At social gathering in London in 1814 Lord Darius Cantwell, recently back from the war, cannot fathom why he is attending. All his thoughts take him back to the battlefield until she walks into the room.
She is Claire McFarlane, Countess of Ashkirk and he finds out as their hostess introduces them. But Darius knows this can't be true, for the last year and more he has been in the battlefield with his friend from childhood, the Count of Ashkirk, and not once did his friend mention being married.
Determined to discover the reasons for her ruse, Darius starts with a dance and finds more intimate ways to determine Claire's ploys and plots. For Claire, Lord Cantwell seemed the only one able to answer her disturbing questions concerning her husband and why he left her the way he did.
I have enjoyed Ms. Dafoe's writing before and this book was no exception. She brings her remarkable talent with the written word to full force in this "quickie" book without leaving the reader feeling the story was only partially told. I could have wished for more at the end but only because I enjoyed the story enough I didn't want to leave my new friends.
Haunted by war, Darius Cantwell is convinced everything around him is false, a mere pretense of innocence — especially the Scottish beauty who claims to be the wife of his best friend. Searching for her husband who abandoned her, Claire McFarlane has come to London penniless, desperate and still a virgin. Or so she says. But how could any man have left such a delectable bride untouched? Darius himself can barely keep his hands off her.
Lord Cantwell is Claire's last hope of discovering her husband's fate — but no man has ever made her burn the way Darius does. And it's obvious he believes her a liar. There's only one way she can prove her honesty — surrender her innocence to this grim, angry lord.