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Yours Until Dawn    by Teresa Medeiros order for
Yours Until Dawn
by Teresa Medeiros
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Gabriel Fairchild may have earned the title of hero while fighting against Napoleon but his head injury has cost him everything he holds dear. Unable to cope with his blindness his beloved fiancée Cecily flees the hospital in tears. Her reaction, and the constant coddling of his family, prompts Gabriel to retreat to his country mansion. Over the course of a few months he alienates not only his family and household staff with his mercurial moods, but also a series of nurses.

Enter prim and proper Samantha Wickersham, who arrives at Fairchild Park ready to take on her duties as Gabriel's nurse. The staff warn her that her fate will be the same as that of her unfortunate predecessors but Samantha stays. In due course she finds herself loudly ordered off the premises by the arrogant, unkempt and bellowing lord of the manor. Determined to stand her ground against the formidable Earl of Sheffield, Samantha refuses to be intimidated and suggests the Earl get used to her presence and get used to the idea of living his life once again.

Gabriel and his prim nurse engage in a constant battle of words and wits. He wants to be rid of 'that Wickersham woman' in the worst way, convinced that she is only there because of the embarrassment and pity his parents are suffering over his plight. But no amount of sarcasm, goading, high-handedness or even bellowing will scare Miss Wickersham away. Samantha understands why Gabriel is lashing out and from what seems like a bottomless well of patience she brings light, and love, back into his life. But when in becomes clear that Gabriel's sight is returning and that he will soon have no more need of her, Samantha slips away into the night - she knows that once Gabriel sees her for who she truly is, he will never forgive her.

The first half of Yours Until Dawn is trademark Medeiros: great characters, spicy dialogue and good pacing, nice dollops of humour and her usual flair for making the Regency era come alive. Unfortunately, a jarring and almost amateurish plot twist sends the rest of the story into a disappointing tailspin that will leave readers wanting to imagine their own ending.

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