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In all the world, no man exists who can tame Alexandra Rubilov. A fiery and beautiful free-thinker, Alex's steadfast refusal to marry has frustrated her hapless father. And so he creates a "long-forgotten" agreement and sends his rebellious daughter away, ly maintaining that Alexandra has been promised since childhood to the handsome, insufferable libertine whom she must now accompany to his homeland to wed.
Dismayed to find himself suddenly engaged, Count Vasili Petroff plans to repulse his unwanted fiancee by acting the perfect cad, unaware that wily Alexandra plans to follow a similar path. But the road to deception is a rocky one and its many unexpected turns can lead two reluctant companions to a most unanticipated destination: that place called passionate love.
With anger and bitterness permeating nearly every page, it's doubtful Lindsey's sequel to Once a Princess will attract any new readers. Set in 1836 Russia-though the novel is conspicuously short on historic atmosphere and long on contemporary terminology-Baroness Alexandra Rubliov is a woman beyond her own time, something of a female cossack who wields a whip and breeds and trains her own line of white horses. Her unconventionality and blunt way of speaking her mind make her undesirable in the marriage market. Her desperate father presents what he swears is a long-standing betrothal between Alexandra and Count Vasili Petroff. It is, in fact, a contract of his own creation, but conveniently indisputable because Vasili's father is dead. Alexandra is incensed but honor-bound to comply. Only if the count should break the contract would she be free. So she sets out to insult and ridicule him at every turn and strives to be as physically repulsive as possible, eating like a pig and going for days without bathing. Vasili is a too-handsome man who beds women as easily as elephants eat peanuts. Of the two, however, Vasili is the more sympathetic, especially as Alexandra proves time after time, by word and deed, that she is a better man than he. Reminiscent of the movie The War of the Roses, the couple scrap it out all the way, but in the very last pages they declare a semi-peace and hope for love and romance looms on the horizon. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved