A lady with a passion for music and the maestro she challenges in pursuit of a worthy cause find themselves battling villains both past and present as they fight to secure life's greatest rewards—love, marriage, and family.
Stacie—Lady Eustacia Cavanaugh—is adamant marriage is not for her. Haunted by her parents' unhappy union, Stacie believes that, for her, marriage is an unacceptable risk. Wealthy and well-born, she needs for nothing, and with marriage off the table, to give her life purpose, she embarks on a plan to further the careers of emerging local musicians by introducing them to the ton via a series of musical evenings.
Yet despite her noble status, Stacie requires a musical lure to tempt the haut ton to her events, and in the elevated circles she inhabits, only one musician commands sufficient cachet—the reclusive and notoriously reluctant Marquess of Albury.
Frederick, Marquess of Albury, has fashioned a life for himself as a musical scholar, one he pursues largely out of sight of the ton. He might be renowned as a virtuoso on the pianoforte, yet he sees no reason to endure the smothering over-attentiveness of society. Then his mother inveigles him into meeting Stacie, and the challenge she lays before him is...tempting. On a number of fronts. Enough for him not to immediately refuse her.
A dance of subtle persuasion ensues, and step by step, Frederick finds himself convinced that Stacie's plan has real merit and that it behooves him to support her. At least for one event.
Stacie's first musical evening, featuring Frederick as the principal performer, is a massive success—until Fate takes a hand and lands them in a situation that forces them both to reassess.
Does Frederick want more than the sterile, academic life he'd thought was for him?
Can Stacie overcome her deepest fears and own to and reach for her girlhood dreams?
Impulsive, arrogant, and used to getting his own way, Frederick finds his answer easily enough, but his new direction puts him on a collision course with Stacie's fears. Luckily, he thrives on challenges—which is just as well, because in addition to convincing Stacie that love can, indeed, conquer all, he and she must unravel the mystery of who is behind a spate of murderous attacks before the villain succeeds in eliminating all hope of a happy ending.
A classical historical romance set in London and Surrey, in the heart of the ton. Third novel in The Cavanaughs—a full-length historical romance of 122,000 words.
Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens
"Stephanie Laurens' heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong." Cathy Kelly
"Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters." Historical Romance Reviews.
"Stephanie Laurens plays into readers' fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again." Romantic Times Magazine
About the Author
Known for her Regency romances and historical novels, Stephanie Laurens is the bestselling author of the beloved Cynster series which is widely recognized as one of the top series in the genre. She has published over fifty novels, including the Bastion Club series and the Black Cobra Quartet. Laurens has her PhD in Biochemistry but gave up her science career to become a full-time writer. She and her husband live in Australia.