Brandon Wycroft, Earl of Stockport, and the investors in his proposed textile mill have been plagued by a cat-burgler who is bent on shutting down their venture. One night, as Brandon and his colleagues are meeting, the burglar strikes his own home. When he corners the crafty creature, he discovers that the person who has plagued his project is a woman–and a very sexy one who is willing to use her wiles to escape. Frustrated in more than one way, Brandon swears to discover the identity of the desirable woman he dubs “Cat.”
Lady Diana Farren is practically alone as she continues her grand tour around Europe. Because her sister married in secret in France, Diana is left to savor the art, history, and culture of Rome with only her governess, Miss Wood, for company. Unlike Mary, Diana has no interest in any of those things. She likes men–and that is why she was shipped off to Europe in the first place. Now, she is pursued by a fortune hunter on one hand, and an Italian rake on the other…
Bryce Lexington has a puzzle to solve–the lovely Paige Bradford has been researching him and his companies, and now is applying for a job with him. He knows she’s the daughter of the former owner of a company he purchased, after the man committed suicide. But what’s her angle?
In Jerusalem, Isidora Binte Deogel watches as her father–a driven and talented alchemist–slowly poisons himself with his dangerous experiments. Shut out from his scholarship, Isidora struggles both with her exclusion and her dislike for the obsession that is driving her father to madness and death. Then a handsome, fair knight, Lucien de Griswold, arrives at their doorstep, obsessed with a desire to learn alchemy himself. Several years after Lucien’s return to England, Deogel’s dying wish is for Isidora to deliver his dangerous discoveries to his favorite apprentice. This request compels the young woman to travel to a new land and either betray her father or give the man she loves the key to his own destruction.
Lord Belami is so close to happiness that he can taste it: he is engaged to the lovely Deirdre Gower and hopes that their wedding can go forward as soon as possible. Then, tragedy strikes. Deirdre’s guardian, the money-obsessed Duchess of Charney, worries that her wealthy and unhealthy brother is about to change his will and cut her out. Shortly after the Duchess delivers a bowl of stew to her sibling, he is found dead of arsenic poisoning. All the clues condemn the Duchess, and Deirdre is unwilling to go through with her wedding with such a scandal brewing. Now Belami, an amateur detective, must discover the truth about Dudley’s death–or lose his bride.
Mrs. Joanna Merrill is a proud woman: when her husband dies, she is unwilling to throw herself into the care of her older brother. Instead, she works as a governess. When her lecherous employer forces her to flee with pennies in her pocket, she travels across the country to her brother’s house. When she arrives–famished, dirty, and frozen through–at the estate he manages, she learns he’s been dismissed from his post. In his place she finds the new manager, Ned Greaves, and promptly faints at his feet. As for Mr. Greaves, he has bigger problems than a mysterious woman at his doorstep. He is, in fact, Sir Edward Greaves, new owner of the impoverished and ruined estate, operating in disguise to uncover the criminal elements who are inciting locals to violence.
Darcy Clark is a successful lady–she owns her own restaurant, and it’s becoming more successful all the time; she’s put in a lot of hard work to get there, and she just doesn’t have time for the distraction of a man who’s gonna tell her how to live her life. No way. So one night, she goes out to eat at a competitor’s joint, and meets…him. A one night fling, a hotel room, no names. Great idea, right?
Miss Claire Yelland is in a tight spot: almost alone in the world, she has few options for employment. Therefore, she turns to the theatre, reinventing herself as the dashing Clairisse Deschampes. She goes to great pains to hide her identity beneath a raven wig and guards her virtue to such an extent that she becomes known as the “Iceberg.” Then, her younger brother gets into a scrape that requires a large sum of money fast. Claire must make an uncomfortable bargain to save him: she agrees to marry the jaded Sir Egon Hollister. Egon wants to thumb his nose at his imperious, matchmaking grandmother by parading a scandalous bride at her house-party. Now, Claire must give the performance of a lifetime: loving newlywed in public, indifferent professional in private–while enduring Sir Egon’s assumption that she is a loose woman . . .
Sheriff Tyler Cook doesn’t get a lot of excitement in his small home town of Bridal Veil Falls; it’s a far cry from his days on the pro rodeo circuit. So when the call comes from the cafe that a strange redheaded woman is unable to pay for her meal, he’s gotta check her…I mean, the situation…out! He gets more than he bargained for when the sassy stranger gets hit by a car while crossing the street right before his eyes…she doesn’t know who she is!
“A most rewarding change from Assembly Room and Marriage Mart. Witty, humorous, concisely written, and far more true to the life of those times than most authors would dare. A bloody good read.”
I am opening a review, once again, with a quote from the back cover. Lady Elizabeth is the twenty-eight year old heroine, who has been left in charge of her multiple younger sisters after her father’s death a year earlier. Ever since, she’s been ensconced in the estate’s Dower House, distracted from her duties by her bizarre and remarkable hobby: astronomy. She has discovered a new comet during her nightly vigils, is in correspondance with the leading astronomers of the day, and is preparing to publish her first scientific article. In short, she is totally “unacceptable” as a woman. Then, the new Lord Clanross arrives. A dour, stiff man with a sharp tongue and a dubious background (the family’s black sheep who was never expected to inherit), Clanross quickly alienates Lady Elizabeth. Meanwhile, the charming Lord Bevis, whom Elizabeth refused to marry five years earlier, arrives on the scene. He still holds a torch for her, all these years later . . . Maybe there is hope that a man will accept Lady Elizabeth, in spite of her unnatural hobby?