Proper decorum has never come easily to Carlotta Anne Fairleigh—not even tonight, when the lovely, impetuous miss is finally making her debut. As she waits to make her entrance, she can't help wondering about the darkened house next door, the supposedly abandoned home of Hayden St. Clair, the man society has dubbed the "Murderous Marquess." Certainly one small peek through his window before the festivities would be harmless . . .
And, naturally, this latest "adventure" ends in disaster, thoroughly compromising the budding debutante's reputation and leaving her suddenly, unthinkably . . . betrothed! Soon she's en route to the wilds of Cornwall in the company of the handsome, mysterious marquess whose name the ton whisper with fear and loathing.
Yet there is something thrilling—and surprisingly tender—about her dark, unreachable groom, and the desire in his eyes is undeniable. But before Lottie will surrender to the yearnings in her heart, she must unlock the secrets of Hayden's past, no matter how scandalous—or perilous—they may be.
The plot of Medeiros's newest Regency (after A Kiss to Remember) is far from new-a lively new wife turns her husband's household topsy-turvy but aligns everyone's hearts-but Medeiros brings a confidence and keen pacing to her story that lifts it above other such tales. Lottie Fairleigh, an aspiring Gothic novelist known as the Hertfordshire Hellion, finds herself in another scrape when she's discovered kissing Hayden St. Clair, the "Murderous Marquess," just before her coming-out ball. But for the first time, Lottie can't talk her way out of trouble, and she's swiftly married and packed off to Cornwall, where the ghost of the marquess's supposedly murdered first wife haunts the mansion. Faced with a bratty stepdaughter and deprived of the comfort of her new husband's arms-and bed-Lottie believes the ghost is the least of her problems... or perhaps the key to solving them. Lottie's damn-the-torpedoes spirit and flights of Northanger Abbey-like fancy form this romance's sparkling core. The marquess, while just as sympathetic, has only to be shown the errors of his ways by Lottie's adventurous example. In both humorous and sensual scenes, veteran writer Medeiros's talent touches every page, making this romance glisten like gold. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.