lydia's very public crusade against the worst offenders in the city's illegal prostitution business has earned her dangerous enemies. Just when it seems that Vere and Lydia may resolve their personal contest of wills, the dark forces at work in the seamier side of London threaten not only Lydia, but also Vere's beloved nieces.
The Last Hellion has a cast of well-drawn characters who play out their scenes against a backdrop of Regency England that's both lushly rich in descriptions of the wealthy and darkly gritty when traveling the back streets where poverty rules.
From Library Journal
When Vere Mallory, the seventh Duke of Ainswood and the last of the infamous "Mallory Hellions," ends up in the mud after being properly slugged by an outspoken, crusading journalist of Amazonian proportions, he decides to teach her a lesson?and ends up learning a few things himself. Well-matched, appealing protagonists, a lively, witty writing style, and excellent dialog complement this compelling story that addresses some of the more relevant social issues of the Regency era. Chase has won two Rita Awards, including one for Lord of Scoundrels (Avon, 1995), the prequel to The Last Hellion, and lives in Massachusetts.
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