By Jo Goodman
Evan Marchman has simply inherited a identify, lands, and a fortune-but is depressing because the new Duke of Westphal, who prefer the intrigue and adventures of the Compass membership to the duties of an property. extra promisingly, he has additionally won a ward-a appealing lady who asks for his reduction in unravelling a secret that might draw them either right into a international of hidden pleasures. Headmistress of a girls academy, Ria Ashby desperately wishes West's support to discover a scholar who has disappeared with out a hint. but she can't support yet be distracted via the promise of ardour at the back of the duke's eco-friendly eyes and roguish grin. quickly their look for the lacking lady leads them to a mystery society constructed from the school's board of governors - an internal sanctum the place sensuality ideas - and gear seduces.
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Anger was insufficient to describe it. Rage was rather more than it was. This was temper on a short tether, the desire to do harm and damn-the-consequences, masked by humor and a careless smile. It made her less afraid for herself than it did for him. Drink in hand, West returned to his chair. Instead of sitting, he hitched his hip on the arm and balanced himself with easy grace. She had been woolgathering, he noted, and wondered at the direction of her thoughts. She was not entirely comfortable in his presence—which he counted as a good thing—but neither had she made any noises about leaving him.
Us? " he asked, prompting her gently to continue. "Who is us? " "My great-grandfather. I was living with him when word came. " It was precisely this sort of revelation that made his head hurt. " Ria regarded him from under the raised sweep of her perfectly arched brows. "I thought I did," she said. "Shall I draw the tree for you? Connect the—" He held up one hand, palm out. "Pray, do not elaborate on that theme. " "Distant," he said. " West leaned back in the chair, closed his eyes, and pressed the crystal curve of his snifter against his forehead.
He asked. "Is it money you require? Assistance hiring someone to do the investigation? " "I could hire anyone," she said. " She watched both of his eyebrows lift in response to her directness. " "No, that was perfectly frank. " Ria refused to be turned from her purpose by his light mockery. "I can offer you compensation, though you will understand that it means I will only be returning my allowance. " West wished he had not stood up because it was just that sort of logic that set him reeling.