A Touch of Scandalby Jennifer Haymore
The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.
Kate knows her duty to her family, yet
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The last thing Garrett, Duke of Calton, expects to find while tracking his sworn enemy is the delectable, mysterious Kate. This beautiful servant girl rouses a longing the battle-scarred ex-soldier had never hoped to feel again. But when she turns out to be the sister of the man he seeks, he's convinced he's been betrayed.
Kate knows her duty to her family, yet how can she ignore Garrett's powerful pull on her heart? Or the heady temptation of his stolen-and sizzling-kisses? Scandal has followed the duke since the war. Now the greatest shock of all is on its way-the one that can separate Garrett and Kate forever.
Haymore discovers a second fascinating, powerful and sensual novel that places her high on the must-read lists. She perfectly blends a strong plot that twists like a serpent and has unforgettable characters to create a book readers will remember and re-read."RT BOOK Reviews"
Jennifer Haymore's books are sophisticated, deeply sensual, and emotionally complex. With a dead sexy hero, a sweetly practical heroine, and a love story that draws together two people from vastly different backgrounds, A TOUCH OF SCANDAL is positively captivating!"Elizabeth Hoyt, New York Times bestselling author"
A deliciously emotional Cinderella tale of two people from backgrounds worlds apart, A Touch of Scandal addicts the reader from the first page and doesn't let go until the very last word. Hurdle after hurdle stand in the way of Kate and Garrett's love, inexorably pulling the reader along, supporting them each step of the way. A Touch of Scandal is a surefire win!"FallenAngelreviews.com"
A TOUCH OF SCANDAL is a wonderfully written historical romance. Ms. Haymore brings intrigue and romance together with strong complex characters to make this a keeper for any romance reader. Each have issues they must deal with in order to find the happiness they seek. We also see a glimpse of returning characters from A HINT OF WICKED. Overall the story is strong and believable, and the characters come to life with the turn of each page. Ms. Haymore is an author to watch and I'm looking forward to the next installment of this series."The Romance Readers Connection"
A unique, heart-tugging story with sympathetic, larger-than-life characters, intriguing plot twists, and sensual love scenes make A HINT OF WICKED an impressive romance debut! I was rooting for both Tristan and Garret to win the lovely Sophie's hand for a second time. For jaded romance readers, Jennifer Haymore is an author to watch!"New York Times best-selling author Nicole Jordan"
Jennifer Haymore is an up-and-coming new writer who displays a skilful touch in her erotic tale of a woman torn between two lovers."Shirlee Busbee, New York Times bestselling author of SEDUCTION BECOMES HER on A HINT OF WICKED"
Complex, stirring, and written with a skillful hand, A HINT OF WICKED is an evocative love story that will make a special place for itself in your heart."Romance Reviews Today"
HINT OF WICKED is an exhilarating regency romance!"Harriet Klausner , Harriet Klausner Reviews"
Sweep-you-off-your-feet historical romance! Jennifer Haymore sparkles!"New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle
"Haymore discovers a second fascinating, powerful and sensual novel that places her high on the must-read lists. She perfectly blends a strong plot that twists like a serpent and has unforgettable characters to create a book readers will remember and re-read."
Read an Excerpt
A Touch of Scandal
By Haymore, Jennifer
ForeverCopyright © 2010 Haymore, Jennifer
All right reserved.
A bothersome heat crept into Kate’s cheeks as she hurried through the narrow, dimly lit passageway. If only she could learn how to hide her thoughts.
Taking a deep breath, she forcefully slowed her step, squared her shoulders, and lowered her eyes. She was simply a servant, finished with her duties for the day, ready to take the three-mile walk home. Not a flustered woman rushing out to a secret secluded spot to watch a strange man—no, a god, more like—bathe in the nude.
Kate paused at the threshold of the parlor. “Pardon me, my lady?”
She bobbed a curtsy as her mistress looked up from the novel she was reading. Lady Rebecca always kept her head firmly tucked in a book. A pang of sympathy shot into Kate’s heart when the younger woman’s haunted blue eyes met hers.
