The Countess and The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Published January 25th 2011, February 22nd 2011 by Avon
Next is The Heiress. Suzette is desperately seeking a husband. Her father has gambled them into a scandal again, and Suzette is determined to marry a poor man who will allow her to use her dower to pay off the debts. Her first encounter with Daniel Woodrow is all it takes for her to propose. He's handsome, titled, single, and in need of funds. But Daniel has not been entirely truthful with Suzette. Can he keep up the lie long enough for them to reach Gretna Green? And are a series of near misses just a coincidence or are they being targeted for something more sinister?
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Christiana is an oppressed, disheartened young woman when you first meet her. She has lived through a traumatizing event - being married to a man who is NOTHING like he was when she first met him. So it is not entirely surprising that when he turns up dead, she is not heartbroken. A mad scheme follows when it is learned that her younger sister must find a man to marry ASAP to save the family from ruin and shame. Again.
Meanwhile, the real Earl of Radnor has returned from America with the intention of exposing his twin brother for the fraud he is. He is surprised to find he has a 'wife', and even more surprised to learn that his brother is dead. Richard is a kind man and realizes that exposing the truth now will only hurt Christiana and her family. He tells her who he is and steps back into the life that should have been his. Christiana and Richard have an almost immediate spark and it is great to see her come to life under his gentle care.
Meanwhile, her sister Suzette has found the perfect husband to save her family from ruin: Richard's best friend Daniel. He matches every quality on her list: a titled gentleman who has little money and is in great need of some for his abundant lands. It doesn't hurt that he is also extremely handsome. Suzette proposes to him the very night of their first meeting. Daniel is taken in by Suzette's beauty and also confounded by her excitement over his poor status. Through a series of comical errors (including a dead body dropping out a window!), the two grow close and the engagement is cemented. There's a secret though: Daniel is NOT the poor gentleman he claimed to be. He is, in fact, quite wealthy.
Throughout both books the main characters are trying find out who has killed the Earl imposter. Fiendish plots are revealed, lives are in peril, there is a great misunderstanding, a trip to Gretna Green, a Father's honor is redeemed and someone gets shot! In the end the bad guys are revealed and each couple gets their happily ever after. There is a third Madison sister that was a delightful character. Look for Lisa Madison's story March 2012!