A con artist falls for the well-behaved daughter of the man he’s trying to swindle, but who is the real imposter?
Ashley Claughbane is a spare heir. As the youngest son in a wealthy family, he must make his way in the world on his own, without an inheritance. There wasn’t much left for him to inherit anyway, as his father was left destitute by the time of his death. Determined to punish Lord Rightsworth, the man responsible for his family’s misfortune, Ashley trains himself to be a con artist, starting small by selling love potions and youth tonics. Now he’s ready for the swindle he’s been waiting for. Under the fake name of Lord Crosby, he heads to London and, with the help of a mysterious secret organization called the Spare Heirs Society, sets up a phony company selling portable steam. His first potential client is none other than Lord Rightsworth, but due to a previous encounter, Lord Rightsworth’s daughter, Evangeline Green, already knows Lord Crosby under a different name and figures out quickly that he’s a fraud. Trained mercilessly by her mother to be a proper debutante, Evangeline finds herself unable to resist this Lord Crosby, even with her family’s fortune and reputation at stake. As much as she tries to strictly adhere to the rules of proper society, Evangeline is a rebel at heart. Playing with the themes of deception and authenticity, this romance delightfully emulates a Jane Austen–ish comedy of manners. There is an easy chemistry between Ashley and Evangeline, with a great mixture of wit, gamesmanship, sexual innuendo, and warmth. It's a genuine pleasure to watch their masks fall away as they become friends and lovers.
The lively plot and vivid characters are as well-drawn as the sex, offering satisfaction on many levels.