“Yes?” Lady Rebecca lowered the thick volume to her lap.
Lady Rebecca was the sister of a duke, and her breeding showed in her expression, in her bearing, and in her mannerisms. Today she wore a plain white muslin gown with a gauze fichu tucked into its rounded neckline, but neither the simplicity of her dress nor her relaxed position on the sofa diminished the evidence of her nobility. She’d kicked her shoes off and settled on the plum-colored velvet with her legs tucked beneath her. With her slender build, her coal-black hair, and her midnight-blue eyes, Lady Rebecca was one of the most beautiful women Kate had ever laid eyes on, but there was a sweetness about her, a vulnerability, that drew Kate, that made her want to protect her, even to share secrets.
No, Kate reprimanded herself. A shiver skittered down her spine. Some secrets were best left unspoken. Forever.
Had circumstances been different, she and Lady Rebecca might have been friends. Sisters. But Kate was merely a servant, albeit an unconventional one, given that she slept apart from the rest of the household. Still, she wished she had the freedom to sit beside Lady Rebecca and engage in a lively discussion about whatever it was she read with such passion.
“What is it, Kate?” Lady Rebecca gazed at her without really seeing her, but Kate was accustomed to it. It was how aristocrats always looked at her—as an object rather than a human. She couldn’t blame them, for they didn’t know any better. It infuriated Mama, though.
“Might I be dismissed, ma’am? I’ve prepared your bed, brought up fresh water, and set out your nightclothes for Annie.” Kate’s smile wobbled. The knowledge that she might see him again had butterfly wings tickling her insides. She fought not to squirm, but the mere thought of the handsome stranger made her skin prickle.
Lady Rebecca frowned. “Is it your little brother? Is he very unwell?”
The lady knew Reggie was the sole reason Kate walked home every night. Her younger brother was a sickly boy, and while Mama cared for him well enough during the day, she didn’t like her sleep interrupted, so Kate was there for him through the long, sometimes difficult nights.
“Well…” Kate was a horrible liar, but she needn’t exaggerate in order to answer the question. It also wasn’t necessary to explain that her reasons for wanting to leave early today had nothing to do with Reggie’s health. “He has been coughing quite a lot.”
“Oh, the poor thing.” Lady Rebecca waved her hand. “Of course, Kate. Please do go—I know you’ve a distance to walk, and”—she squinted at the drab chintz curtain covering the single square window—“it’s near dark, isn’t it?”
“I think so.” Oh, please, Lord, let him be there today. Let me not be too late.
“Yes, well…” Lady Rebecca glanced across the room at the door that led downstairs. The hope in her eyes was unmistakable. “The master should be home soon.”
Kate nodded. Her elder brother, William, was Lady Rebecca’s husband, and he liked Kate to be gone before he arrived. He found it awkward to be with his sister and wife in the same room, and he feared Kate would betray them both. Kate didn’t blame him. First of all, it was horribly awkward to her as well. Second, deception was not her forte. From the beginning, she’d felt the worst part of this whole arrangement was the duplicity inherent in it. She understood why it must be, but it still twisted her stomach.
Lady Rebecca turned back to Kate. “Of course you may go.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I’ll be here when you wake in the morning.” Kate dipped into another curtsy and tried not to break into a run as she crossed the room to the opposite door. Even so, the clack of her shoe heels on the wood floor announced her hasty departure, and from the corner of her eye, she saw Lady Rebecca’s brow tilt in bemusement as she watched her go.
The cottage was elegant and expensive, but certainly neither as elegant nor as expensive as a duke’s sister was accustomed to. Willy was in financial straits and only employed four servants—Kate, the cook, the maid-of-all-work, and the manservant, John. The other female servants lived in the small room in the attic and John slept in a loft above the stable, but Kate walked back and forth to her home at Debussey Manor daily.
It was far less help than someone of Lady Rebecca’s breeding expected. Yet she never complained. Kate admired her for that.
