From the dazzling ballrooms of glittering London society to magnificent, cursed estate in the distant wilds of Yorkshire, comes the deliciously wicked story of a thoroughly unconventional courtship—and a thrilling midnight rendezvous that could only lead to love... At four and twenty Victoria Huntington thought herself quite adept at fending off fortune hunters... until she came under siege from Lucas Colebrook, the darkly disturbing new Earl of Stonevale. Amidst the brightly plumed birds of the town, Lucas was a hawk. And when he held out the lure of moonlit rides and wild, reckless midnight escapades, Victoria found herself powerless to resist. But becoming Stonevale's companion in adventure was far more dangerous undertaking than Victoria could ever imagine. For the attractive Earl would use her every weakness to woo her, to win her, and ultimately to wed her. And soon the amber-eyed lady would find herself ensconced in a crumbling mansion deep in the English countryside... where the real reason for her hasty marriage becomes all too apparent...and where the ghosts of her dark-stained past are waiting to rise up in a terrifying plot that will threaten her life, her honor, and the only man she could ever love.
Quick's ( Seduction ) light, amusing touch animates a pair of stock Regency romance characters: the experienced fortune-hunter and the naive but spirited maiden. Victoria Huntington is an heiress with a taste for any adventure but marriage. Her late mother's second marriage was unhappy, and she herself is weary of men who want to espouse her money. Enter Lucas Colebrook, Earl of Stonevale, claiming strictly honorable intentions. He'll court her, he promises, by satisfying her yen for risky pursuits, escorting her to the London normally off-limits to ladies, such as its gaming ``hells'' and brothels. When Victoria's boundless curiosity prompts her to suggest an amorous liaison (even as she dismisses Lucas's marriage proposal), they are discovered at an inn, and only a wedding can salvage Victoria's reputation. With charm and humor Quick portrays this irregular courtship and marriage, which is eventually clouded by Victoria's learning that Colebrook had indeed been after her inheritance and by a sinister secret from her past that threatens not only their happiness but their lives. (Oct.)