Royce Varisey, a master spy called Dalziel, returns to Wolverstone Castle after his fatherís
death to become the tenth Duke of Wolverstone. When his relatives arrive to attend his fatherís
funeral, Royce learns he must marry to protect his estate from being confiscated by the crown.
Stubborn and quick to anger, Royce has no desire to marry any of the females recommended by his
relatives.† His desire rests on the family chatelaine, Minerva Chesterton, who has grown into an
intelligent and beautiful woman.
Minerva was infatuated with Royce when she was a young girl, and his arrival after a sixteen
year absence results in an immediate sexual attraction. But Minerva knows that the Varisey men
never marry for love. Although she avoids Royce as much as possible, her knowledge of estate
matters requires they be in constant contact.
Itís soon clear to Royce that Minerva is reliable, trustworthy and a fountain of information
upon whose opinions he can rely. †He feels that Minerva would make the perfect wife and, when
he discovers a sexual mutual attraction, he sets out to seduce her. Itís his intention to
entice her into his bed and make her agree to become his wife. But after he succeeds, he makes
the mistake of mentioning that she was a virgin.† Minerva immediately refuses to let him do
the honorable thing by proposing marriage.
I absolutely loved the exquisite sensual love scenes in Mastered by Love and Ms.
Laurensí expert handling of the emotional conflicts of the main characters was deftly handled.
Minervaís promise to Royceís mother and father to insure that Royce is "properly established"
as a duke and to see him wed means she must eventually leave the only home she knows. Royce
suffers conflict over the years of separation from his father but, more importantly, he must
find a means to win Minervaís heart. My only complaint is that the mystery plot is weak.
Unfortunately, the villain is revealed early in the book and is far from the strong character I
expected, but that fact didnít detract from the love story itself.† While Mastered by Love
is the first book Iíve read by Stephanie Laurens, her sensual style of writing insures it
will not be my last.