“Not Quite a Courtesan”
By Maggie Robinson
Lords of Passion (Anthology)
Publisher: Kensington Brava
Release Date: November 30, 2010

World traveler and treasure hunter, Darius Shaw returns home to England with one last collection of sensual artifacts that, hopefully, will garner enough money to forever close the doors of Shaw Antiquities, the company he inherited from his father, allowing Darius to leave the family business behind and settle down in the country, as his heart desires. But, upon his arrival, he’s met with the news that his scapegrace younger brother, Cyrus has eloped with an eighteen-year-old heiress, his uncle Algernon has died, leaving the two brothers his love nest on Courtesan Court, complete with aging mistress, and neither his new sister-in-law nor her guardian “dragon” of a cousin are thrilled with the news. Long used to rescuing his brother from his many escapades, Darius heads to Courtesan Court to pay off his uncle’s mistress and save his brother’s new marriage.

Prudence Thorne has been responsible for her younger cousin since she was born and she’s not about to turn her back on that responsibility just because some handsome man managed to sweet-talk Sophy into marriage while Pru was tending her dying mother. Pru knows all about men who stray. After all, her late husband was killed trying to escape his lover’s bed just weeks after marrying Pru. After paying off the woman she thinks is her new brother-in-law’s mistress, Pru waits at the Courtesan Court home for Cyrus, to give him a piece of her mind and send him back to his young wife. But the man who arrives is not young Cyrus and this man is more handsome, more appealing and more dangerous to Pru’s well-ordered life than she could ever have imagined.

Like the unique artifacts for which Darius searches the world, Robinson’s “Not Quite a Courtesan” is a treasure. Well written, this story flows smoothly, with humor and a satisfying depth of emotion. Intelligent, practical, take-charge Pru is the perfect foil for Darius’s sensual, teasing nature and the banter between them is an absolute delight. From beginning to end, their journey is romantic, sensual, and thoroughly enjoyable. I admit, I hated to say goodbye.