She Would Be Safe Among Strangers,
Laura Martin assured herself. But would the cloak of anonymity she wore to escape a hellish marriage also protect her from the discerning gaze of the Earl of Beaulieu? Or would the famed Puzzlebreaker discover her deepest secrets as easily as he had the key to her heart?
Desire filled the earl when looking upon the enigmatic Laura Martin. Reclusive as she was, he saw the tender heart she'd hidden beneath the chilly facade and recognized her as his destined bride. But could he teach her to trust him enough to let him into her life—forever?
Jane Austen like in its assured, subtle pacing and keen awareness of the barriers between the social classes, this absorbing romance is a testament to Justiss's increasing skill. Though Justiss (The Proper Wife) pulls several stock ingredients from the Regency pantry the nobleman who secretly assists the government, the gently bred lady who conceals her beauty, the dreadful secret from the past that haunts them she allows emotional urgency, not flashy and unlikely drama, to propel the reader toward the story's climax. Drawn out of London to the countryside by news of a hunting accident, Beau Bradsleigh, Earl of Beaulieu, discovers Mrs. Laura Martin, a withdrawn young "widow" with a mysterious past, tending to his brother's wounds. Beau's initial interest in the puzzle of her past quickly turns into fascination with Laura herself. She reciprocates his feelings but conceals the truth from him for fear that her abusive husband, from whom she's been hiding and who travels in Beau's social circles, will find her if she becomes Beau's mistress. While convincingly outlining Laura's dread of her husband, Justiss deftly depicts Beau and Laura's blossoming romance. With this exceptional Regency-era romance, Justiss adds another fine feather to her writing cap.