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Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, awaits his new bride at the altar - when a ragged beggar woman races down the aisle instead. The cream of the ton see him stare, shocked, then declare that this is his late wife! One night of passion is all he remembers of Lily, the woman he'd wed, loved, and lost on the battlefield in Portugal. Now he must endeavour to honour his commitment to her - regardless of the gulf that lies between them.
Lily wants only to start a new life - with a husband who truly loves her. She leaves Wyatt to learn how to meet his world on her terms and upon her return Lily soon becomes the toast of the ton, every inch a countess fit for the earl. Wyatt vows to prove to his remarkable wife that what he feels for her is more than desire, that what he wants from her is much more than simply one night for love . . .
Bestselling author Balogh (The Last Waltz) bursts the bounds of genre in this emotionally complex Regency. Enchanting and lovely Lily Doyle, a sergeant's daughter, is hurriedly married to Neville Wyatt, Major Lord Newbury, in Portugal, after her father is killed in a military skirmish: if she's captured by the French, her status as an officer's wife will protect her. Another battle ensues, and Neville, who's wounded, wakes up believing that Lily has been killed. More than a year later, back in England, a very much alive Lily interrupts Neville's second wedding. Aside from one jilted bride, all's as it's meant to be. But whatever seemed right and good in Portugal is suddenly terribly wrong in England. Lily's no lady: illiterate and rough around the edges, she's hardly the proper material for an earl's wife. Love may not conquer all. A passionate novel with mature, compelling characters who struggle for self-knowledge and for the survival of their loves, this is one of Balogh's best.