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~Cat and the Countess~

by Casey Claybourne

      Heroine:   plump/voluptuous

    A desperate Elizabeth Langham is harboring a terrible secret.  She's possessed of a nervous tendency towards relieving the people around her of their personal effects. Should the ton ever find out, her chances at landing her suitor, a bland yet wealthy Marquis, will become nil.  Worse still, she and her young son will be drummed out of polite society completely.

     A trip to the stationer's to buy a pen set for her darling offspring, before he leaves home to attend a young gentleman's school in the countryside, has Elizabeth feeling particularly agitated.  On this outing she "pinches" a bit more than just a trinket, she also pats down the well-formed backside of the tall man in line before her!

      Visiting American Wildcat MacInnes realizes too late that his cherished bandolier bag has gone missing, and is certain the soft gentlewoman from the stationer's knows something about it.  But of what use would such a thing be to a genteel women like that?  The handsome Lenape warrior quickly becomes convinced that like the other aristocratic lovelies he's encountered, Elizabeth is just trying to lay the foundation for a tryst with him.

      Wildcat searches out the pale beauty, bent both on retrieving his prized possession as well as taking the lady up on her offer.  But he never expected their brief liaison to soften his stoic heart, and soon finds himself willing to do anything for Elizabeth, even if it means going to Newgate prison in her stead!

      What worked for me:

      Elizabeth's "sticky fingers" issue was very unusual and made for some creative plot twists.  The opening in particular was an excellent example of this, employing both a bit of humor and a hint of sensuality in the way Elizabeth picked Cat's pocket.

    Size-wise Elizabeth was quite plump and had no qualms about it other than the pain of trying to keep her stays laced as tightly as possible.

       What didn't work for me:

       Elizabeth was sweet, but a bit on the dependent side, which really didn't make much sense given her history.   (I also didn't particularly care for her other dangerous secret, and found it difficult to see how she managed to move about in Society, even with an Earl on her arm.)

    I couldn't quite get into Wildcat either.  His character was a bit underdeveloped and just didn't ring true to me, or at least his experiences in London didn't.  A 6'9" Lenape brave, even if he's half Scot, doesn't seem likely to be accepted by the haute ton.

       And how did Elizabeth's best friend and almost sister-in-law Valerie have the opportunity to get herself into so much trouble?  You would have thought that despite her ripe old age of twenty-two, Valerie's dragon of a mother would have been keeping her gimlet eye on her wild daughter at all times.  Or at least would have employed a duenna who would have kept her in line.  (Not that her mother came across as the loving and concerned type, but in that day and age girls were a commodity to be brokered.  You'd think her mother would have been more cautious with her financial future.)      

        Another case of tumbling into bed before a declaration of love.  (I know this happens and yes, it's titillating, but it sure would be nice if the romance came first in a romance novel.)


       A solid read for fans of sensual Regency-settings or Native American heroes.

Warning: there are some steamy scenes in this book.

 If you liked "Cat and the Countess" you might also enjoy "Only in my Dreams", "Miss Carlyle's Curricle", "Slightly Wicked", "Into Temptation", "Suddenly You", "The Accidental Bride", "The Bride and the Beast", "The Fire-Flower", "The Last Days of a Rake", "Somebody to Love", "Cat and the Countess", "The Courtship", or "Enchanting Pleasures".

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