Charles de Talion, un jeune prétentieux à la fortune abondante, fils de Charles-Edouard de Talion, petit-fils de Charles-Edouard Barnabé de Talion, promenait ses dix-neuf printemps dans tous les salons huppés de la région lyonnaise.
Son sujet de conversation favori : la plèbe ! Cet ensemble d'ouvriers et d'employés désargentés qui, selon ses dires, est prêt à tout pour la moindre piécette.
En ce jeudi 13 novembre 1873, il décide de prouver à ses amis la bassesse de cette plèbe en usant d'un stratagème de son invention. Une jeune demoiselle aux grands yeux noirs, ouvrière en soie à la Croix-Rousse, en sera la cible. Mais les stratagèmes les plus habiles ne se concluent pas toujours de la façon prévue.
When fleeing an odious arranged match, the Lady Elizabeth Hayward found herself under the protection of famed court jester Richard Tarleton. But even disguised as the fool's boy apprentice, there was no hiding the fact that she'd fallen hopelessly in love!
Though Tarleton's ready wit had won him royal favor, his tongue was tied in the presence of the sweet-voiced Elizabeth—at least about things that truly mattered. For how could he offer the queen's own goddaughter a gift so lowly as his own foolish heart?
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Such invocations sprang to Lady Tonia's lips when she beheld Sandor Matskella, the sworn agent of her eternal rest. Yet his raw masculine power instead roused her slumbering womanhood to the dawn of eternal joy!
Sandor Matskella looked upon Tonia Cavendish and saw many things: a woman not of his people; a woman promised to God; a woman condemned to die. But when he removed the executioner's mask from his face—and his soul—he knew that she was the fated bride of his heart!
He knew that looks could be deceiving. And though his friends warned him that Rosie would be nothing but trouble, there was something very special about the woman beneath the tangled mane of hair and the dirt-smudged face.
Indeed, something so special that he brazenly wagered he could teach the seemingly ordinary strumpet to be a lady fit to meet the king in less than a fortnight. But little did the jaded knight suspect that Rosie would be the first woman to teach him the true meaning of love!
Nay, Mistress Alicia Broom was a long-stemmed beauty with a dangerous secret of royal proportions. But for a chance to claim her as his promised bride, Thomas Cavendish would fight the hounds of hell…!
Though plots and plans and barking dogs seemed to pursue the Earl of Thornbury wherever he went, Alicia knew she'd found a champion. Mayhap Thomas Cavendish was not what people expected, but the gentle knight had become her heart's desire.
En secret, sir Brampton, tuteur de la jeune Alicia Broom, vient demander à sir Cavendish d’accepter un mariage entre sa pupille et l’un de ses trois fils. Alicia, lui explique-t-il, a besoin de protection, car elle n’est autre que la fille naturelle du roi déchu et serait menacée de mort si le nouveau roi découvrait son existence. Aussitôt, le pacte est conclu : sir Cavendish porte son choix sur son benjamin, Thomas, un adolescent taciturne et solitaire. Puis dix longues années s’écoulent, durant lesquelles Thomas, devenu comte de Thornbury, oublie jusqu’à l’existence d’Alicia. Jusqu’à ce jour où une jeune femme se présente au château et affirme être sa promise...
Playing at disguises with her betrothed, Lady Katherine Fitzhugh knew not which role she had embraced, for pretending to be her cousin in order to discover the true nature of the stranger she was bound to by royal decree was proving to be much more complicated than she had planned!
Only a fool entered marriage blindly, and Sir Brandon Cavendish was no one's fool. Yet disguised as his own best friend, he was now faced with a ticklish dilemma. For it was fast becoming clear that the woman he truly desired was not his simpering intended, but her strong-willed and passionate cousin!
Though Sir Francis played the man of leisure, Jessica saw through his disguise. The man was dangerous—in ways that thrilled the private places of her heart. But would his desire still run hot when her true self was revealed—and her secret shame unmasked?
With such a prize at stake, how hard could it be for a clever knight to spirit one young woman away from her captors? How hard, indeed! For the ungrateful Belle refused to leave. And suddenly the simple rescue had become a full-blown invasion, with mischief and mayhem and a devious plan to ride the castle of all its vermin at a haunted banquet one Halloween night!