I loved (LOVED) Malloren's #1 & #2, but this one is just so-so. Maybe I'm just hard to please right now, because I'm sick and miserable. But I'm sorry, the heroine, Elfled Malloren, is just such an IDIOT and the plot is so completely CONTRIVED (even by romance standards). She does completely ridiculous things: on a lark, she encourages some guy at a masquerade in the park that she is interested in having sex with him - I think she even rubs his crotch - and then she is shocked - SHOCKED! - that he pursues it. She hides in the bushes and ends up in an even worse situation, accidentally overhearing a treasonous plot involving our intrepid hero, Fortitude (Fort), the Earl of Wargrave, brother to Chastity, who recently married Cynric Malloren. I think I give nothing away when I say that it was obvious from the get-go that the hero was NOT plotting treason, but rather aiming to stop it. Later, Elf goes ahead and has a night of lustful sex with Fort - I'm sorry, I just cannot believe that. She spent 25 years barely even touching a man, and now she just throws all caution (and good sense) to the wind? She completely deceives our noble hero, and then she is shocked - SHOCKED! - when he is so furious he doesn't want to speak to her. We're told that she is kindness itself, but it seems to me she is either (a) a jerk, (b) an idiot, or (c) both. I think we all know where this is going. Naturally they end up married. It's rather anti-climactic, after all the other shenanigans.