Tea for Two includes two relatively short historical romances by Cathy Maxwell and Liz Carlyle. First up is In a Moonlit Garden by Cathy Maxwell. The hero, Colonel Michael Sanson, purchases his colors to win the favor of his beloved, Ivy (not the heroine). When he returns, he is told he can win her hand if he obtains a copy of a stolen formula for her father.
Michael poses as a tea merchant and heads to the small village of Wye to find Geoffrey Kenyon, the man with the formula. He meets Kenyon's pretty niece, Jocelyn, and decides to pursue the acquaintance in order to meet her uncle.
Jocelyn has her own problems of the heart. The love of her life, Thomas, is marrying another. Jocelyn decides to use handsome Michael to make Thomas jealous. Problems arise when Michael and Jocelyn find their attraction for each other is stronger than their objectives.
This romance is a little weak. It just doesn't ring true that a smart, honest man like Michael would fall for such an obvious ruse, even for the sake of his potential father-in-law.
I received an advance copy, so I am assuming that the editing problems I found in this novella will be fixed. Although I found a final copy in the bookstore and noted that the blurb on the back still mistakenly refers to Jocelyn as "Lady Jocelyn."
Hunting Season by Ms. Carlyle is a fine example of traditional historical romance. Christian Villiers, Marquis of Grayston, is a professional gamester and a man determined to avenge his sister. Elise, Lady Middleton, is a wealthy and beautiful young widow. A former governess, she married her employer for the love of his young daughter, Henriette.
Their paths first cross at an inn where Grayston gives up his room to Elise and Henriette; Grayston and Elise share a passionate and anonymous kiss before parting. Later he joins a house party being thrown by Elise's brother and sister-in-law. Grayston is hunting the man who he blames for his sister taking her life, Denys Roth. When he discovers that Denys is courting Elise, he decides to hunt/seduce Elise to make Roth so jealous, he will challenge Grayston.
Can a dark, troubled and very sexy young lord be saved by the love of good woman?
Can birds fly? Can romance readers ever get enough of this kind of thing? Not when it's done right and Ms. Carlyle definitely gets it right in Hunting Season.