But when the beautiful young Sadira Bourne is told she is to marry him, she is appalled. Not only because she does not love him or even like him, but also because he has little regard for her and is actually in love with her stepmother, the Marchioness of Langbourne.
The Earl only means to marry Sadira to save her stepmother’s reputation and indeed his after her husband discovered her affair and is intent on divorce, which would take a long time and cause a major Society scandal, which everyone involved in will suffer from.
Wickedly the Marchioness gives Sadira little choice, threatening the lives of her beloved horse and dog and assuring her that she will besmirch Sadira’s name forever in the Social world.
Refusing to marry a man she will never love, Sadira flees to Morocco to become a student of the famed Medical Missionary, Father Christopher.
But little does she know how much her intelligence, sylph-like figure, striking blue eyes and ineffable beauty have entranced her forced fiancé.
Or that he is setting out in his fine yacht to come to her rescue.
And little does either the Earl or Saira know in what terrifying circumstances they will be together once more!
The bet concerns whether they can successfully replicate the experiment in George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, in which Eliza Doolittle is taken from the flower market in London and trained to pass as a ‘lady’ in Society.
Unbeknown to her, Sir Hugo’s niece, the beautiful, innocent orphan, Lorena, whom he summons back to England from her French Convent School, is chosen by him to play the part and is taken to meet the sophisticated Windlemere Set made up of the Duke’s spoilt entourage.
On arrival with her uncle at the Duke’s palatial stately home, Mere, Lorena is overawed by her surroundings and by the dashing and handsome Duke.
And for his part the Duke is captivated by Lorena’s intelligence, honesty and loveliness. Not only is Lorena capable, it seems, of being accepted by his snobbish friends.
She inspires respect as well – and even love.
After being knocked out with a drugged coffee, she finds she’s been duped. The boys have kidnapped her on the orders of their leader – a handsome, charismatic man the people have named ‘Juarez’ after a Mexican hero.
But it is not ransom he seeks. He needs her money to build a dam that will end a drought and save the lives of his starving people – and to get that money he intends to marry Orina!
Orina is furious but there’s nothing she can do. However, soon the plight of Juarez’ people melts her heart and when at last the water flows, and Juarez sets her free, she realises that he is still the captor of her heart!
On arrival, she finds the Duc as surly and rude as he is handsome. Worse still he hates the English and she struggles to win him over while resisting the attentions of the Duc’s dashing cousin the Comte, who is rumoured to be a murderer.
And soon, despite herself, Arletta finds herself losing her heart to the haughty Frenchman who despises everything she stands for. And who, surely, can never feel anything for her but contempt.
Riches to rags. … Chaos continues. … Murders abound. … Honestly?
Doreen Montgomery’s new life in Kelowna was supposed to be a fresh start after a nasty split from her husband of fourteen years, plus a chance to get her bearings and her life back on track. Instead her first week in her new hometown was spent digging up dead bodies, chasing clues, and getting in Corporal Mack Moreau’s way.
But now that the old cold case has been solved, and the murderer brought to justice, Doreen believes things might go her way this week. When Mack hires her to whip his mother’s garden into shape, it seems like a second chance, both for Doreen’s new beginning in Kelowna and for her budding relationship with Mack.
But, instead of digging up Mrs. Moreau’s struggling begonias and planting them in a better location, Doreen discovers another set of bones … and another mystery to solve. As the clues pile up, Mack makes it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want or need her help, but Doreen can’t resist the lure of another whodunit. As she and Mack butt heads and chase red herrings, Doreen’s grandmother, Nan, sets odds and places bets on who solves the crime first.
All while a murderer is watching …