Catherine Coulter has refined and expanded one of her early Regency romances, The Generous Earl, into this delightful Regency historical romance.
When Ian Carmichael, Fifth Duke of Portmaine, learns that he has inherited a Scottish estate and is the Earl of Penderleigh, he goes to inspect his lands where he meets a household composed of Lady Adella, the dowager countess; her granddaughters, Brandy and her younger sisters; her foppish grandson Percy; and the disinherited Bertrand.
Penderleigh is in ruins, and Ian quickly discovers that Bertrand, who has been acting as steward of the estate, plans to save the land by raising sheep.
Though Ian is attracted to Brandy, he treats her like a sister. But when someone starts shooting at Ian, Brandy saves his life and becomes his "body guard," watching over him in his delirium. One night she crawls into his bed to comfort him, and they make love.
Believing she is unfashionable and unattractive, Brandy refuses to marry Ian. Rejected, he returns to a life of debauchery in London, little knowing she has hired a detective to protect him.
Eventually Ian comes home to Brandy and the Highlands where both great love and danger await.
THE DUKE is a charming love story filled with quirky whimsy and a cast of unusual, meddlesome characters. SENSUAL (Nov., 400 pp., $5.99)