The Duke of Kingswood has two big problems: his younger cousin, Richard, who got engaged to a notorious courtesan then murdered her lover, and the lovely Benedicta Calvine. The latter, a tatter-worn daughter who’d been travelling with her preacher-father, is discovered in one of the Duke’s tenant’s barns after her father has had a stroke. Now, the Duke has two invalids in his household, plus an idealistic, young, and bright-eyed ingenue. What better plan could the Duke come up with (since he has no plan to marry, oh no, not ever) than to arrange for Benedicta and Richard to make a match of it? Nothing could be simpler. Right?
Felicia Simmons and her family have fallen on hard times. Ever since her mother’s death and her father’s subsequent mental decline, the resourceful and kind young woman has labored intensely to maintain her unusual household. Charitable as can be, Felicia collects stray, socially-outcast servants and insists on feeding poor children. She gives up her place in society, teaches music lessons, economizes, and even polishes her own brass doorknob (though so early in the morning that no one on her fashionable street can see her–except for the cynical Sir Christopher Wilde, newly arrived from India).
The lovely, seventeen-year-old Miss Lili Martingale is out of place wherever she goes. Rescued from a convent by Cornelia and Beau Russell, she has been raised for the last four years on a farm. Now, it is clear that her beauty is turning too many heads and that she’s is not suited to farm life. On the double, Beau and Cornelia swoop in, take her back to their estate, and prepare her for an early come-out. Her age, extensive convent-education, her country ways, her ever-ready, thoughtless tongue, and her disregard for rank all stand in the way of her making a good match. Especially since the Russell’s neighbor, the Viscount Halpern, and his family suspect her to be an adventuress. The situation is made worse when vicious rumors about Lili’s parentage begin circulating around the ton.
Ariel Adams is in a bit of a pickle; her now-former business partner, darn her, has gone and fallen in love, abruptly. Ariel had been planning to spend a couple of years building up the business, then going on her own, but this change means she’ll have to really step up her game. Fortunately, the now-googly-eyed ex-partner has handed over all the client leads–and a beach house! She gets to the beach house, and discovers something she hadn’t been told: it is in the process of renovation, by a sexy beach bum named Jake Renner!
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.
When the shipwrecked Marc de Courtenay washes up on the shores of French-occupied Scotland, he is picked up by the badly-scarred Lady Isobel Dalceann. Since her late father had been one of the few Scottish lords to refuse to bend to French rule, her castle has been under siege for ages. Nevertheless, something draws Isobel to Marc. She allows him into her keep, where she nurses him back to health. They also fall in love–but can their love survive when Marc returns, the head of the army that has been sent to crush Dalceann once and for all?
Note: This book deserves a TRIGGER WARNING, not just in the rating, but also above the fold.
Ryder Bramson has a plan–he needs to get control of his business conglomerate away from his two illegitimate brothers. To do that, he needs to buy control of a company that has holdings in the conglomerate…and to do that–the owner insists that Richard marry his daughter, Macy Ashley, herself a talented CEO candidate!
“Freddy Tyne’s gone and done it, by damn . . . Took him donkey’s years, but his sticky fingers’ll be lightening my purse from now till lilies bloom in hell” (1).
Playboy Valentine North is horrified when his cousin–who has spent his married life in the wilds of Canada–dies, leaving Val two little savages as wards. There’s no way that he’s going let the little monsters upset his comfortable life, and there is no way he’s going to let some sneaky governess trap him into the Parson’s Mousetrap! So, he concocts an outrageous plan: he’ll disguise himself as his own man of business, hire a house and a governess, and wash his hands of the brats. When his band of comrades wager that Val will be incapable of managing the affair and will end up married within a year, he is even more determined to carry out his plan.
After the passing of her parents and the death of her cousin-fiancé, Dracot, Diana Gardiner is in a terrible position. Impoverished, she is living on the charity of her unctuous and obsequious relations, Lord and Lady Radley. Their son is abusing her younger brother, Archie, just because he communicates better with animals than people. Escape is essential, but Diana has nowhere to go. Then, she receives a letter addressed to “D. Gardiner” from the Earl of Blaize. The Earl is in need of a librarian. Diana jumps at the opportunity. After all, she is as much a scholar as Dracot had been.
Natalie Holcomb is used to the wealthy-socialite life; it’s what she was raised on, after all. Not, mind you, that she likes it–she left her family, put herself through law school, and is climbing her way to the top in a prestigious New York firm, rather than stay with the family business. But she’s good enough at it to help her friend Liza put on a great party–and there she meets Jake Lannister. There’s late-night coffee, and and early-morning fling..and then, they make an arrangement.