MY SCANDALOUS BRIDE

Celeste Bradley, Author, Christina Dodd, Author, Stephanie Laurens, Author . St. Martin's $6.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-99522-5

As romance fans would expect from the star-studded lineup in this collection, each Regency-era novella features a high level of sensuality, but the short format of these pieces allows little room for romantic development. In the contributions from Dodd ("The Lady and the Tiger") and LaFoy ("The Proposition"), the heroines fall too quickly into bed with their respective heroes. Although the characters are likable enough, the stories lack the strong emotional core found in the authors' longer works. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had here. In Laurens's "Melting Ice," for example, the heroine finds herself in the awkward position of having unknowingly invited herself to an orgy, and in Bradley's "Wedding Knight," a bride becomes enmeshed in a mistaken-identity fiasco complete with blackmail and throwing knives. While this collection doesn't approach the heights any of these authors have achieved individually, it's consistent in tone and quality. Ardent fans of Dodd and Laurens, however, will be disappointed to note that these two authors' entries have been previously published. (May)

Forecast: Although this collection will grace bestseller lists, it isn't likely to have the same staying power as Laurens's and Dodd's full-length novels.

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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