A woman with a shocking past…
Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.
And the man who can promise a future filled with love…
Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?
Barnes's solid fourth Diamonds in the Rough Regency introduces a duchess and a gentleman whose reputations are vastly different from their true personalities. Viola Cartwright, Duchess of Tremaine, is an enigma and doesn't mingle with her own social class. Instead she runs St. Agatha's Hospital, providing free care to the poor with the help of physician Florian Lowell, Duke of Redding. Viola's deceased husband, Peter, Duke of Tremaine, married her on his deathbed and named her his sole heir; his son, Robert, has returned to London, intent on restoring his fortune by having Peter's will declared invalid. Henry Lowell, Florian's brother, is shot in a duel and treated at St. Agatha's. Viola is determined to resist Henry's charm while caring for him during his convalescence, but he tells her that the rumors about his rakish ways are untrue. As Henry and Viola grow closer, Viola must decide whether she is ready to give up her independence to wed him. Unconventional and progressive aristocrats, sensual romance, and a swift-moving plotline add allure to this capable novel.