The saucy Yvette de Maupassant is used to danger. She's spent the last 10 years spying for England in Napoleon's court. Now that her work has been discovered, she must hide, and what better place than the remote wooded estate of the Earl of Carrolton? Her friend Miss Thorn and that delightful cat Fortune place her in a position where she can pretend to be companion to the earl's sickly mother. Yet one look at the earl has Yvette rethinking why she wants to stay.
Gregory, Earl of Carrolton, is used to power. So why does one moment in the company of his mother and spinster sister leave him feeling powerless? And why does the look in a certain Frenchwoman's eyes leave him weak at the knees? As danger draws closer, Gregory and Yvette must work together to protect her, his family, and the future of England, as they discover the greatest danger and delight is falling in love.
This sweet, clean Regency romance is the sequel to Never Borrow a Baronet. Fortune's Brides: Only a matchmaking cat can hunt true love. Here's a taste:
Men. They must have been discussing what to do about her situation, yet they all stared at her as if she'd floated down from the ceiling dressed in chicken feathers. Mr. Villers's mouth even hung open.
"Vite, vite," Yvette said, coming to join them. "You must be quick. Meredith is with her ladyship, but I will be wanted shortly."
Mr. Mayes brightened. She'd met the solicitor last month at Foulness Manor, the home of her friend Harry. Of course he would want news of Meredithunless Yvette missed her guess, he intended to court the lady.
"Miss Thorn is still here?" he asked.
"For the time being," the earl told him. Then he stepped forward to take Yvette's hand in his. Such a large hand. Hers disappeared inside it, yet she felt perfectly comfortable.
"Miss de Maupassant," he said, "Mr. Mayes and Mr. Villers came to let us know they have identified the man pursuing you. You must be brave. It is your cousin."
The room dimmed. She must have swayed on her feet, for his hand slipped around her waist as if to hold her upright. She clung to his hand, to his warmth. She could not let her fear rule her.
"I should have known Claude would be involved," she made herself say. "I am only surprised he crossed the Channel himself. Where is he now?"
"We're not sure," Mr. Mayes admitted. "One of our best men, Lord Trevithan, nearly caught him in London, but he managed to escape."
He would, even from the dashing Lord Trevithan, who'd recruited her for a spy. Her cousin was a survivor. So many wrongs could be laid at his door, yet he always escaped capture, like a cockroach scuttling away from the light.
"You're safe here," the earl said in his deep voice, hand still holding hers. "He has no idea where you are."
Yvette shook her head. "He had no idea where I was. Why do you think he allowed you to see him in London? He wanted you to know he was in England. You hurried to tell me, and he will hurry to follow you."
Mr. Villers straightened, and Mr. Mayes' handsome face tightened.
"You're right," the solicitor said. "We were fools. Carrolton, there's nothing for it now. We'll have to find another place for Miss de Maupassant."
The earl stiffened, but once more the room seemed to darken. Leave Carrolton Park? She had only been here a few days, but she felt as if ribbons bound her to the place. Why? She owed them only her thanks.
But who would answer Lady Carrolton's bell?
Who would depress Lady Lilith's notions?
Who would smile encouragement to a beleaguered earl over dinner, share secrets and plans in the corridors?
He still had not released her hand, was gazing down at her, face troubled. Did he fear the danger she had brought to his beautiful home?
Or was he also troubled that she might leave?