Signet, May 2004, 6.99, 384 pp.
In 1816 widow Laura Gardeyne begins to wonder if her brother-in-law Jack wants her three year old son Harry dead. Laura knows that Jack is a highly regarded vicar who seems to do the right things for his flock and is much kinder towards his wife and child then her deceased spouse Hal had been to her and Harry. Little incidents make her ponder whether the good vicar wants to insure he is the heir to the Skylark fortune and not his nephew.
Stephen Ball has loved Laura seemingly forever though he lost her to Hal. When he learns about her fears, he vows to keep her safe and his dead rival's offspring safe. When another potential heir surfaces with the return of a “slave” from the east, Laura and Stephen conduct inquiries into who this person is and what is their claim. As they work together to uncover the identity of this possible beneficiary and to keep Harry safe, Laura falls in love with her protector. However, paranoia does not exclude that someone wants you dead and even a loving rogue may not be enough to keep mother and son safe.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner