by Jillian Hunter, historical (2000)
Sonnet, $6.50, ISBN 0-671-02683-6

This book brings a whole new dimension to the phrase the butler did it. Oh honey, he sure did, again and again and oh, please, again! And did it so well too, I swear my spectacles fog up at the end of the day.

Seven years ago when they were young and immortal, Anne Kerr and Patrick Sutherland had a wild passionate affair. It lasted one day, but it was enough to change both their lives. They were too young, too reckless, and too impatient then to appreciate what they had. Patrick went off to join the army, and Anne married his cousin David.

But now Patrick is back, older, brawnier, and wiser. Anne is now Lady Whitehaven and a widow. It's time, he decides, that they start anew. Or better still, pick off where they left. When Queen Victoria orders them to go to Scotland together to investigate the death of their Uncle Edgar ("Isn't he your uncle?" she asks, to which he answers, "I thought he was yours"), the dutiful subjects hasten to obey.

Though the cunning and nosy Aunt Nellwyn accompanying them makes a bit of a bother, Patrick imagines a night of champagne and seduction and incredible acrobatic bedroom lambada with Anne in a Cabin Of Smoochy Lurve. He is not happy when he realizes that damn, he is to pose as - and worse, to be - Anne's butler, and that he is to share quarters with the household staff.

And Anne, still smarting from the affair, is delighted. Nothing beats having a man at one's beck and call. Where's her bell?

Indiscretion is a feast for the senses. It is full of laugh-a-minute repartee from the main characters as well as all sorts of fun secondary characters fro the rascally Nellwyn (don't tell anyone but she's called Naughty Nellwyn in her heydays!) to the kooky household staff to the bored noble wives who would just love to snatch the ooh-la-la butler from the virtuous Lady Whitehaven. They don't blame her for her straying from virtue, oh no, honey, they would love to push her off and take her place.

Not that I blame them. Patrick... oh Patrick. He is simply irresistible as the arrogant, easy-going, seductive rogue with a heart of gold. He is a delight on my senses, like warm thick whiskey that make me all light-headed from too much giggling. He wants Anne, and heck, if he has to humiliate himself playing butler, so be it. I simply adore a man who is smart enough to know what he wants, and who is bright enough to know love and take it right in when he feels it. This is a man who now has mellowed and he wants nothing more than to settle down with the hellion who is one of the few bright sparks in his misspent youth.

Let's just say when a hero actually succeeds in making Anne, have my baby the pick up line of the month, he's the man.

And Anne, oh wonderful Anne, she gives back as good as she gets. No whiny big misunderstanding or petulant sulking from her, oh no, Once she was wild, until her father beat her into submission, but now she is finding Patrick's siren call to sin so-ooo-ooo-oooo irresistible. But she's not going to make it easy for him. And when her suitor Sir Wallace, funny and bumbling, comes a-calling, Patrick actually sees red and cooks up all sorts of hilarious sabotage.

And Nellwyn is delighted at the way her favorite nephew is dueling with Anne. Heck, I am too. Pass the waffles, Nelly, aren't front row seats wonderful? And the household staff led by short, grouchy Sandy the gardener, the befuddled maid Gracie, and the bossy Mrs Forbes could only scratch their heads in befuddlement. Who the heck is this butler?

Oh yeah, the plot about who killed Uncle Edgar. The whole thing's as silly as the whole plot, really, but who cares? I do adore the hilarious and entertaining characters. The witty dialogs just fly in an erratic and unpredictable manner, and everything is a delightful farce. From Nellwyn's eavesdropping to eager noblewomen pretending to swoon so that the butler can carry them to the couch, it's all giggles and laughs all the way. I have to convince my neighbors and hubby that I'm not senile.

And best of all, there is enough emotional poignancy to level the farcical elements. Anne and Patrick do belong together, for they are the only ones who understand each other. It's just wonderful that these two are friends as well as lovers. And the love scenes and innuendos and verbal foreplay! Oh my.

Indiscretion is simply one of the best pick-me-up laughter-and-tears extravaganza that I have the good fortune to come across. Paperwork and the boss can go fly kites, I'm going back to reading about a delightful widow and her rascally butler.

Rating: 96

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