More deep-breathing historical romance from best-selling Blake (Royal Seduction, Royal Passion, etc.), this time set in early 18th-century Louisiana and involving passion between a Mississippi River boat-girl and a French dandy. Cyrene Marie Estelle Nolte is the virtual prisoner of her boatmen guardians, the brothers Breton, who promised her dying mother to keep her virtue intact. Left unguarded one night, Cyrene peers from her little berth by the prow and sees two men hurling a corpse into the river. She paddles out to rob it (clothes are expensive in New France, and she has noted silver threads on the coat), but the ""corpse"" is not only alive, he is one of the handsomest bounders in New France: Rene Lemonnier. Banished from Louis XV's court for dalliance with the infamous Pompadour, Rene is now seducing the demure ladies of New Orleans. But, after nursing him back to health via bouillabaise, Cyrene proves herself ""different"" by propositioning him to bed her just once to rid her of her unwanted virginity and hence free her from the Breton brothers' surveillance. One thing leads to another, and many kidnapping attempts, lovemaking bouts, smuggling adventures, and stints in jail later, Cyrene is left with doubts about her parentage, incarceration as a ""lady smuggler,"" and a continued attachment to Rene, who now appears to be a French spy. Finally, after several changes of identity (for each), the two are able to resolve their differences, stay out of jail, and plan to wed. Preposterous, but with the usual Blake hyperventilating charm, and likely to please her vast paperback audience.