Society dictates that a governess should be modest, quiet, and keep to herself.
She should never contradict her employer.
And, above all, she must not attract the attention of any male in the household.
But Michael Severson doesn't see Isabel Halloran as a governess—he sees her as a woman, one whose lush curves cannot be hidden behind a dowdy gown ... and whose efforts at hiding her sparkling intelligence are betrayed by her wit.
Years before, Michael had left Regency England, falsely accused of a crime. Now he is back, dedicated to seeking retribution—but not to take a bride. But when his scandalous actions compromise Isabel's reputation, he does the unthinkable and offers her his hand—a marriage in name only.
But although his bride's passions are untried, Isabel's sensuality clearly matches his own. And with each day, and night, that passes, Michael becomes determined that every kiss, every caress, will be made with one goal: to seduce his proper wife into tender submission.
When a loathsome rake steals one of her most cherished family heirlooms—and nearly her virtue as well!—Francesca Dunroy devises the perfect plan to put him in his place. At a ball being held in her honor—she didn't "take" in her first season, now her family is determined to get her a match in her second—she'll offer him a clandestine kiss sure to convince him to return what is rightfully hers. But in the dark hallways surrounding the ballroom, Francesca makes a terrifying mistake. She seduces the wrong man!
The recipient of Francesca's caresses is none other than Justin Maddox, London's newly titled duke and most eligible bachelor. A defiant Scotsman who disdains London society, he's sworn to steer clear of the ladies of the ton, but he can't escape the memory of Francesca urgently pressing her lips upon his . . . and neither can she. But when a shocking and dangerous secret from Justin's past resurfaces, the couple will have to risk tattered reputations and treacherous enemies to nurture what has quickly become true love