Bold, passionate and possessive, the Cynster men let nothing stand in their way when it comes to claiming the women of their hearts.
Gerrard Debbington, Vane Cynster's brother-in-law, is one of London's most eligible gentlemen. Uninterested in marriage, his driving passion is to paint the fabled gardens of Lord Tregonning's Hellebore Hall -- an opportunity that is now at hand...if Gerrard agrees to create an honest portrait of Tregonning's daughter as well.
Gerrard chafes at wasting his talents on some simpering miss, only to discover that Jacqueline Tregonning stirs him as no other. Certainly, she is beautiful, but it is her passionate nature that strikes sparks with Gerrard's own, igniting desire and sweeping them into each other's arms, convincing Gerrard that he has found his ideal soul mate -- the lady he must have as his wife.
But something is horribly wrong at Hellebore Hall. Evil and lies are reaching out to ensnare Jacqueline -- and Gerrard will have to move Heaven and Earth to protect the remarkable woman who, for him, personifies the truth about love...
The latest in Laurens's beloved Cynster series takes a gothic turn, wrapping suspense and eroticism into a potent package. Dashing Gerrard Debbington is an acclaimed landscape painter, Lord Vane Cyster's prot g , and the ton's most eligible bachelor. All he lacks is the chance to paint the beautiful, unusual gardens at Hellebore Hall, the Cornwall home of reclusive Lord Tregonning. One day, the opportunity drops in his lap so long as he agrees to also paint a portrait of Lord Tregonning's daughter. Reluctant to spend months in the company of a vapid society chit, Gerrard almost refuses, but the lure of the gardens proves too strong. At Hellebore Hall, Gerrard discovers that he's in deeper than he bargained for. Jacqueline, Lord Tregonning's daughter, is a remarkable young woman, and she inspires both his artistic passion and his love. She is also widely suspected to be the cause of two deaths: that of her former fianc , who disappeared two years before, and her mother, who mysteriously fell to her death into the brooding Garden of Night. Lord Tregonning, convinced that a good portrait portrays the true nature of its subject, believes that Gerrard's depiction of Jacqueline will prove his daughter's innocence. So who is the real killer? The heat between Gerrard and Jacqueline sizzles and sparks, and the story consistently surprises in Laurens's best Regency yet.
A painter’s obsessive insight
Gerrard is desperate to paint the fabulous gardens at Hellebore Hall in Cornwall, that few have seen and none have painted. [I guess this is the author’s take on what are now known as The Lost Gardens of Heligan.] However, the only way to gain permission is to paint a portrait of the daughter of the house. Gerrard doesn’t want to paint a spoiled heiress but eventually agrees, only to discover when he gets to the Hall that he was wrong and very much wishes to paint her - in fact she quickly becomes his obsession. It is not long before he realises there is something terribly wrong going on in this little corner of paradise and resolves to free Jacqueline from the nightmare she finds herself in. I enjoyed most of this book, though I did want to knock some sense into Gerrard’s head at times.