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by Alison James
Description: Not all masquerades require loo masks--as Cassie Reade discovers when she impersonates her best friend in order to thwart a all-too-charming fortune hunter.
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books, 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
19 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [418 KB]
Reading time: 268-376 min.
"Masquerade is a story of intrigue and deception that keeps the reader absorbed. I kept expecting Cassie to get caught any minute, often wishing to jump ahead in the story, but savored the ending for the last. The characters are charming and the secondary ones add the right elements keeping the storyline consistent. The tightly constructed dialogue makes readers feel they are in a different time period. Alison James sweeps the reader into a captivating Regency. This pleasurable read is indeed a treasure."--Cherokee, Coffee Time Romance
"In an era when young women were closely controlled, two girls returning from school abroad, one to make her debut and be married and the other to a governess position, switch places? There is plenty of fun in the reading of this tale. You'll enjoy seeing how entangled Cassie gets in a web of lies even as she tries to prevent it? Recommended as a fun red for any reader who is a romantic at heart."--Anne K. Edwards
"MASQUERADE quickly becomes a Regency romp of the type for which the term was coined. Cassie is welcomed warmly by Lady Tyndale, attends social affairs where she becomes popular, and with the aid of her new maid, spies on Roland to uncover his secrets. He appears to be having an affair with a beautiful married woman whom he escorts to every gambling den in town. At the same time, he exhibits many good character traits that belie the bad things she hears. Still, there remains the conversation she overheard in the inn. Cassie's escapades lead her into danger, and not just to her person; her heart is vulnerable as well--If you're looking for good traditional Regency romances, be sure to check out Awe-Struck's many excellent titles, and don't forget MASQUERADE. Though the love scenes go beyond Regency conventions, it's an enjoyable tale."--Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today
The hall clock struck one as they entered Tyndale House, proving the point she had made to herself. A truly enamored suitor would have persuaded her to take a brief turn around the park before permitting her to escape. For once, Cassie was grateful Lord Carlyon's interest was entirely monetary. She looked forward to an hour's respite before joining Lady Tyndale on a whirlwind of visits.
As they crossed the foyer, the footman handed Lord Carlyon a billet a deux. "This came by hand, sir. Is there an answer?"
The scent wafting from the pressed paper reminded Cassie of Lady Atwater. Lord Carlyon broke open the wafer, and with an ever-increasing frown, read the message. She lingered nearby, pretending to read some invitations that had been addressed to Lady Tyndale and herself.
He finished reading and then, with carefully controlled movements, tore the scented paper into bits. He handed the pieces to the footman. "There is no reply." The footman, in bowing, dropped several scraps and stooped immediately to retrieve them.
Lady Tyndale appeared in the doorway between the foyer and her parlor. "There you are, Lucinda. I was wondering if you would have the sense to return early. Frederick? Why are you scrambling about the floor?"
Cassie stepped forward and pointed to a scrap near the door. In the same motion, she successfully blocked the young man's view of the piece lying next to the carved hall boy. With her toe, she pushed the slip under one of the wooden legs and hoped the earnest Frederick wouldn't notice.
Lord Carlyon was too lost to his own concerns to have noticed her duplicity. He bowed deeply over her hand. "Miss Sinclaire, I had a delightful time and will be further delighted to conduct whatever tours you might desire. Mind, we have yet to see the landscape collection at the British Museum." He turned to his aunt.
Before he could speak, Lady Tyndale said, "There'll be a fireworks display at Hyde Park this evening." She smiled meaningfully and her face turned to Cassie. "Do you enjoy such things, Lucinda?"
"It has never been my pleasure to watch one," Cassie said, dutifully taking her cue.
"It would be my pleasure to escort you," Lord Carlyon said, as was expected of him. "But not tonight, unfortunately. I have a business matter that requires--no, demands, my attention."
"Surely not this evening, Roland?" his aunt asked. "Such an odd hour for a gentleman to do business."
"It is an odd business, Aunt. Actually, I mean to meet with a gentleman about ... some sheep. I mentioned the matter to Lucinda. He has only this evening free and will be returning to Yorkshire in the morning. As you say, unaccountable hours, but what am I to do?"
Lady Tyndale shook her head but smiled away any disapproval she might have been feeling. "Never mind. My company will certainly not be as enjoyable, but if you can endure my dull conversation, Lucinda, you and I will take a turn about the park, tonight."
"I cannot imagine preferring any company to yours, Godmama."
Lord Carlyon frowned. "Forgive me, Aunt, but I wish you would not go without me."
"Why ever not, Roland?"
His frown deepened. "The fireworks in the park will draw any manner of ruffian. I do not like to think of your being there without me."
"I suppose I could invite--"
He laughed. "You force me to admit the truth. Since Lucinda has never enjoyed such a treat, I hoped to be the first to take her. And I know she'll find the display at Vauxhall Gardens immensely superior."
Lady Tyndale chuckled. "Silly boy. What do you say, Lucinda? Shall we let him have his way?"
"The decision is entirely yours, Godmama," Cassie said. She, however, had not believed a word Lord Carlyon had uttered since the subject of fireworks had arisen.