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It Happened One Night    by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh & et al order for
It Happened One Night
by Stephanie Laurens
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

It Happened One Night came about after a brainstorm by Mary Balogh. When she mentioned it to Candice Hern and Jacquie D'Alessandro, they were enthusiastic. They thought it needed a fourth author and asked Stephanie Laurens to be involved as well. It started out as an experiment to see if you could write different stories with the same basic plotline - a man and a woman, who have not seen or heard from each other in ten years, find themselves at the same inn for a twenty four hour period.

In The Fall of Rogue Gerrard by Stephanie Laurens, Robert Gerrard stops at an inn one rainy night to discover his old flame Lydia Makepeace. After he kissed her ten years before when she was sixteen, he knew he was in love. The fear that he felt made him run as far as he could from her. Now she is trying to get back a letter that her sister wrote, and he is determined to help her. He knows he is still in love with her and realizes that she still has feelings for him.

In Spellbound by Mary Balogh, Nora Ryder is leaving behind her job as a companion. When she comes upon the stagecoach that will take her away, she discovers that it has been in an accident with a gentleman's vehicle, leaving her stranded until both are fixed. She heads toward the inn only to discover that all the rooms are taken. When the gentlemen tells the innkeepers that she is with him, she is shocked to see Richard Kemp. She had married him ten years before but he left her after her father forbade her to see him again. The more time they spend together the more they realize they are still in love; can they get over the past and start a new life together?

In Jacquie D'Alessandro's Only You, Cassandra Heywood stops at an inn on the way back to her childhood home after the death of her husband. Her old childhood friend, Ethan Baxter, is the proprietor and she wants to see him before she goes home. She was in love with him ten years ago and wonders why he left without saying a word to her. Ethan wants to make a life with Cassandra but her father has other plans for her. She is disturbed by this since her first husband beat her when she couldn't produce an heir. She will lose her money and title if she marries Ethan - will their love be worth it?

In From This Moment On by Candice Hern, Willie Jep is the only daughter of a blacksmith and Sam Pellow a fisherman who has supported himself since he was twelve. They were childhood friends who made love one day in the hayloft of Willie's father's barn. Sam disappeared soon afterwards and Willie's family left her to support herself. She fell into the life of a courtesan and finally married an older Duke who fell in love with her. Sam went off to war and has just returned. He has fallen in love with Willie all over again but neither thinks they are worthy of each other.

It Happened One Night is a great collection of short stories that give readers hours of entertainment. While they have the same basic plot, all four tales are varied and enjoyable.

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