Lord Julian Caldicott, still recovering from his years at war, is tasked with investigating the circumstances of a small boy who could be either the salvation of the Waltham dukedom or a pawn in a scheme to sink the Caldicott family in endless scandal. The boy is alone in the world, though any one of several women might be his mother, and they all claim that Julian’s brother, the late Lord Harry Caldicott, was the child’s father.
To uncover the boy’s parentage, Julian must face demons from his own past, solve puzzles left behind by Lord Harry, and thwart enemies who wish the lad harm for reasons of their own. His investigation takes him from barracks, to brothels, and to Hyde Park by dark of night. The longer he searches, the more tangled—and dangerous—the mystery becomes, for Julian and for the innocent child who deserves to know the truth of his own birthright.
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!
A funny thing happened on the way to the gallows…
One minute, London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution. The next, he’s declared the long-lost heir a dukedom. Quinn has fought his way up from the vilest slums, and now he’s ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who connived against him.
There’s just one tiny problem…
Jane Winston, the widowed, pregnant daughter of a meddlesome prison preacher, crosses paths with Quinn in jail. Believing his days are numbered, Quinn offers Jane marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and to provide for her child. Neither thinks they’ll actually have a future together.
They were wrong.
He’s a wealthy gutter rat out for vengeance. She’s a minister’s daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation into a proper ducal union. Are they doomed from the start or destined for a happily-ever-after?