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My alternate identity is Tammy Walton Grant at GoodReads

The Devil's Waltz - Anne Stuart One of my favourite things in romance novels is when the hero has some kind of special nickname for the heroine. Not some sappy thing like "bees knees", but something witty. Some inside joke between the two of them, something sexy that he would say to her in a particular tone of voice reserved just for her. This book has it.

The Honourable Miss Annalise Kempton has fallen upon hard times. She is unmarried, almost 30 and virtually penniless. Her pedigree does not allow her to work for a living and so she spends her life "visiting" one family after another. Her latest visit is to the Chipples where she will guide young Hetty through her first season and help her to find a suitable husband. Hetty, of course, is headstrong and spoiled and has caught the eye of Christian Montcalm, a scoundrel of the first water.

On her first day Miss Annalise intercepts Hetty on her way to a secret assignation in the park with Christian Montcalm. She comes face to face with Christian and tells him in no uncertain terms what her duties are: "I'm someone who is going to make your designs on Miss Chipple impossible to carry out. So cast your lures elsewhere." Christian considers it a challenge and is intrigued by the woman his friend describes as "a dragon. And a bit long in the tooth. Not your type at all."

"You may be sure we'll meet again, dragon." he said, and for some reason the term sounded more affectionate than insulting. "

Ah, there it is. The nickname.

And away we go.

The story hooked me from the beginning. Christian calls her "dragon" through the entire book - who knew that word could be so romantic? He is fascinated by her in spite of himself , she is wildly attracted to him (again, in spite of HERself).

Their verbal sparring is engaging - you cheer for Miss Annalise from beginning to end. The sexual tension between the two is palpable and when they finally get together it is beautifully done. Christian is a completely unscrupulous rake but you love him anyway. He redeems himself by the end as most heroes do and the epilogue is a perfect finale to the HEA.

There are also the requisite villians, nefarious plots and a minor misunderstanding. Oh, and a fairly comic resolution to Hetty Chipple's search for a husband.

A very entertaining story from start to end. I loved it!

Original review written June 24/10.

4.5 stars