When his father has finally had enough of his profligate ways, Lord Robert Mountford is banished. He needs a job, so he finds a position as the assistant gamekeeper on the estate belonging to Frederica Bracewell’s uncle. Frederica is treated like her uncle’s servant, paying the price for being the illegitimate daughter of a wanton mother. Hiding in the background, speaking little because of her stutter, she tries to remain invisible. When she meets Robert, for the first time she feels beautiful.
When her uncle betroths her to a distant cousin she despises, she realizes she is stronger than she looks. Intrigued by the lovely innocent, Robert sneaks into a masked ball to waltz with her and ends up being accused of theft. Though he is exonerated, he gets himself in more trouble when he helps Frederica avoid her betrothed. As they try to keep her safe, his friends and mother become caught up in foiling Frederica’s uncle’s ruthless scheme. (HARLEQUIN, May, 300 pp., $5.99)