A lady ready and waiting to be deemed on the shelf has her transition into spinsterhood disrupted when the nobleman she'd once thought she loved returns to London and fate and circumstance conspire to force them to discover what love truly is and what it means to them.
What happens when a love left behind doesn't die?
Melissa North had assumed that after eight years of not setting eyes on each other, her youthful attraction to—or was it infatuation with?—Julian Delamere, once Viscount Dagenham and now Earl of Carsely, would have faded to nothing and gasped its last. Unfortunately, during the intervening years, she's failed to find any suitable suitor who measures up to her mark and is resigned to ending her days an old maid.
Then she sees Julian across a crowded ballroom, and he sees her, and the intensity of their connection shocks her. She seizes the first chance that offers to flee, only to discover she's jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
Within twenty-four hours, she and Julian are the newly engaged toast of the ton.
Julian has never forgotten Melissa. Now, having inherited the earldom, he must marry and is determined to choose his own bride. He'd assumed that by now, Melissa would be married to someone else, but apparently not. Consequently, he's not averse to the path Fate seems to be steering them down.
And, indeed, as they discover, enforced separation has made their hearts grow fonder, and the attraction between them flares even more intensely.
However, it's soon apparent that someone is intent on ensuring their married life is cut short in deadly fashion. Through a whirlwind courtship, a massive ton wedding, and finally, blissful country peace, they fend off increasingly dangerous, potentially lethal threats, until, together, they unravel the conspiracy that's dogged their heels and expose the villain behind it all.
A classic historical romance laced with murderous intrigue. A novel arising from the Lady Osbaldestone's Christmas Chronicles. A full-length historical romance of 127,000 words.
"In this Bridgerton-flavored Regency romance, two eligible young gentlefolk—Julian Delamere, seventh Earl of Carsely, and Melissa North—fake a betrothal to keep scandal at bay. This novel is half love story, half mystery, and wholly engrossing." Kim H., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing
"Fans of romances and mysteries set in Regency England will get their fill with this full-bodied novel of intense courtship and murderous intrigue." Virge B., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing
"Stephanie Laurens fans who have followed the journey of Melissa and Dagenham, now Earl of Carsely, will be delighted to see these two meeting again as adults. Readers will enjoy trying to figure out who is behind the threats in this tale that's as suspenseful as it is romantic." Angela M., Copy Editor, Red Adept Editing
About the Author
Known for her Regency romances and historical novels, Stephanie Laurens is the bestselling author of the beloved Cynster series which is widely recognized as one of the top series in the genre. She has published over fifty novels, including the Bastion Club series and the Black Cobra Quartet. Laurens has her PhD in Biochemistry but gave up her science career to become a full-time writer. She and her husband live in Australia.