Valerian Hawkesworth, Duke of Farminster in chilly London and Aurora Kimberly on the lush Caribbean island of St. Timothy are stunned to learn they are betrothed. When Aurora realizes that Valerian is on his way to make her his bride, she lets her step-sister, Cally take her place; after all, Cally dreams of being a duchess, while Aurora longs for freedom.
It appears that her plan has been a great success until Aurora visits Cally a year later. She finds an unhappily married couple, each living separate lives and without truly sharing the marriage bed. But even more horrifying is the spiraling desire Aurora begins to feel for Valerian.
Valerian is captivated by his vivacious, intelligent sister-in-law and realizes his mistake, but it isnt until Cally dies in childbirth that the depth of the deception is truly revealed.
No longer able to deny their passions, Aurora and Valerian wed, causing a scandal that propels them into Londons high society, into a passionate union, and a danger they never anticipated.
Bertrice Small takes on Georgian England with the same verve and passion for color, history and sensuality that she has brought to the harems of the East and the high seas of Elizabethan England. Readers will find DECEIVED more like Betrayed than the more adventurous Skye OMalley, a good solid and very entertaining, sensual read. VERY SENSUAL (Feb., 400 pp., $6.99)