Despite his vow to remain a bachelor and sire no children, Octavius Rupert Henry Mayne, eighth earl of Lexden, wed Eleanor Dryden. Their physical connection was explosive—and brief. Regretting the marriage almost before the vow left his lips, Lex banished his new wife to the country.

Now, six years later, she must come back. Lex needs her like he needs a backfiring musket: her fiery temper, her flashing green eyes, the elemental attraction he’s never been able to shake…and her desire to talk. Yet a charade must play out if he is to avenge himself and his father. For that, Eleanor must be silent and compliant. She must not bring “their” son. Above all, she must not pry into his past or his family’s tragic secrets and besiege the desperate fortress around his heart. Otherwise he will be beholden to her, and love, so long denied, shall return.

Young and in love, Lady Vivienne Denton hides her attachment to the Earl Trent from her abusive, controlling father. When Trent’s ardor is discovered, Vivienne knows she must seek him out so they can flee to Gretna Green before the life they mean to have is stolen from them.

Imagine the gall, to be summoned by his former best friend’s widow to this sham of a house party. Thomas, Lord Trent, wants nothing to do with the woman who stole, then destroyed his heart. But Vivienne has a letter for Trent from her deceased husband, and when all is revealed the icy grip around Trent’s chest melts at the prospect of a future he once dreamed impossible.

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Catherine Jones never regretted the loss of her innocence. She forged ahead and made a respectable life for herself as a governess. Things turn bleak, however, when she loses her latest position. If spending a few days—and nights—at Lord Bruton’s scandalous house party earns her the money she needs to survive, she intends to enjoy herself while she’s there. Never does she expect to meet an honorable gentleman.

Hugh Drake attends the house party to help a friend, but meeting Catherine pushes his shameful fantasies to the forefront. When passion explodes, he discovers that the governess has a thing or two to teach him.