Her cheeks flaming despite all her efforts to douse the fire in them, Kate descended the last step and emerged into the drawing room. Glancing up, she stopped in her tracks, stiffening. John lay on the tasseled chaise longue, his stockinged feet crossed atop the cream-colored silk and his arm flung over his forehead.
He cracked one lid open to gaze at her with a green eye, and Kate pursed her lips in distaste.
“Leaving?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered curtly. Untying her apron, she spun round and strode to the closet behind the stairwell.
Feeling John’s reptilian eye on her, she pulled off her apron and cap, hung them, and after a moment of consideration, decided to leave her cloak here overnight. It had been a warm day, so surely it wouldn’t be too cold to walk without it in the morning, and it would be a nuisance to carry both ways.
“You look pretty today, Kitty. That color becomes you.”
She cast a look down at her dull pale brown work dress. How pleasant to know that brown was her color. “Thank you,” she pushed out.
He chuckled but Kate didn’t look in his direction. John was negligent, arrogant, lazy, and, with his greased hair and pointed beak nose, unappealing. Whenever Willy was near, John’s manner was obsequious to the point of inducing nausea, but when Willy wasn’t home, he strutted about the place as if he owned it, even going so far as to be disrespectful to Lady Rebecca. Nothing raised Kate’s ire more than to see that man’s disdainful behavior toward her mistress.
She turned from the closet and strode to the front door. Opening it, she stepped into the pleasant late-summer evening. As she closed the door, John’s voice drifted lazily out. “Tomorrow, then, pretty Kitty.”
Her lips twisted, and when the door met its frame, she shoved it hard. The tiny slam brought her a small measure of satisfaction.
If John thought to seduce her with false flattery, he ought to think again. No man had seduced her yet, though a few had tried. She’d promised herself long ago to never go down that particular perilous road. And with a man like John… not a chance.
Still, it was best to stay away from him and make certain to avoid being alone with him. He didn’t strike her as the kind of man who’d take her rejection to heart.
Kate paused on the tiny landing and took a deep breath. Was she a hypocrite? She shook her head, thinking not. Watching was a wholly different action from doing, after all. And John the skinny, lazy manservant was a wholly different creature from the bronze god at the pool.
Kenilworth’s gently curving High Street was deserted for the moment. The setting sun cast an orange glow across the rooftops, and the houses and shops abutting the road shimmered in the haze.
She turned and strode down the street with purpose, her shoes scraping against the hard-packed dirt. Ahead, the shoemaker’s widow, dressed in black with a dark shawl draped over her shoulders, emerged from one of the pretty neighboring cottages. Kate bobbed and murmured a polite greeting when they passed each other. The woman wished her a good evening as the clatter of wheels and the sound of hooves heralded a coach and four coming from behind. Kate glanced over her shoulder to see the carriage, a closed, lacquered black beast, approaching, tossing up a billow of dirt in its wake.
She picked up her skirts and hurried across the street in front of it, slipping through a broken slat in the old wooden gate and stepping onto a narrow path in the field beyond just in time to avoid a choking spray of dust. Through the gold-tinged trees loomed the tall, ivy-covered ruins of Kenilworth Castle. Keeping the castle to her right, Kate followed the overgrown trail that led along the bank of the brook. She skirted fallen branches and dead leaves, and before long grime caked her shoes and dampness seeped through her stockings.
Her heart thudded with a dull cadence, heavy in her chest. Under the coarse wool of her dress her skin flushed with excitement. Would he be there today? He wasn’t yesterday, but she’d seen him four times in the past week, swimming in the small lake created by the ruin of a dam that had once formed the castle moat.
The air grew warm and close. Branches cracked under her feet, and leaves rustled. The faint drone of insects hummed in the air as twilight approached. She’d taken the long way, and it’d be full dark by the time she arrived home, but she cared about that just about as much as she cared about her wet feet and mud-soaked hem. Not a whit.
She slowed as the creek turned northward, and with her lower lip trapped between her teeth, she concentrated on placing her footfalls so her steps would be quiet.
A splash sounded in the distance, and Kate halted and looked up. Beyond a thick copse of greenery just ahead, the pool glimmered in the gathering dusk, its surface rippling.
Someone had just dove in. He had just dived in.
Kate swallowed hard and crept forward, crouching so he wouldn’t see her behind the clusters of brambles and bushes. She ducked behind a particularly dense bush at the water’s edge and peeked around it.
Just as the waves on the pool’s surface began to settle, he emerged from the depths with his back to her. He rose until the water lapped eagerly at his narrow waist. For the tiniest fraction of a second, she wished she could be that water.
His thick shoulder rippled with muscle as he reached up to thrust a hand through his glistening blond hair.
Surely this man couldn’t be human. He was perfectly built—like one of the gods she’d learned about when she spied on Mama reading to her brothers. Tall, muscular, his skin bronzed from the sun, as hard and beautiful and intimidating as Apollo himself. He shook his head, sending blond shoulder-length curls flying and a cascade of golden drops showering into the water. Then he dove again, his taut—and quite shockingly bare—backside emerging from the water before his entire body disappeared beneath the surface.
A pleasurable shudder coursed through Kate, leaving a low burn to simmer deep inside her.
The god-man swam like a fish. Perhaps he wasn’t Apollo at all, though he rather looked like she’d always imagined Apollo. Perhaps he was Poseidon—a young, clean-shaven Poseidon. Perhaps this time when he emerged, he’d be carrying his golden trident. She held her breath, waiting, frozen.
Kate had been born at Kenilworth and raised at Debussey Manor, and she knew without a doubt this man didn’t hail from these parts. What was he doing here? And why did he come here—this place that had been her secret spot for so many years—to bathe? The sight of him, and his very strong, very naked body, was so far removed from her realm of reality that it didn’t seem all too farfetched to think that a lightning bolt had deposited him straight from Olympus.
He rose from the water again, this time farther away but facing her. She stared in fascination at the jagged scar near his waist, and when her gaze traveled up his solid torso and over his rugged face, she saw the second scar, a terrible knot glaring red just above his left eyebrow.
The imperfections on his otherwise perfect form emphasized the fact that this was not a god, but a very human man indeed. A man who’d seen, experienced, and ultimately survived terrible things.
He rubbed the water out of his eyes and opened them. His sky blue gaze settled directly on her.
She jerked her head behind the bush, gulping back a gasp. Her heart thundered in her ears. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her face. Controlling her breaths, she froze in her crouched position and squeezed her eyes shut. She couldn’t move, because now he’d surely hear her. Her best option was to remain still and quiet, keep herself hidden behind the bush, and pray he hadn’t seen her.
She should fear this giant, intimidating man, but that wasn’t why she prayed he hadn’t seen her. No, she prayed he hadn’t seen her because if he had, she wouldn’t be able to watch his sculpted nude body anymore.
She let out a long, silent sigh through pursed lips. It was the undeniable truth. As much as she’d fought against it, she was hopelessly and thoroughly debauched. If not in body, at least in thought. The man could be a murderer or a lunatic, and all she cared about was spying on him.
Not only was she debauched, she was an idiot.
Perhaps he hadn’t seen her. He had just opened his eyes after being submerged in water, and surely it would take a second or two for him to focus on an object as far away as her. And with her brown hair and brown dress, she blended into the landscape like a chameleon.
She’d remain hidden for a few moments longer, then make a hasty, as-quiet-as-possible retreat.
Keeping her eyes closed, she hugged her knees to her chest and counted to a hundred. All was silent for a while, but when she reached sixty, she heard splashing from the direction of the pond. Clearly he’d resumed his sport.
Ninety-nine. One hundred.
She released a relieved breath and raised her lids.
And found herself gazing into his rugged face.
She blinked several times in disbelief, trying to clear her vision as he stared at her with narrowed blue eyes from his position on his haunches an arm’s length away. A frown creased his handsome features. Rivulets of water streamed from his golden hair and plastered a white shirt to his broad, imposing shoulders.
He’d been watching her. Spying on her in silence—probably throwing rocks into the water to mislead her.
With a squeal of fright, Kate stumbled to her feet. Her legs caught in her skirts, but she kicked them free. Brambles clawed at her dress, ripping the fabric as she lunged away.
She’d gone no farther than two steps when he clapped an arm around her waist and yanked her back. She stumbled and would have fallen had his hard body not ensnared her like a net.
Kate trembled all over. Small, pathetic whimpers bubbled from her throat as she futilely tried to twist away.
His warm, damp torso pressed against her back. He smelled fresh and clean, like hay drying in the sunlight, with an underlying almond scent she instinctually recognized as purely his.
His arm crossed over the front of her chest, pinning her against him. The lock of his embrace rendered her utterly helpless.
“Who are you?” he demanded. He bent his head, and the trace of beard on his jaw scraped against the shell of her ear. “And why are you watching me?”
His voice, low and rough, stroked over her body like a coarse towel, causing every inch of Kate’s skin to explode into flame.
Panic wouldn’t help her now. She must stave it off, be as brave as a knight battling a rampaging dragon. For several moments, trapped in the steel of the stranger’s arms, she worked to control her gasping breaths and to stop her limbs from shaking like autumn leaves in a gale.
Finally, she sucked in a lungful of air. Staring straight over the pool, now glowing purple in the twilight, she said, “My name is Katherine, sir. I’m very glad to meet you. Lovely evening, isn’t it?”
Excerpted from A Touch of Scandal by Haymore, Jennifer Copyright © 2010 by Haymore, Jennifer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Meet the Author
As a child, Jennifer Haymore traveled the South Pacific with her family on their homebuilt sailboat. The months spent on the sometimes quiet, sometimes raging seas sparked her love of adventure and grand romance. Since then, she's earned degrees in computer science and education and held various jobs ranging from bookselling to teaching inner-city children to acting, but she's never stopped writing.
You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.
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Review by Sarah L: A Touch of Scandal is the second installment of Jennifer Haymore's Tristan Family series. It is not necessary to read the first book, A Hint of Wicked, as I believe the author did a good job of making this book stand on its own however since Garrett plays a huge role in the first novel, I highly recommend it. Also, just because it is a great story! The way the author made the characters come to life made me feel like I was a part of the Tristan family watching the drama unfold. I laughed, I cried and I even yelled (How dare they!!). The main characters meet when Kate happens upon Garrett while he is bathing in a secret, hidden pool and is drawn to him immediately. Over the course of several days she secretly watches him until one day he notices her. Garrett is immediately drawn to her as well not knowing that Kate is actually the sister to his sworn enemy, the man he is trying to locate. There are several twists and turns from this point on that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I felt a real connection with Kate's character. She was such a strong, independent woman who is fresh and innocent despite her evil, villainous brother and her neglectful, unpleasant mother. Despite all the treachery and unpleasantness she endures, Kate persists in uncovering the truth. If you are looking for a story that will captivate from the start and you won't want to put it down, look no further than A Touch of Scandal. You won't be disappointed.
