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Publisher: Avon Books / Harper Collins  
Release Date: April 2003  
ISBN: 0060567414 
Format Reviewed: Paperback  
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Genre: Regency romance/ mystery  
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Barbara Buhrer  
Reviewer Notes: steamy sexual scenes  

The Lady Chosen
By Stephanie Laurens  

     A group of ex-spies, all wealthy noblemen bachelors, return from the Napoleonic Wars to take up their respective lives in society. Here they find the sword of matrimony hanging over their heads. To escape from Society and to compare notes on potential attachments, they form the Bastion Club and rent a suitable house to use as a bolt hole.

     Tristan Demyss, Earl of Trentham, must wed within a year to inherit monies to support the inherited estate and fourteen maiden aunts. He has been admiring his next door neighbor, Leonora Carling, from his library window.

When she questions him about his occupancy of his house, she reveals that she has experienced several home invasions. They learn that the houses are connected by cellars. Tristan is intrigued by the incidents, and sets out to investigate, using this as a ploy to get to know Leonora better.

     Leonora, at 25, is not interested in marriage, but is curious about the sexual aspects of life. Therefore, she is a willing victim of Tristam's seduction. The two deal very well with each other, both in the bedchamber and in the investigations of the attempted robberies.

     The search to learn the reason for the invasion of the houses is suspenseful. There is a varied cast of characters from the charismatic Earl, the lovely Leonora, her oblivious uncle and brother immersed in their scholarly pursuits, and the various members of the spy network. The progress of the attraction between Tristam and Leonora from mere sexual attraction to love and respect is a delight to observe. The steamy sexual scenes add spice to the story.

     This is an entertaining story of high adventure with two charming characters and the first in a projected series: The Bastion Club. Hopefully the following books will be as enjoyable as this.