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Synopsis

Author's Warning: O'Rourke's Heiress contains major spoilers for The Sometime Bride. It's strongly recommended you read "Bride" first.

Can the daughter of a jumped-up tradesman find happiness with a handsome and charming viscount, or does her destiny lie elsewhere? Perhaps with a man who isn't trying to kill her?

Though Terence O'Rourke would never admit it, he loves Beth Brockman. Beth, daughter of Tobias Brockman, the Merchant Midas, has loved her foster brother, Terence, for all seventeen years of her life. Both are bastards. Both owe everything to Tobias, who has one simple goal beyond making money: he wants his only child to marry a title.

Beth's protests are ignored as Terence sacrifices his own desires so she can marry the heir to an earldom. But disillusionment begins on Beth's wedding night. She is no longer a pampered princess. Her husband is master of her fate, her money, her person, her life. He can love her, starve her, beat her, sleep with as many women as he likes. He can abandon her . . . even kill her. And live happily ever after on her munificent dowry.

Occasionally, Beth sees flashes of the charming gentleman she thought she married. As a bitter winter on Dartmoor turns to spring, she struggles to make her marriage work. But events begin to suggest her husband is a madman or a murderer. Perhaps both.

Prior to Beth's wedding, Tobias Brockman sent Terence to Louisiana, where he assuages his anguish over Beth's marriage in the arms of an ambitious Creole, who clings to him all the way back to London. Where Terence discovers his "sacrifice" was in vain—his beloved Beth has suffered beatings by her husband, topped by a series of inexplicable accidents. A dash to Dartmoor reveals that the lovely, innocent young girl Terence once knew is totally disillusioned, determined never again to allow love into her life. Terence keeps trying, but their past mistakes continue to haunt them. Happily Ever After seems impossible for this pair of star-crossed lovers, but sometimes Fate does the strangest things . . .

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