STORY: Adopting the guise of a buttoned-up spinster is nothing new for Chloe Hardwick. But under the watchful eye of her unnervingly handsome employer, the Marquess of Marland, for the first time Chloe yearns to be unbuttoned! Yet he sees her only as his assistant, the efficient Hardwick—not as Chloe the woman.
Determined to escape Braedon’s cold detachment, Chloe leaves. And when he pursues her to London, determined to entice her back, Braedon is utterly unprepared for what he finds there—the real Chloe Hardwick…
REVIEW: The novel opens as Braedon Denning, the seventh Marquess of Marland returns home after spending some time abroad, to find that this “Mr.Hardwick” (upon whom he’s been relying during his absence to oversee building a new wing to Castle Denning which would allow him to better display and protect his vast collection of rare and antique weapons), is actually a woman.
Chloe Hardwick, the adopted daughter of George Hardwick who has passed away from a wasting illness some sixteen months ago, has lived at Castle Denning while learning everything from her father before he passed away. The knowledge, contacts and capabilities she acquired were unsurpassed.
While Chloe is nervous at finally meeting the Marquess, she is cool and calm as she explains the changes and improvements that have been made during his absence. Although impressed at Chloe’s capabilities, he is unimpressed at her almost manly clothes and dress with lots of buttons, rather like a gentleman’s morning coat.
The cold detachment with which Braedon continually treats Chloe results in her decision to leave Castle Denning and journey to London. However, with her absence, things are not running smoothly at the estate.
Therefore, the Marquess decides to go to London to see if he can entice Chloe to return. When he meets her again, he is enthralled with the beautiful woman he finds. She has begun to dress in a more feminine way and he becomes smitten.
While in London, Braedon and Chloe team up in their quest to find and buy the very rare and valuable weapon known as Skanda’s Spear to add to Braedon’s collection. They are up against some dangerous and unscrupulous people who wish to find and own the spear as well. These foes will stop at nothing to keep Braedon and Chloe from getting the Spear.
I found this novel to be a bit difficult to follow at times. I simply did not care for the character of Braedon as his cold and detached manner hardly seemed to change throughout the novel. However, I am sure that readers that enjoy learning about antique weaponry, wouldn’t mind reading it.
Connie Fischer for b2b