Leila Beaumont is a gorgeous and talented portrait painter trapped in a loveless marriage with her profligate husband, Francis. Though long ago, Francis very much played the hero, rescuing and wedding the orphaned 17-year-old Leila - Francis' more recent hedonistic lifestyle of drinking, drugging and womanizing has not only earned him quite a few enemies in London, but lost him the love of his wife.When Francis turns up dead in the Beaumont townhouse, right after a loud and vitriolic argument with his wife, Leila is seen as the primary suspect, innocent though she is. Because of Francis' many enemies and victims, government officials instigate a quiet investigation, many of whom fear fallout from Francis' numerous blackmail and extortion schemes.The man they call on - the sexy blue-eyed Comte d'Esmond - is a man of many talents who has spent the past ten years as one of the government's most trusted covert operatives; a man who also has a dark and treacherous past.Neither Leila, nor Esmond is especially happy to be working together - their relationship is one of intense attraction accompanied by intense resistance. Leila had long ago given up on the idea of love and saw her husband as a means of propriety in London, but now she finds the dangerous Esmond's seductive charm nearly irresistible.But work together they must: Esmond, with a carefully hidden identity that would shock Leila to the core and Leila with her own secrets to keep...It's danger that unites them and it's danger that chains their hearts: Esmond's virility and bold touch enflame Leila's blood...and draw her into the most irresistible intrigue of all...truly passionate love.
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This is one of my favorites. It is especially good if you are already familiar with these characters from Lord of Scoundrels. She uses an amazing amount of sexual tension and the build up to the affair is very well done and believable. I've reread it several times and it never gets old!