A lady with a passion for music and the maestro she challenges in pursuit of a worthy cause find themselves battling villains both past and present as they fight to secure life’s greatest rewards—love, marriage, and family.
Stacie—Lady Eustacia Cavanaugh—is adamant marriage is not for her. Haunted by her parents’ unhappy union, Stacie believes that, for her, marriage is an unacceptable risk. Wealthy and well-born, she needs for nothing, and with marriage off the table, to give her life purpose, she embarks on a plan to further the careers of emerging local musicians by introducing them to the ton via a series of musical evenings.
Yet despite her noble status, Stacie requires a musical lure to tempt the haut ton to her events, and in the elevated circles she inhabits, only one musician commands sufficient cachet—the reclusive and notoriously reluctant Marquess of Albury.
Frederick, Marquess of Albury, has fashioned a life for himself as a musical scholar, one he pursues largely out of sight of the ton. He might be renowned as a virtuoso on the pianoforte, yet he sees no reason to endure the smothering over-attentiveness of society. Then his mother inveigles him into meeting Stacie, and the challenge she lays before him is…tempting. On a number of fronts. Enough for him not to immediately refuse her.
A dance of subtle persuasion ensues, and step by step, Frederick finds himself convinced that Stacie’s plan has real merit and that it behooves him to support her. At least for one event.
Stacie’s first musical evening, featuring Frederick as the principal performer, is a massive success—until Fate takes a hand and lands them in a situation that forces them both to reassess.
Does Frederick want more than the sterile, academic life he’d thought was for him?
Can Stacie overcome her deepest fears and own to and reach for her girlhood dreams?
Impulsive, arrogant, and used to getting his own way, Frederick finds his answer easily enough, but his new direction puts him on a collision course with Stacie’s fears. Luckily, he thrives on challenges—which is just as well, because in addition to convincing Stacie that love can, indeed, conquer all, he and she must unravel the mystery of who is behind a spate of murderous attacks before the villain succeeds in eliminating all hope of a happy ending.
A classical historical romance set in London and Surrey, in the heart of the ton. Third novel in The Cavanaughs—a full-length historical romance of 122,000 words.
Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens
“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” Cathy Kelly
“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.” Historical Romance Reviews.
“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” Romantic Times Magazine
"Stacie and Frederick, both members of the nobility, have long opposed marriage for reasons of their own. The love story that eventually blossoms between them will please historical romance fans!" Kristina B., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing
This fast-moving historical romance features more than a few delicious twists that represent Laurens at her best, serving up her fine blend of romance and intrigue in such a way that her readers have learned to expect the unexpected.” Angela M., Copy Editor, Red Adept Editing
“In her lyrical new romance, New York Times Bestselling Author Stephanie Laurens masterfully weaves a taut tale of fiery passion, soaring love, and spellbinding intrigue set against the impeccable manners and mores of nineteenth-century England.” Rene R., Proofreader, Red Adept Editing