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Then Comes Marriage    by Kasey Michaels order for
Then Comes Marriage
by Kasey Michaels
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Brady James, Earl of Singleton, has always had a curious nature and finds fulfilment in solving mysteries. With his two best friends, Bramwell Seaton and Kipp Rutland, married and settled, Brady finds himself bored and at loose ends. He decides to begin digging into the curious, and as far as Brady is concerned, very questionable background of beautiful Miss Regina Bliss, one time street beggar and now ladies maid to Kipp's wife. Brady has barely begun his investigation when he's accosted by three thugs while walking home one dark night. He suffers a brutal beating, and is ignobly stuffed into a sack and tossed into the Thames. The Earl cuts his way free, barely escaping a watery grave, and with his last ounce of strength convinces Bram and Kipp to whisk him away to his country estate, then return to London and arrange his funeral. What better way to discover the identity of his would-be assassins than having the murderous cowards believe they'd succeeded in their deadly mission. Brady's only other request is that the lovely Miss Bliss attend him during his long convalescence.

Regina Bliss proves a more than competent and caring nurse and also shows she's a match for Brady in temperament and in stubbornness. She is well aware that he's been checking into her background and has no intention of making his quest easy. Suspicious in nature since the presumed cold-blooded murder of her beloved parents, and also a very seasoned liar, Regina deftly leads Brady down one false path after another. But he's determined to untangle her mysterious background and hack his way through the lies she plants with every breath, all the while denying his growing attraction to her.

This is another lively Regency romp by prolific romance author Kasey Michaels. Her flair for creating memorable characters and casting them into humorous situations is once again evident, especially in scenes where Brady (a real man's man) is preparing himself to take London by storm as the fabricated (and extremely foppish) Earl of Singleton, a distant cousin of Brady's who's been residing on the Continent his entire life. The fact that Regina is really a seasoned actress, and is continually giving him pointers on how to act the fop, only aids in his 180 degree transformation. While the plot is certainly not a new one and does get convoluted at times, it doesn't take itself too seriously either, making Then Comes Marriage a perfect light read and an enjoyable sequel to Someone To Love.

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