Better than the first book! My favorite amongst the 3 so far.... can't wait for more!!!!:)
A Touch of Scandal started off with a bang: Kate Fisk is leaving her employer's house to go watch a naked man bathe!!! Whoa! Kate is the daughter of a servant, and her current employer is actually her brother William and his new wife, Rebecca. William has married "up" and doesn't want Rebecca to know his true station. He can't afford a bunch of servants so Kate works for them. It is while walking from her brother's home to her own that she comes across a beautiful man bathing in a small lake. Since that first view, she's taken to looking for him on her way home, hoping to get another peek. He sees her watching, and surprises her. He tells her only that his name is Garrett, and they almost instantly feel a connection. They agree to meet again the next day, where their passion for each other is expressed in a physical way. Garrett, Duke of Calton, has been searching for William. William and Garrett are sworn enemies, but Garrett doesn't know Kate is William's sister. William holds Garrett responsible for the death of his twin and has made it his mission to make Garrett's life miserable in every way imaginable; this includes eloping with Garrett's sister and taking him prisoner in order to torture him. Things come to a head and Kate ends up living in Garrett's home, surprised he's a duke, loving him although she knows she cannot. When Garrett's former mistress shows up, days away from having his baby, Kate knows what she must do. This book had so many twists and turns, I was turning the pages to find out what was next! The storyline was not what I thought it would be - I love when that happens! From Kate's "mystery man" to William's and Garrett's enmnity, from Kate's awful mother to Garrett's snobby aunt, and between Garrett's ex-wife and his ex-mistress, the storyline had me wondering what else Kate was going to have to deal with before she got her well-deserved HEA. I even liked her sickly younger brother, Reggie (which, anyone who knows me knows how I feel about kids in romance books ---> bleh). What I didn't care for was the "instant attraction" between Kate and Garrett. In a paranormal romance - oh, yeah, I love the instant attraction! Not in a historical romance. It was almost immediate that they couldn't live without each other. I think that with everything going on in the book Ms. Haymore would not have had a problem making the attraction a bit more gradual. I give A Touch of Scandal 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. Ms. Haymore's next story in this series, A Season of Seduction, is about Garrett's sister Rebecca - can she find love after William crushed her heart so badly? Although she seemed a bit timid, I liked Rebecca and would love to see her get a HEA.
A TOUCH OF SCANDAL by Jennifer Haymore is another delightul historical romance set in 1823 England. It is a continous story of A Hint of Wicked. It is well written with depth and detail. It has intrique, betrayal, romance, sensuality, twists and turns, passion, villians and heros. It is fast paced, edge of your sit action. The characters are interesting, have love of their families and must choice between family and the love of their lives. I can't hardly wait for the next installment coming out in October (A Season of Seduction). I would highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy romance, action, and Regency. This book was received for review and details can be found at www.mybookaddictionandmore.wordpress.com. 5
Just like that, Jennifer Haymore has once again caught my attention and left me completely captivated. Her tales of romance, deception, and adventure continue in A TOUCH OF SCANDAL, the sequel to A Hint of Wicked. Admittedly I was a little nervous about reading this book. A Hint of Wicked was so emotional and so good that I honestly didn't any of her other books could live up. We've all witnessed a sequel that didn't quite meet our expectations and I didn't want to see this from Ms. Haymore. Well, I certainly didn't need to be worried! Following in the footsteps of A Hint of Wicked, A TOUCH OF SCANDAL holds the same heart wrenching emotion that we saw earlier. There are probably readers out there who have not experience A Hint of Wicked yet so I will try not to release too many spoilers, but it's going to be difficult. I'll let you in on the story, but will attempt to refrain from using too many names if I can avoid it. Honestly, the names of the characters really don't matter as much as the situations that Ms. Haymore puts them in and the way she develops the story. Our hero of this story is on a mission to hunt down his enemy and attempt to rescue a young girl whose reputation is on the line. Heart-broken and practically destroyed, our hero is fairly single minded in his anger until one beautiful sight stops him in his tracks. Kate, a beautiful and alluring servant girl draws our hero in like a moth to a fire. Hardly expecting his heart to ever mend, our hero is shocked when he finds himself drawn to her. Perhaps there is hope yet for this man's battered soul. Just as our hero finds himself inexplicably drawn to Kate, this lovely girl finds herself falling for him. Class and status issues aside, secret kisses and stole caresses find their way between the two. Everything could fall apart however when our hero discovers that his beautiful Kate is in fact the sister of his enemy. If there's anything I can expect from Ms. Haymore, it's a dose of romance followed by a delicious helping of tension. This is the kind of story that gives you goose bumps and has you reading early into the morning simply to find out what happens next. We love our hero and Kate. We want them to be together but Ms. Haymore certainly isn't going to make it easy on us. Her talent is in creating a wonderful story that is as much a work of art as it is an addiction. Fair warning time: A TOUCH OF SCANDAL does have adult themes and graphic scenes. Obviously I would highly recommend A TOUCH OF SCANDAL. A Hint of Wicked lived on in my mind for months after reading the book and I have no doubt that this story will follow suit. Ms. Haymore's clear imagery and smooth writing style make these books complete winners. Her ability to reach out and stir our emotions around is fantastic and something that really makes her a wonderful author. If you haven't experienced her books yet, I highly recommend you start with A Hint of Wicked and then move on to A TOUCH OF SCANDAL. I'm pretty confident in saying that if you love romance fiction, you will absolutely fall in love with these books.
