Ballantine, Dec 2004, 6.99 400 pp.
In 1815, the Ton enjoys betting on the ongoing “contest” between Viscount Thorne and his father. Dad, the duke, wants his son married with an heir; so the Duke of Redcliff consistently buys off his son's lovers and tosses eligible women in his path. Christopher finds his sire's actions amusing, but frustrating as he is not ready to wed anyone especially since he has become a member of the Guardians of the Sword sworn to stamp out evil and tyranny.
Someone murders fellow Guardian Nate Lunsford, who named Chris as his sister's guardian. Chris is on the Isle of Cyrene, when artist Diana Sheridan arrives with Nate's sister Amy in hand. Diana is worried that a fortune hunter has captured Amy's affection and thinks only her guardian can keep disaster from happening. Chris agrees to return to London, but insists that Diana, a victim of scandal several years ago, pretend to be his fiancée. That would keep dad in check, enable him to guide Amy, and uncover the identity of the killer. He never anticipated that he wants to marry Diana..
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner