BOOK BLURB: A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .
A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?
In no time, James and Lucinda were ensconced in a discussion that Lizzie found impossible to follow. It seemed to baffle Geoffrey as well, and he gave Lizzie a bemused smile.
“How naughty of James to waylay Miss Cardington’s interest from you,” Lizzie whispered.
Geoffrey nodded. “We are left on our own, it seems.”
He looked more than a little pleased at this prospect, however, and Lizzie took a sip of lemonade to hide the burst of pleasure this gave her. “I am glad you will be coming to Grandmamma’s dinner party. I have missed—” She pulled up short. “That is, I shall look forward to seeing you again.”
“Have you missed me? I am sorry I have not been able to call. I have a clerk who has been helping me organize my business affairs, and unfortunately he seems to have overestimated the actual number of hours in a day.”
His manner softened as he said this, the hard control she’d seen earlier easing up a bit. Lizzie took a moment to savor looking at him, to drink in the joy of being here with him, one of the few precious moments she was storing away for a much more sorrowful day.
“May I surmise that you were not offended by the things I asked you—about my brothers, I mean?”
“No,” she said. “I wanted to share those things with you. However, later I became worried that perhaps they had stirred up unhappy memories—”
“Quite the contrary,” he interrupted. “They helped me very much.”
Their conversation seemed like nothing on the surface, within earshot of James and Lucinda. But Lizzie knew the current running beneath their words was deeper than anyone else could imagine.
Geoffrey took her hand. “I think, I hope, we are friends still, Ria.”
Friends. Given who she was, both in her real and pretended identities, she could expect nothing more. Something in her heart twisted and tumbled, knowing even this would not last. “I—yes, of course we are friends.” She licked her suddenly dry lips and tried again. “I am honored.”
Geoffrey sent a quick glance to James and Lucinda, but they were still deep in discussion. He opened his mouth to speak, but whatever he had been about to say was preempted by the arrival of Lord and Lady Cardington.
“There you are,” Lady Cardington boomed. “We have been looking for you this half hour or more.” She fanned herself. “The crowds! I did not think there were this many people in all of London.”
Geoffrey offered his hand to Lizzie. “Until next week, then.”
Lizzie nodded, trying not to dwell too much on the warmth of his hand or the way she felt oddly unmoored when he released it.
Geoffrey took Lucinda’s arm, and they followed Lord and Lady Cardington back through the crowds toward the entrance. Lizzie was struck with a pang of remorse as she watched the familiar way Geoffrey leaned in toward Lucinda to catch something she was saying.
“What a charming interlude that was,” James remarked.
“Yes,” Lizzie agreed, unable to repress a sigh. “It was.”
For my review of ‘Heiress at Heart’ please visit by clicking on Romantic Crush Junkies Reviews eZine. Thanks!
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