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This tepid follow-up to Anton's Midnight Magic picks up her 12th-century tale of three orphaned English sisters with Lady Emma de Leon, who has a peculiar gift: looking into a pool of water, she is able to see events before they happen. One such vision shows her the image of a man, all bronze skin and dimples, who will one day become her lover—but that happy knowledge doesn't curb Emma's shock when she finally meets her dream man, Darian of Bruges, a lowly Flemish mercenary who stands accused of murdering an English noble. Believing him innocent, Emma bravely and scandalously offers herself up as Darian's alibi for the night of the murder, ruining her reputation while saving Darian from the noose. Instead of granting Darian's freedom, the king orders Darian to marry Emma and forces both into exile. Though attracted to Emma, Darian secretly plots to abandon her, return to London and find the man who framed him. Emma persuades Darian to take her with him, and the two embark on a dangerous journey made even more perilous by growing desire. Restrained and conventional, this bland romance remains unredeemed by its appealing characters and playful repartee. Anton's fans will be sated, but new readers will probably seek out steamier, more enchanting fare. (Dec.)
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Lady Emma de Leon simply could not let an innocent man be executed, especially when one of Emma's visions foretold that one day he would be her lover. So, when Darian of Bruges is charged with the murder of Edward de Salis, Emma swears to King Stephen and his court that Darian could not have committed the crime, since he was with her the entire night. As the daughter of a traitor, Emma's reputation is already tattered beyond repair, but she never thought that, as the result of her announcement, King Stephen would force Darian to wed her. The last thing either Emma or Darian wants is to remain married, but the idea of an annulment becomes much less appealing the longer the two remain wed. Anton adds a generous measure of danger and intrigue--along with a sprinkling of magic--to her latest expertly crafted, utterly beguiling medieval romance, the second in her de Leon sisters trilogy. John Charles
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