When she tries to warn a marquess to stay away from her at a house party where they'll be guests for the next two weeks—because she knows her mother will try to set them up in some embarrassing way—Charlotte Highwood winds up compromised. In trying to prove her innocence, she falls in love with the man, who's sworn he'll never love anyone.
When Charlotte follows Piers Brandon, Lord Granville, into the Parkhurst library to warn him about her mother's schemes, the conversation is interrupted by another couple meeting for a tryst. Thinking quickly, Piers hides them behind a long curtain, where they endure listening to the assignation. They're discovered leaving their hiding place, leading people to think it was she and Piers making love. Piers quietly offers to marry Charlotte, who resists. She wants a marriage based on love and trust, not convenience. Convinced she can evade an engagement if she finds the “tuppers,” Charlotte embarks on an investigation even as she gives her heart and body to Piers, who finds himself incredibly willing to share long-held secrets with his would-be fiancee—considering he’s a spy who’s spent a lifetime learning how to hide them—without realizing he’s falling in love, too. Dare delivers another winning historical romance, with sparkling dialogue, an effervescent heroine, and an emotionally inhibited hero who falls for her even if he can’t admit it to himself. There is much to love in this title—which entwines the author's popular Castles and Spindle Cove series—and Dare brings her typical combination of humor (with an extra dose of lightheartedness thanks to Charlotte’s irrepressible spirit), unexpected yet spot-on matchmaking, and soul-satisfying romance. However, a few anachronisms and missteps mar the story. For example, wouldn’t Charlotte still be compromised if she uncovered the trysting couple?
A gratifying romance despite some flaws.