A Game of Hearts
In Regency England, red-blooded commoners have difficulty opening the doors of the blue-blooded haut ton.
Self-made man Rafe Lockhart needs a titled wife to give his daughter Connie the society debut she has dreamed of. A quick marriage to Lady Margaret Symonds, widow of an earl, is the answer to his problem. Her beauty and wit sweeten his plan.
Maggie Symonds suffered through twelve years of an emotionally abusive marriage after a rake ruined her during her debut. She hesitates to enter another marriage, especially to a man whose wealth is the sole reason that society accepts him. Yet financial difficulties and her own budding attraction to Rafe drive her to accept his proposal.
Neither expects passion to fire up their marriage.
Neither expects that surprising passion to last.
Maggie’s confrontation with Rafe’s mistress is the first blow. The second comes with Rafe’s suspicions that the rake has lured Maggie back into his bed with protestations of a resumed love.
Falling in love with his employer’s daughter Connie was not Roger Denby’s biggest mistake. No, that mistake was giving her a taste of passion. When he rejected Connie, he then had to watch her pursue a gentleman who might be charming her into a snare. Did Roger drive her into that relationship by awakening her desires? All he knows is that he still yearns for Connie. How can he prevent her from ruining herself?
Connie Lockhart knew the walls between her and Roger Denby: She was not yet eighteen. She was the boss’s daughter. She was as far out of his reach as marriage into nobility was out of hers. She thought those walls had tumbled down when he kissed her. Yet he rebuilt them even higher than before and returned to being only her watchdog.
Believing their relationship hopeless, Connie pursues a titled gentleman who is no longer out of her reach since her father’s marriage to an earl’s widow. And revenge on the snobbish society darlings seems especially sweet.
Richard Malbury flatters Connie. He seems charmed by her. Marriage to him is preferable to a fruitless love of Roger.
And then Rafe is suspected of murdering a valuable employee, and this Game of Hearts turns more dangerous than Rafe & Maggie and Roger & Connie could have anticipated.
A sweet Regency romance of 119,900 words.
Readers may also enjoy A Game of Secrets and A Game of Hearts.
Starting in my pre-teens, I devoured books. I solved locked room mysteries with Dame Agatha Christie and contended with the lonesome prairie through B.M. Bower’s words. The grand quartet of Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, Dorothy Eden, and Victoria Holt lured me in with romantic suspense. Georgette Heyer’s regency romps and clever mysteries tugged me away from many homework assignments and house chores. Andre Norton expanded my world into the stars and alternate universes.
These writers did more than entertain and expand my world: they taught me that life is not simplicity; it is complexity.
As I finished writing the first three books in my Hearts in Hazard series, I realized that these novels were my attempt at the spy and smuggler stories, a tiny tribute to four great works of romantic suspense: Jane Aiken Hodge’s thrilling Watch the Wall, My Darling; Georgette Heyer’s amusing The Unknown Ajax; Daphne du Maurier’s dangerous Jamaica Inn; and my favorite of all, Mary Stewart’s This Rough Magic.
I hope that A Game of Secrets and A Game of Spies and A Game of Hearts give to you a portion of delight that each of these books and their phenomenal authors gave to me.