by Shannon Donnelly
Terrance Winslow is having his usual run of bad luck. On his way to a duel, he discovers his scheduled opponent dead by the roadside, shot in the back. He dismounts, examines the body, picks up the pistol lying nearby—and is immediately spotted by the dead man's nephew. The nephew rides off to declare to the world that Winslow is a murderer! Riding after him to explain, Winslow is thrown from his horse and manages to break his leg in the fall. His day is not starting off well.
Fortunately, he is soon found by Sylvain Harwood, a young woman who has long been his neighbor and has long harbored feelings for him. She takes him home and stashes him in an unused wing of her family estate, where she can tend his injuries and keep him out of sight. But the problem remains: word will spread that Winslow gunned down Dunscombe to clear the way to continue his liaison with Lady Dunscombe. How can he possibly prove his innocence?
The story that follows involves a good deal of adventure and some unexpected plot twists. Winslow must disguise himself as a groom, strike a bargain with a shrewd Bow Street Runner, and perform a number of other deeds he never thought he would be driven to. Sylvain does her best to help, but sometimes she drives him to distraction with her unconventional ways. Adventure is only the surface layer of this story, however. It's also about people learning to question their assumptions and to deal with disturbing emotions.
I found this book very entertaining. I like novels that don't let me predict what will happen next. And I like a hero and heroine who are obviously right for each other, even when it takes them a while to figure it out. Add to this the emotional depth of the story, and it makes a quite satisfactory read.
“Sylvain has often longed to be a help to Terrance Winslow, who seems to involve himself in one disaster after another. But now that his life is in danger, she determines to save him, no matter what he says about it!”
November 2003, 224 pages
Ruggedly handsome Terrance Winslow has spent his happiest hours pursuing the fairer sex without regret or repercussion--until the day a jealous husband who has challenged him to a duel is found murdered. Terrance must elude the law while trying to prove his innocence. But there is danger at every turn--and the greatest peril of all may be that of losing his heart. . . .
Sylvain Harwood knows only too well that Terrance Winslow is a heartache for any woman. When she finds him gravely injured, however, she is compelled to help him uncover the truth and clear his name. Yet she is determined that the dashing rogue never learn one important secret: she fell in love with him long ago. . . .