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Monday, May 21, 2012

Must Be Magic by Patricia Rice

Leave a comment to win one of two paperback copies of "Must Be Magic"! The contest will run for one week, and the winner will be drawn Saturday morning, July 28, 2012. US/Canada only, please.

Must Be Magic by Patricia Rice
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (297 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

An Explosive Attraction...

Lady Leila Staines has always felt like an outcast among her magically gifted sisters. Desperate to discover her own talent, she seeks out Dunstan Ives, a dark and brooding aristocrat with a scientific bent who may hold the key to unleashing Leila's hidden powers.

Can Create A Spark That's Pure Magic...

Dunstan has shunned the decadent society that wrongfully condemned him of murder, and he's vowed never again to succumb to the spell of a beautiful woman. But the bewitching Lady Leila makes him a proposal no man in his position can resist.

Oh yes, there is magic—of pheromones, life from a tiny seed, family love, unique talents, secret places, and “meant-to-be” love that bides its time but will not be denied.

When a Malcolm woman and an Ives man make a deal that will allow each of them to work toward respective goals, Society is aghast. Leila and Durstan are each misfits, yet their families give unstinting support always and more so when they face tremendous odds.

Dunstan Ives, the most learned agronomist in England, is believed by many to be a murderer. Consequently, when the wealth widow Leila, Lady Staines, hires him as her estate manager, enemies contrive to derail their plans. Durstan hates being beholden to Lady Staines. But he has financial responsibilities; he needs to clear his name; and he also needs a place to bring to fruition his experiment with a special crop that will benefit poor farmers.

His surly ways irk Leila, but she weighs her irritation against her desires and decides to outmaneuver him so she can have her roses and pursue her dream.

Leila had conquered Society for her late husband’s sake and now she has solid social standing among the elite. However, all she wants is to live on her country estate, grow flowers—especially roses, so she can distill special scents that fit personalities. These scents prove to be the key that unlocks the secret to her “special gift”—what a gift it is!

Dunstan avoids and ignores the Lady of the Manor, Leila, as much as possible. To him she's a dangerous Malcolm who has a sultry regal elegance and even though she seems slightly vulnerable at times, she's tenacious in her determination to get what she wants.

Conversely, Dunstan lusts for the dark-haired woman called Lily in the red dress who digs in the dirt and protects baby rabbits. He’s attracted to her quick wit, lighthearted ways, provocative nature, and is rather amazed at her total lack of proper respect for authority. He doesn’t know how she fits in on the estate, but she sends his body into an agony of unrequited lust.

As Leila learns more about how to channel her gift, she begins to unravel some happenings that are a threat to her and to Dunstan, but she also uses it to have fun with Durstan in her own special way. She does get frustrated as they battle for control with both of them determined to get what they want.

Leila’s nephew who will get the estate should she remarry is a spoiled, undisciplined young man with an agenda all his own. He and his, so–called friends make life miserable for her. The life-threatening situations that flare up keep the reader on pins and needles.

Both the Ives and Malcolm families rally to the cause when Leila and Dunstan need them. These highly gifted people bring humor and excitement, as well as a no-nonsense determination and ability to protect their own. Dunstan’s son, Griffin, and his questionable relative, “Adonis”, bring complications and mystery to mix with all the other happenings. Of course, each the members of both families seem to have intriguing stories of their own.

Patricia Rice’s remarkable descriptions of places and people bring the story to life. She creates mesmerizing scenes that are breathtaking and truly magical. The grotto scene is one long to be remembered—gracious, how it quickens the senses. She weaves together fun, fear, and serious happenings along with captivating back stories as Leila and Dunstan’s beautiful love takes deep root and thrives. Her tantalizing symbolism and compelling metaphors make Must Be Magic enchanting. What a joy to read!