Hannah Pace needs a pretend husband, just for the weekend! She’s told her long-lost mother that she’s married–well, she was, then, see, but isn’t now, you understand? So in desperation, she hits up the local bad boy Nick Archer. He’s a local wheeler and dealer who stays just on the good side of the law, but boy is he handsome…
Trent Sinclair is a powerful man; like many romance leading men, he carries grudges far longer than most mortals would, and does not forgive or trust anyone easily. Bryn Matthews lied six years ago, and was sent away from the only home she’d ever known with the Sinclairs. Or did she really lie?
Jenny Kent is a foundling, a nobody. But she has a friend, one Bella Rossini, who’s been helping her along of late, and they’re the best of pals, even loaning Jenny her name so that Jenny can work at the fabulous Italian-themed Venetian Forum market in her Australian hometown…until they’re in a car crash, and the real Bella is killed, and everyone thinks that she is Bella…
Meanwhile, in Italy, Dante Rossini has a problem on his hands; his beloved grandfather is dying, and wants to see the grandchild he has never met, and wants to make amends for banishing his own son from the family all those years ago. Dante must go to Australia, and bring Bella home!
Professor Viola Bennett has written a scathing review of Stephen Silkwood’s latest novel, finding his detective hero Max quite a brute–and now she gets to share a stage with him on a panel. Oh, but there’s more: eleven years ago, when she was a tender 17-year-old, he was her first love, and her first kiss!
Fanny–raised as a poor relation by her jocular Uncle Edgar–is ready to seize her opportunity to flee England and become one of Florence Nightingale’s nurses. Then, she sees the two small children that she came to London to meet. One glimpse of her uncle’s new (also impoverished) wards–who have been shipped all the way from China–convinces the young woman that she cannot leave them to grow up at Darkwater without her. How can she condemn them to the miserable childhood she herself endured?
Ann Colbert–recently married to the charming Glenn Stacey–is struck by a sudden blow: her father dies, leaving her alone in Boston. After receiving a desperate, half-finished letter from her childhood nurse, Miss Lucy, Ann rushes to fly to her childhood home in Devon. There, she meets the cousins she’d never known: the Thornes of Valicombe, a crumbling old mansion. After learning of Miss Lucy’s sudden death just days before, Ann sets herself up in her nurse’s cottage, determined to wait for her husband to arrive. Glenn never appears, however, and Ann finds herself drawn into a terrible intrigue.
Allison Weatherby and her mother–both widowed and impoverished– would have been in trouble without the generous care of Thorne d’Aumont, Marquess of Silverthorne. Having grown up with him and his cousin, James Betterton, Allison has always trusted Thorne completely. She might just be falling in love with him . . . and she thinks, he with her. Then, one night, Thorne proposes the impossible: to make Allison his mistress–but not his wife. Affronted and disillusioned, she flees Thorne’s household . . . perhaps to her own destruction.
Five months ago, Elena Richards had finally had enough. Her husband Travis was a bully, mean and violent, and she had decided it was over, after he took her to a high mountain ridge–knowing of her fear of heights!–and had sex with her there. But he never came down that mountain after she walked down alone, and his body was never found.
Elena is pregnant from that last encounter–and suddenly, Travis walks back into her life, but he’s got amnesia–he remembers very little of his past life, and he’s a very different man! Or is he?
When her Aunt Louisa–never very capable–loses both her husband and his heir (her eldest stepson), the competent Miss Jane Ash rushes to town to offer aid and comfort. What she finds there is chaos: a household in uproar; the youngest stepson turning into a slick and foolish town sprig; the blind teenager Felix throwing fits and suffering from being coddled; a pair of daughters nearing their come-outs without being anywhere near ready for them; two devilish twins; a baby; and an hysterical widow who is certain that her husband’s next heir–the only stepson she’d sent away to be raised by his grandfather–is going to avenge himself by making her family’s life a misery.
For years, the Ghost of Hammerswold castle has appeared to his descendants to advise them about whom to marry to ensure their family’s future security. The current heir, Lord Jared Faverill, is on the path to dissipation, destruction and an early grave. After he has a fit of apoplexy, his grandparents are desperate to get him wed and reformed. What better method can there be than to hold a Halloween house party, populated by eligible blondes, to tempt the ghost to appear and make his choice?