A matter of matter of matrimony…
Lord Julian Caldicott is summoned to the family seat by his ducal brother, whose bachelorhood is imperiled by the very determined Lady Clarissa Valmond. As the only titled Eligible the hostesses avoid including on their guest lists, Julian has little sympathy for the duke’s situation. He nonetheless agrees to lend a hand, because Clarissa is the last person who should be wearing the Caldicott family tiara.
Matters take a nasty turn when Clarissa’s brother, a talented artist, goes missing shortly before his debut London exhibition. Julian must unravel conflicting motives, dishonest witnesses, confusing evidence, old lies, and the real threats facing the duke if he’s to find the errant viscount before a fate worse than ruin befalls both surviving Caldicott brothers.
Lord Julian Caldicott has come home from the war in ragged health and with a reputation in tatters. All he wants is to recuperate in private without bringing any further scandal on the family’s good name. His godmother inveigles him into serving as her escort to a rural house party, whereupon circumstances conspire to prevent Julian from resuming his reclusive existence.
Julian becomes the subject of rumors, lies, and whispers, and soon he’s faced with a choice: Wage one more battle for honor’s sake, or be branded a traitor to all that he holds dear. He will enlist unlikely allies, face old demons, and vex every other guest on the premises, but he will not stop until he’s brought a criminal to justice–or dies trying.
Trevor, Marquess of Tavistock, has finally decided to stop larking around on the Continent, come home, and take a bride. His solicitors applaud his decision to settle down, provided he chooses a wealthy young lady to be his marchioness. Those years Trevor spent seeing the world were bad years for the lordly coffers.
Trevor is reluctant to consign himself to a mercenary marriage, and instead considers selling off some of his smaller properties. While inspecting one such estate, he meets Miss Amaryllis DeWitt. Her family is desperately trying to find a title for her to marry, and she does have the most lovely fortune, but she thinks Trevor is an aspiring beer merchant, and he thinks the truth might get him drop-kicked back to France. Then there’s the tenant Trevor finds on another estate, whose existence the solicitors have been trying to hide…Will it be truth or true love for Trevor and Amaryllis?
Psyche Fremont has known two constants in life: Her passion for her art, and society’s determination to ignore her talent. She isn’t looking for anything other than a handsome model when she crosses paths with Michael Delancey, and he’s only interested in making a few discreet coins lounging about in the altogether. Both Michael and Psyche are guarding secrets, but when love blooms, can they continue to guard their hearts?
Lady Violet and Sebastian MacHeath are trying to forge a cordial marriage out of unlikely beginnings. When they are invited to a summer house party, they accept, hoping to make the excursion into a belated wedding journey of sorts–or at least a respite from meddling relatives. No sooner do they arrive, than their host’s ward is accused of petty wrongdoing. As the charges escalate into familial acrimony and worse, Violet determines that a scheme is afoot to discredit the young man.
Unraveling the mystery before a criminal investigation goes too far will require that Sebastian and Violet trust one another as they haven’t in years. They can get to the bottom of the unfortunate developments at the house party, but can they solve the mystery of how to be husband and wife in more than name?
Matilda Merridew, former hoyden of the first water, finds herself widowed, weary, and in want of coin. Along comes Marcus, Lord Tremont, with an interesting–and decent–proposition. Tremont will provide Matilda a handsome salary and keep a commodious roof over her head if she will relieve him of the burden of managing a houseful of unruly former soldiers.
Matilda accepts the post, and soon learns that the proper, soft-spoken earl has a far more dashing side. Marcus, whose lodestars in life have been order and duty, is drawn to Matilda’s determination and pragmatic good cheer. When Matilda’s past rises from the grave to destroy any hope of a happily ever after, Matilda and Marcus will have to decide if love truly can conquer all!
While Lady Violet Belmaine is busy sorting out the odd turns her life has recently taken, Hugh St. Sevier repairs to his Kent estate in hopes of embarking on the placid life of a rural physician. Alas, for St. Sevier, the village of St. Ivo has more secrets than it has pots of heartease, and the good doctor will once again find himself the target of rumors and threats.
Somebody is rigging St. Ivo’s hound races, setting neighbor against neighbor, and turning what should be a friendly entertainment into an occasion for brawling. As an expert on medicinal herbs and soporifics, St. Sevier comes under suspicion. St. Ivo badly needs a physician, and the village also needs somebody to unravel the intrigues that are tearing it apart. St. Sevier can’t get to the bottom of the mystery on his own, but help–in the persons of Lady Violet and Sebastian MacHeath, is on the way!
Miss Catherine Fairchild spent much of her life haring about the globe with her diplomat parents, though she grasped at a young age that as a legitimate by-blow, her social standing among Polite Society would be marginal at best. Now she’s lost both parents and is settled back in London, where she learns that not only is she an heiress, but that the family title can be preserved through the female line.
Miss Dubious has become Miss Desirable, though Catherine has no plans to marry–or so she claims. Even if she were to admit to some loneliness, the last place she’d turn for companionship would be one of Mayfair’s fawning fortune hunters. The one person she can trust to treat her honestly is Monsieur Xavier Fournier, a plainspoken émigré who also has no intention of putting his foot in parson’s mousetrap… Or so he claims.
Lady Violet has decided that life in noisy, crowded, busy London is simply not her cup of tea. Her search for a rural property to purchase must be set aside when she learns that Hugh St. Sevier has been accused of murder. Worse, the handsome physician is doing nothing to aid those trying to exonerate him.
Though it requires out-smarting the magistrate, enlisting the aid of Sebastian, Marquess of Dunkeld, and literally poking around in the undergrowth, Violet is determined to prove her friend’s innocence–with or without St. Sevier’s cooperation. Solving the crime also means Violet must face a few of her own demons, and find peace with a past that has proven even more vexatious than this most challenging mystery!
Despite having humble origins and a criminal past, Ned Wentworth has learned to dress, waltz, and express himself as elegantly as any lordling. When Lady Rosalind Kinwood’s maid goes missing, her ladyship turns to Ned, precisely because he still has friends in low places and skills no titled dandy would ever acquire, much less admit he possesses.
Rosalind is too opinionated and too intelligent, and has frequently suffered judgment at polite society’s hands. In the quietly observant Ned Wentworth, she finds a man who actually listens to her and who respects her for her outspokenness. As the search for the missing maids grow more perilous, Rosalind and Ned will have to risk everything—including their hearts—if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.