Love was never part of his plan...then again, neither was she…
Seafaring Scotsman Jack Kent has enjoyed his share of trysts with bored society wives, but pleasure--not love--has always been his aim. Until the day he finds his carriage--and his life--invaded by a disheveled American heiress. Even rumpled and torn, nothing can hide Amelia Belford’s enchanting beauty or her fiery will to be free. And for the first time Jack is faced with a woman who arouses in him something more than desire.
Amelia never dreamed her desperate flight from an arranged marriage would find her scrambling out of a church window, landing in a tangle of twigs, and finally darting into the carriage of a stranger. And she never imagined she’d then set sail for his ancestral home--and discover passion in his arms. But Amelia is not the only one with a scandal to her credit. She soon senses pain behind Jack’s caresses--secrets he will not reveal. Just as she breaks through his reserve, a devastating scheme forces them apart. Could the same adventurous spirit that brought them together also be their undoing? Only the truth--and one more impetuous act of courage--will tell.
This overwrought follow-up to Monk's Victorian-era saga, The Prisoner, begins with a bang or, rather, a thud as young American heiress Amelia Belford jumps from a church balcony to escape an arranged wedding to an avaricious, aged duke. In record time, the runaway bride commandeers the carriage and heart of hot-tempered Jack Kent and the fugitive pair head toward the home of the man Amelia thinks she loves, foppish Lord Philmore. When it's revealed that Philmore is really a homosexual fortune-hunter, the two make another spectacular exit and escape to Jack's house in the Scottish highlands. Jack's siblings and servants are all reformed rogues like himself, and they help Amelia become self-sufficient. Meanwhile, Jack contends with saboteurs who are determined to sink his shipping business. Neither of the protagonists are particularly appealing: Jack is a violent, homophobic man with an inferiority complex, and foolhardy Amelia puts up not only with Jack's bad attitude and angry outbursts but also his maltreatment (their two sexual encounters verge on rape). While this twisted relationship won't bother fans of old style bodice-rippers, more modern readers may be hard-pressed to make it past the protagonists' first "intimate" encounter.