An Independent Woman
From the Publisher
Juliana Holcott grew up poor in a joyless household. Only one person ever treated her kindly – Nicholas Barre, the orphaned heir to the estate, who suffered equally at the hands of their indifferent guardians. But wild, rebellious Nick left home – and Juliana – while both were still young, and Juliana never thought to see him again.
Forced to seek employment as a lady's companion, Juliana fears she'll never experience for herself what it's like to be young and merry and in love... until she spies Nicholas at a ball, all grown up and more handsome than ever.
Much sought after and newly come into his inheritance, Nick blithely risks society's wrath by befriending her, and when his innocent attentions cause her to lose her position, nobly offers her the only recompense he can – a marriage of convenience.
It now falls to Juliana to prove to the badly scarred Nick that he is capable of emotion. But how will she protect her beloved new husband when it becomes clear someone wants his title... badly enough to kill for it?
When her father dies, Juliana and her mother lose everything they own. Wealthy relatives Lilith and Trenton coldly offer them shelter but only out of a society-imposed sense of duty. Juliana's cousins, both sadistic brats, make sure her life is miserable. Except for orphaned heir Nicholas, who is also at the mercy of Lilith and Trenton, Juliana is friendless. When Nicholas leaves his family estate, Juliana is truly alone. She finds work as a lady's companion; then, years later, while accompanying her charge to a ball, she runs into Nicholas, now a wealthy lord. When he finds out how miserable her life is, Nicholas proposes, although he is not sure that her feelings for him run beyond the bounds of friendship. The wedding itself is made even more memorable when one of their guests is murdered –and Nicholas is the main suspect. The talented Camp (Mesmerized, 2003; An Unexpected Pleasure, 2005) has deftly mixed romance and intrigue to create another highly enjoyable Regency romance. –Shelley Mosley