Lady Cassandra intrigues the rakish Viscount Ambury when she sells him some jewels he recognizes; investigating the mystery unearths even more questions, and Ambury considers marriage to keep the beauty safe from surprising enemies.
Thanks to the shelter and safe haven provided by her beloved Aunt Sophie, Lady Cassandra Vernham has lived on the fringe of society for years after a scandalous first season that saw her family abandon her. Now that Sophie is aging, however, Cassandra’s brother, Gerald, is putting excessive energy into exerting control over both Sophie and Cassandra and is using Sophie’s well-being as leverage. Auctioning off Sophie’s jewels so she and her aunt can leave England, Cassandra’s plan is stymied when the winner of the biggest lot—Viscount Ambury—fails to provide the money in a timely manner. Ambury recognizes the valuable earbobs as part of his family’s estate and must account for their history to his father, whose health is failing and has tasked his son with taking full inventory of their holdings. As he pursues the truth of the jewelry, Ambury realizes all is not what it seems with the woman known for selfish scandal and that Cassandra is in more danger from her brother than anyone realizes. Getting to the heart of this animosity reveals many dangerous secrets, and as Gerald becomes more domineering, the viscount is drawn to protect the mysterious beauty, launching scandalous rumors about the two of them that place her in even more danger and ultimately lead Ambury to play the romantic hero for the first time in his life. Hunter’s follow-up to The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne (2012) is a satisfying romance that glides along the crafty twists and turns of a fresh plot and hinges on the strong, compelling characters of its hero and heroine, reinforced by an engaging roster of secondary characters. We enjoy watching Cassandra and Ambury move from abject mistrust, to intrigued interest, to a surprisingly sweet happily-ever-after and are absorbed by the surprising puzzles of Sophie's jewels and Gerald's antipathy.
A witty, intense and entertaining romance that will win readers over with its distinctive, intricate story and convincing, appealing characters.