By Jo Goodman

Evan Marchman has simply inherited a identify, lands, and a fortune-but is depressing because the new Duke of Westphal, who prefer the intrigue and adventures of the Compass membership to the tasks of an property. extra promisingly, he has additionally won a ward-a appealing girl who asks for his reduction in unravelling a secret that would draw them either right into a international of hidden pleasures. Headmistress of a women academy, Ria Ashby desperately wishes West's aid to discover a scholar who has disappeared with no hint. but she can't support yet be distracted by way of the promise of ardour at the back of the duke's eco-friendly eyes and roguish grin. quickly their look for the lacking lady leads them to a mystery society constructed from the school's board of governors - an internal sanctum the place sensuality principles - and tool seduces.

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They were far older than the age she had given as her own—wise, perhaps, but also weary. The long journey to London could explain some of it, his harsh treatment of her earlier could explain still more, but neither of those things filled the whole of it. He wondered what these eyes had seen. " he asked, taking in the unrelieved blackness of her attire. The question surprised her. How could he not know that now? " West's slight smile was humorless. "There is no of course about it. Is he your father also?

It was every bit as sharp as a jab to the ribs. He had traded punches in the ring at Gentleman Jackson's salon and not had the wind so cleanly knocked out of him. "You are mistaken," he told her bluntly. " She made a slight, apologetic smile. "You are four-and-twenty," he said. " Ria tempered the urge to smile more deeply. — was palpable. "Your father had rather strict notions of what should be required for my independence. " "Yes. Cholera, I am told. My parents were in India. My father was assigned to the regiments in Delhi and my mother was with him.

West sat down as the colonel pushed his chair closer. Blackwood was still a handsome man; the wasting disease that had laid siege to his legs had not robbed him of his fine looks nor dulled his mind. His reflexes were slower now and a tremor could sometimes be spied in his hands, but he held his own, fixing his quarry with a dark glance that was at once an appraisal and a challenge. Though no longer muscular, he was still fastidious about his appearance and took some pains to make certain his stock was folded in the latest fashion.

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