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One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.
After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.
For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.
Heath draws together a couple whose genuine passion and love are hard to resist in her second Hellions of Havisham Regency (after Falling into Bed with a Duke). Edward Alcott is shocked to become the new Earl of Greyling after his identical twin is killed on the safari that was to be their last big adventure together before the birth of the earl's heir. Worrying that the news of the earl's death would cause his wife, Lady Julia, to miscarry a concern in keeping with the era's limited understanding of maternal medicine Edward keeps it secret that the earl has died, announces his own death instead, and poses as his brother until the baby is born. Heath delicately allows Julia to mourn her brother-in-law while giving her enough intuition to realize that the husband who has returned from Africa seems somehow changed and she quite likes the changes. Inevitably, the former ne'er-do-well Edward must reveal the truth to Julia; quite realistically, she is appalled and saddened to realize her actual husband has died. Edward's deception creates several barriers to happiness, and once he and Julia realize they'd like to continue being spouses, they must overcome an ancient English law that forbids relatives by marriage to marry each other. Readers will eagerly follow Edward and Julia's pursuit of an unusual happy ending.