Society dictates that a governessshould be modest, quiet, and keep to herself.
She should never contradict her employer.
And, above all, she must not attract the attention of any male in the household.
But Michael Severson doesn't see Isabel Halloran as a governess—he sees her as a woman, one whose lush curves cannot be hidden behind a dowdy gown ... and whose efforts at hiding her sparkling intelligence are betrayed by her wit.
Years before, Michael had left Regency England, falsely accused of a crime. Now he is back, dedicated to seeking retribution—but not to taking a bride. But when his scandalous actions compromise Isabel's reputation, he does the unthinkable and offers her his hand—a marriage in name only.
But although his bride's passions are untried, Isabel's sensuality clearly matches his own. And with each day, and night, that passes, Michael becomes determined that every kiss, every caress, will be made with one goal: to seduce his proper wife into tender submission.
Having fled to the colonies to avoid being framed for murder, Michael Severson returns years later to England to find the real killer in Maxwell's latest Regency confection, a slightly darker entry than her usual fare (Seduction of an English Lady, etc.). Michael needs a way into society if he's to make any headway exonerating himself. At a house party in the country, the perfect opportunity presents itself in the form of Miss Isabel Halloran, a governess. The two find themselves in a compromising position from which marriage seems the only escape but Isabel harbors a secret of her own, and she's not sure she can trust Michael to keep it. The murdered mistress who haunts the lovers weighs down the story, and the central mystery remains underdeveloped until the latter half of the book, when suddenly the secondary characters begin piling up. In addition, the chemistry between the protagonists isn't as convincing as it could be because Maxwell too often tells rather than shows their attraction. Still, the author's fans will warm to her appealing protagonists, even if there isn't much to distinguish this effort from the many other Regency mystery-romances crowding bookstore shelves.