Now or Never. . .
It's the last chance for Cynthia Brightly, the ton's most bewitching belle. Driven out of London by a secret scandal, she must find a grand husband at the Redmonds' house party before word of her downfall spreads all over England. Unfortunately, someone at Pennyroyal Green is already privy to the whispers of broken engagements and dueling lovers: Miles Redmond, renowned explorer and—thanks to his brother's disappearance—heir to the family's enormous fortune.
Miles set his sights on Cynthia once, at a time when the ambitious beauty thought herself too good for a second son. But now he's heir apparent, relishing his control. He strikes a bargain with her: he'll keep Cynthia's steamy secrets and help her find a husband among the guests—in exchange for a single kiss.
What could be the harm in a simple kiss? Cynthia is about to discover that it's enough to unleash fierce passion—and that Miles Redmond is most certainly like no other lover in the world.
Hoping to make a suitable match before word of a London scandal reaches the house party she is attending, the lovely but orphaned and penniless Cynthia Brightly is offered a surprising bargain by her aristocratic host. Entomologist Miles Redmond will protect her secrets and supply her with the information to help her find a suitable husband if she will give him one kiss. That simple gesture, however, is more than either had expected. What is expected is that Miles will court a rich, well-connected heiress while Cynthia considers a wealthy widower, but love has a way of changing things. References to insects and arachnids of all types add an intriguing touch to this beautifully written, exquisitely sensual story that features a host of exceptionally well-developed secondary characters and a pair of unforgettable protagonists. This latest in Long's tales featuring the Eversea and Redmond families is a delightful, urbane, and witty story that readers will savor. Long (The Perils of Pleasure) is a rising star among historical romance writers; she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.