Young Olivia Newbury and Sterling Harrington, the Earl of Wyldewood, were once in love and
planned to wed—that is until Olivia’s father forced her to marry the cruel Viscount
Rathbourne, a man who made Olivia a prisoner in her own home. When Rathbourne, an avid collector
of antiquities, is murdered ten years later, Olivia discovers that he means to control her life
even after his death, for his will stipulates she cannot gain her inheritance until she obtains
three antiquities to complete his private collections.
Sterling, now a widower, is approached by Olivia’s father, who admits he forced Olivia into
marriage. He fears that whoever murdered Lord Rathbourne may also kill his daughter, and asks
Sterling to protect Olivia. Sterling has mixed reactions to the request; he never read the three
letters Olivia sent him years before begging him for help, but once he does, he realizes he failed
her miserably. Now he has no intention of repeating those actions, for he realizes he never stopped
Olivia is no longer interested in marriage, but freedom. To gain her independence, she must
rely on Sterling’s help to find the antiquities, the first of which is a canopic jar located in
Egypt, then on to Italy. Sterling’s constant presence, however, allows her to complete one of
items on her "to do" list: to share his bed. Not an easy thing to do when the couple is accompanied
by Sterling’s mother and a young solicitor. The journey leading up to and following that endeavor
is an escapade to savor, an erotic adventure in itself.
Desires of a Perfect Lady is an engrossing tale of lovers reunited, complete with a
thrilling treasure-hunt plot, intriguing subplots and wonderful secondary characters. I enjoyed
Sterling’s change from a reserved Earl to a relaxed person who more resembled the young man with
whom Olivia first fell in love. Olivia is a strong, brave and believable woman who suffered, yet
still has room in her heart to love. Victoria Alexander is a powerful romance writer, one who will
always be on my favorite author list.