Rodney Nairn, not yet out of his teens, is in a terrible fix: his wastrel of a father is selling off everything the young man holds dear and has concocted an arranged marriage for him. Fortunately, Rodney’s honesty to his potential father-in-law, a merchant, about his reluctance for the match deflects his union with fifteen-year-old Judith Hammerton. Yet the glimpses the protagonists exchange in their initial encounter leave impressions. When Judith and Rodney, the new Lord Quenton, meet five years later, they must discover if their teenage attraction can survive the reality of adulthood. That is, if Rodney manages to escape the mysterious individual that threatens his life . . .
Countess Alexandreya Romanova is rushing from her provincial home in Bratz to St. Petersburg to help her sister Natasha. On the road, her carriage is nearly driven into a snowbank by a regiment of Cossacks, the personal guard of Grand Duchess Catherine. Soon after, at a roadside inn, she meets their enigmatic leader, Dmitri Varanov, who gives her his own room in the overbooked hostel. Although initially open-minded towards the peasant-born soldier, Varanov’s hostility towards aristocratic women, his vulger assumptions about her morality, and his violent attempt to seduce her turn Alexandreya against him. Unfortunately, Varanov’s position at court means that he is impossible to avoid.
Verity Clifford does not look her best when she emerges from the convict hold in the ship’s steerage after the end of the long sea voyage to Jamestown. Unjustly accused of theft, the ex-governess has saved her virtue by trading away almost every scrap of her clothing. When Gray Garnett–a wealthy American plantation owner who has just been jilted by his intended British bride–sees her body so brazenly exposed, he has no doubt about her profession before her deportation.