With secrets, guilt, murder and a touch of mayhem, the capable Cornick pens an emotionally charged story that tells how a love lost and then found can heal a wounded heart.

When Sir Montague Fortune invokes an ancient law requiring all unmarried women of Fortune's Folly to marry or pay a tax, the women band together to foil his plans. At the front of this little band is Laura Cole, the improvised Dowager Duchess of Cole.

Dexter Anstruther is sent to the town to investigate a murder and ordered to find a wealthy wife. In a quiet town filled with fortune hunters, he finds Laura, who four years ago turned him away after they spent one passionate night together. They cannot ignore the sensual pull between them and soon become lovers. But when he proposes marriage she declines, for she holds a secret that, if discovered, would destroy their love. (HQN, Jun., 384 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Joan Hammond