So says John Charles in his Chicago Tribune review of my friend Mary Blayney’s double novel, Traitor’s Kiss / Lover’s Kiss.

Or for the whole sentence: “Danger, deception, and desire blend brilliantly together in these two deftly written, exceptionally entertaining Regency romances.”

I’ve been waiting for so long for these books. Mary is one of my favorite Regency authors and it has been too long since I’ve had the pleasure of reading something new from her, besides her novellas in JD Robb’s anthologies. I pre-ordered the double book and it is the only book I brought with me for my weekend away, visiting my cousin in North Carolina. My weekend has not given me much time for reading, but I’ve dipped in to Mary’s Traitor’s Kiss.

Mary writes with a quiet beauty and great confidence. I’m awe-struck sometimes. For example, already in Traitor’s Kiss I’ve been struck by her prose. Her hero has been imprisoned for a long time in a dark, dismal French cell, but is in process of being rescued. Here’s the passage that stopped me: As he put on Gabriel’s shirt he stopped and inhaled. God help him, it still smelled of the sun.

I loved that image! I totally believed it- …still smelled of the sun

Another one I liked. As the heroine is leading the hero out of the prison, he stops, only steps away from the outside. She says with sympathy, “This is not freedom, only the path to it.”

Even Mary’s depiction of sensuality sorta quietly sneaks up on you. The hero has bathed and later he and the heroine are talking about his ability to have retained some of his physical strength while in prison and his interest in science. She says, “I do expect that I am the first woman who is more interested in your learning than in your body.” He answers, “Not the first, but certainly the first who is, even after bathing.

That one made me smile.

I hope to read lots more on the long ride back to Virginia. Luckily my husband does the driving.

Does this happen to you when you read? That you find phrases, snippets, images, that just lead to sheer appreciation? I suspect this is very individual, but these examples all struck me.

Mary will be our Risky Regency guest on Sunday November 23, talking about Traitor’s Kiss/Lover’s Kiss and her latest novella, Love Endures, in the anthology Suite 606. So stay tuned for more!

I’m still at my cousin’s so I may not get by to comment much….home tomorrow.