In 1823 her brother William Fisk orders his younger sister Katherine to accept the position of lady's maid to his wife Lady Rebecca. He warns her to do his bidding as his domestic spy reporting what his spouse does or else she, their ailing younger brother, and their mom will be cut off. Katie knows how ruthless her sibling is and agrees for the sake of her family. Having hid her identity from her mistress, Katie is attracted to Rebecca's brother Garrett, the Duke of Calton, who arrives in Kenilworth. However, as she falls in love with him, Katie learns that her beloved Garrett is in town to kill his brother-in-law after what William did at Waterloo during the war and to free his sister from unholy matrimony to this lunatic. In turn William wants Garrett dead too. Each demands Katie believe and trust them; forcing her in a predicament to choose between her sibling that means her family too and her soul mate. This powerful Regency romantic suspense has a lot more going on than just the above with each additional complication enhancing the tense tale. Katie is a brave person while Garrett seems to have recovered from his shocker in A Hint of Wicked and William is diabolically clever and unhinged. Loaded with action from the moment readers understand Katie's feelings of imprisonment, sub-genre fans will enjoy her escapades as she struggles with the conflicting dilemmas of love demanding loyalty to her family or her heart. Harriet Klausner
Katherine Fisk is a sweet, young woman who knows life as a simple servant working as a lady's maid to take care of a mother she wants to please and an ailing younger brother. She also knows how to keep a secret as her employer is her older brother William, a man leading a life shrouded in mystery and deception at the expense of his wife and sister. Always doing the right thing has been Kate's way of life but it is one that bears a great weight upon her shoulders. When Kate meets Garrett James a simple friendship quickly turns to passion and unbridled love. But her affection for Garrett turns to nightmare when all his secrets intertwine with hers and she discovers that as a result of actions during war he is there to kill her brother who it turns wants to kill Garrett. Both men ask out loud of her "who do you trust"? It turns out Kate trusts Garrett more than her unstable brother and helps Garrett escape when William has him captured and imprisoned but the bloody result of this decision changes everyone's life. Garrett reveals his secret that he is the Duke of Carlton after he takes Kate back to his home estate along with William's wife Rebecca the woman Kate had worked for who it turns out is also Garrett's sister. Thinking nothing else could stun her Kate discovers that Garrett had a wife that he divorced so that she could be free to marry another man she had fallen in love with when she thought Garrett had been killed in battle. But he was very much alive and living in Belgium with amnesia and unable to remember his own name. Kate feels her head may explode from all this knowledge but her heart knows one true fact - she loves Garrett and that in the end he is a man of honor and will not hurt her even though he makes no promise of forever. Still there is one more surprise that shows up at Garrett's door which could be the final straw that will force her to leave him. Is Kate strong enough to stick it out and show him how much she loves him? Decisions are tough for Kate but she has never backed down from any fight and she thinks that Garrett is worth any battle. Okay did you follow all that because trust me this book has so many stories, subplots and characters going on simultaneously you need to pay close attention. It will seem a little confusing for the first chapter or so but once you grasp the pieces and put them together you will be fascinated with how this plays out and Ms. Haymore is a master storyteller. Just when you think this is the end and peace will reign down guess what another twist presents itself to keep the action playing out. Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer located at www.marygramlich.com