It was not the proposal Allison Weatherby expected. Rather than marriage, her dear friend and distant kinsman Thorne DAumont, Marquess of Silverthorne, has offered her carte blanche instead! Determined not to succumb to his considerable charms, the beautiful widow decides that the only way she can secure her financial independence is to find the long-lost family treasure.

But looking for the legendary trove in the old castle ruins has been hazardous to the health of more than one family member. After his father and brother were killed while hunting for the treasure, Thorne has strictly forbidden any further ventures into the perilous environs. Surely, however, she can trust the Silver Ladys beckoning presence to keep her safe.

Determined never to risk his heart in marriage, Thorne nevertheless finds himself unable to deny his feelings for his cousin. But even if he is willing to take the chance at last, how can he reconcile his need for an heir with marriage to an obviously barren widow?

Although the resolution of the romance is not coordinated with the resolution of the mystery subplot, Ms. Calvin creates empathetic characters, a suitably chilling pair of villains and an intriguing ghost for our reading pleasure. (Dec., 224 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer