A Dangerous Beauty
Forbidden to marry her truelove, Carolinne settles for his titled brother. She endures three years of abuse, until her brother and her old sweetheart discover her injuries and attack her husband, leaving the Earl permanently disabled. She nurses him faithfully, leading a dreary life. Then her husband's heir arrives, changing her life forever. More
Carolinne's alwasys been mystified by her effect on men. They've pursued her since she reached her teens, but she loves only one man. A dark secret prevents her from wedding him, and brokenhearted, she accepts his much older brother, heir to an earldom. Lord Develon is obsessed with her beauty, but when she fails to show the affection he expects, he uses her cruelly. Insanely jealous of his younger brother, the earl plots to get an heir, even inviting his coterie of peers to use her, vowing to accept any male offspring as his successor. Deeply depressed, she builds an emotional wall around her soul. But her brother and her former sweetheart discover her injuries and conspire to attack Carolinne's husband. Permanently disabled, he can no longer attack her physically, but he uses his vicious tongue when she taunts him with her freedom. Knowing he's near death, he summons his heir,haughty, wealthy Frayne Winterlake and schemes with him to seduce her. If he gets her pregnant before the earl dies, the child will pass as his legal heir. Uninterested in succeeding to the position, Frayne cooperates. She's still beautiful, though he scorns her integrity, having heard gossip about her wild lifestyle. He's convinced she rejected his best friend for marriage to a title. She desperately longs for a babe of her own; though aware of his contempt, she agrees to undertake a counter-plot. Luring Frayne to her bed, she discovers the passion she never experienced with her husband and he ceases to suspect her sincerity. But Lord Develon reveals his double plot on his deathbed. Frayne is enraged at her betrayal and threaten to confine her in the country, seize her child and prevent her from seeing it. Fearful she might yield to his charms, Carolinne resolves to flee and after the funeral, she and her attendants disappear. A franctic Frayne searches over three continents for four long years before he locates her--and she wants nothing to do with him. Married to another, her son is precisely the age Frayne's child might be. Then a member of the group who so mistreated her appears, threatening her with papers her husband left--accuses her of murder in his death. Lord Rewdon demands she become his mistress. now strong and confident she fights him off until he draws a pistol. Who should she protect: her crippled husband or her former lover?