In the middle of a ball, Hugh Castle, the Earl of Monnow, is distressed when the woman he intends to marry tosses their betrothal in his face with a parting sally that “being an earl does not excuse being a bore.” Wanting to escape from the gossip and curious glances, Hugh joins his brother on a their boat, hoping to forget the entire affair. Unfortunately, a violent storm capsizes their boat, and when Hugh desperately tries to save his brother’s life, he fails, and barely makes it to shore.
On the shore, Hugh finds the wreckage of his boat and recognizes evidence of sabotage. Sick at heart, he realizes he was never meant to return to dock. But whoever tried to murder him killed his younger brother instead, and the loss inflames Hugh's desire for revenge. Grimly determined, he travels to London and enlist the aid of the Second Sons Inquiry Agency to uncover the murderer and gain justice for his brother.
In the meantime, Miss Helen Archer also attended Hugh's ball in expectation of joining the celebration for his betrothal, but the event seemed destined for disaster. She arrives late, the earl makes no announcement, and Helen manages to lose the fabled (but cursed) Peckham necklace her sister reluctantly loaned to her. Unwilling to admit her carelessness, Helen rashly decides to return to the earl’s estate and retrieve it before anyone realizes it is missing.
Hugh's nephew, Edward Leigh-Brown, is also setting out on his own adventure. His aunts have threatened to send him to the Earl of Monnow, his purportedly cruel uncle, for discipline, but Edward has had enough of female interference. He's going to run away to join the navy and like his idol, Lord Nelson, become a military hero.
But finding his way to London is a lot harder than the young boy expects, and he’s soon lost. When he bumps into Helen at an inn, he’s more than happy to accept a ride in her carriage, even if she's determined to escort him to an inquiry agency to hire someone to locate the family he doesn’t want located.
When Hugh, Helen, and Edward meet in London at Second Sons, Helen impulsively decides to join Hugh when he returns home, intrigued by his plan. They will disguise themselves as servants in order to pursue their secret goals. Hugh intends to uncover a killer, Helen hopes to find her necklace, and Edward just wants the opportunity to escape to sea.
As the adventure begins, Helen and Hugh discover an budding love that makes them almost forget their purpose. And as their attraction grows, Hugh realizes protecting Helen and Edward may be more important than revenge, until tragedy strikes and he fears their deception may end in another death.
Witty dialog, danger, endearing characters, and a Regency masquerade add up to an adventure like none other!
NOTE TO READERS: This book was previously released under the title of ESCAPING NOTICE.
About Amy Corwin
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Published March 17, 2012
by Fireside Romances.
History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction.