Widow Meg Halgate will use any ruse to get on a ship bound for England. She followed the drum with her husband, then worked as the regiment’s doctor’s assistant; she lost her reputation long ago, so pretending to be a wounded officer’s wife isn’t beyond her.
Major Ross Brandon is coming home to take over his title and estate when he jumps into the water to rescue a child and is in turn rescued by Meg. He pays her back by going along with her plan and offering her the position of housekeeper when they reach England. Since she needs money to locate her sisters, Meg accepts, knowing her attraction to Ross could be her downfall. Ross has secrets of his own, but Meg begins turning the cold mansion into a warm home and Ross strives to convince her to become his mistress. Meg refuses, though she longs for Ross’ love. Until their secrets are revealed and the past put aside they cannot be free to love. (HARLEQUIN, Aug., 300 pp., $6.25)