Lily Lambert applies to be companion to the twin wards of John Middleton, Earl of Penworth. If she didn’t need the job, she’d walk out the door after Melissa and Melinda threaten her with bodily harm. If they weren’t leaving for Scotland the next day, the earl wouldn’t hire such a beauty.
One day a desperate Lily buys a bottle of “the spinster curse” cure, hoping to drink it while staring at the local schoolmaster; instead the earl walks into her path. John is enchanted by Lily’s wit and beauty and begins to believe her when she tells him his wards are incorrigible. As their relationship changes into a game of seduction, his estranged mother, brother and friend, as well as the twins, all begin their own affairs, turning the area into a hotbed of desire. (BERKLEY SENSATION, Dec., 380 pp., $7.99)