February 28, 2013
To save her sister, Crystal Rader must woo Reginald, the Viscount Foxley, obtain the Carthage, an ancient stone of great powers, and give it to their evil father, Tom Mrasek. Tom locked a choking device with clockworks around the sister’s neck. Crystal has two months to get what he wants or else her sister will die.
Both Reginald and Tom are immortals. Over the centuries, Tom has sent many a woman to seduce Reginald into giving up the ancient power, and Reginald nearly succumbed twice.
Since Crystal knows nothing about seduction, and despises her abusive father, she doesn’t plan on following through–although she vows to save her sister. But her father’s spies are watching her so she must try her hand at wooing. It’s a juggling act since she also builds her listening ears disguised in her robomaids to spy on establishments her father frequents in an attempt to discover where he has imprisoned her sister.
Reginald is suspicious of her, and isn’t convinced she is who she says she is. However, his dear Lady Eliot–a woman who posed as his grandmother before her death–believed in Crystal, so much so that she named Crystal in her will with the stipulation that Reginald marry the girl in order to obtain Lady Eliot’s fortunes. Crystal claims she had nothing to do with the will, but Lady Eliot befriended her when she most needed it, and she wants to honor her benefactor by trying her hand at courting, which Reginald finds amusing and unusual.
When Reginald discovers her sister is missing, he joins her in the search. He admires her ingenuity with gadgets, and the way she uses her strengths to find her sister. She is both vulnerable and brave, a mixture he finds rare in women. He senses she has secrets. Her attempts to flirt with him in order to honor Lady Eliot captivates him; the mystery of her fascinates him.
Reginald’s determination to find her sister endears him to her. As she gets to know him better, the lies swamp her in guilt. Chivalry shines through from his ancient training as a Knight Templar, with an honor code her father and his acquaintances lack. She never anticipated falling for Reginald herself. Can she keep him from discovering who she is–the daughter of a man who has been Reginald’s archenemy for centuries?
With a little interference from pixies Allegro and Glissando, magic just might separate the truths from the lies and the horsehair from the crinoline.