One Touch of Scandal
by Liz Carlyle
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Grace Gauthier yearns for the comfort and security of marriage and a family of her own. Taking a position as a governess, she becomes "informally" engaged to her employer Ethan Holding, and all is well until the night Grace finds Ethan murdered. Shocked and confused, Grace doesn't realize that Scotland Yard now considers her a suspect. With no family to turn to, she goes to find her old friend Rance Welham, who unfortunately for her has left town. But her salvation comes from an unexpected source: Adrian Forsythe, Lord Ruthveyn---the tall, dark and enigmatic stranger who is Rance's friend.
The man---Ruthveyn---seemed disinclined to say more, and Grace resisted the impulse to ask anything. Save for his thick raven hair, sun-bronzed skin, and a nose that was perhaps a tad too strong, he could perhaps have been an Englishman---or Satan in a pair of Bond Street boots.
But wherever his fine clothing had come from, he was no ordinary Englishman; she sensed it. There was an air of otherworldliness about him that defied description, and an almost chilling sense of dispassion, as if he observed but gave up nothing of himself. He did not radiate evil, precisely, but something far more complex.
Adrian Forsythe, Lord Ruthveyn prefers to keep people at a distance; given his past, and the pain he has endured, he feels like he's protecting himself and those he cares about. But when a beautiful stranger shows up at his club and faints right in his arms, he's unable to maintain any sort of distance, physical or emotional. One look at Grace's beauty and vulnerability, and Adrian is lost. He is determined to protect her from a possible arrest and help her unmask the true murderer. Each moment they spend together brings Grace and Adrian closer, their passion impossible to deny. But can Adrian trust Grace with his secrets and accept a love unlike any he has ever known or is the risk too great?
Grace and Adrian are both damaged souls longing for love and redemption, but fearing a repeat of the pain they have suffered in their pasts. Grace finds herself alone in the world---her mother and father are both gone and her mother's aristocratic family is not very welcoming---but she is no weak, missish heroine. She is strong, independent, compassionate, and giving. Adrian fears rejection due to his "gift"---the ability to "see" someone's future/death when he touches them. To him it is a curse, and he can't bear the thought of Grace seeing him as a freak. But there is more to Grace than Adrian knows, and her open mind and loving heart will help him to embrace his gift and his future happiness with Grace.
And those last words!---That husky, come-take-me voice and the way her gaze caught on his mouth---it sent shivers of unslaked desire down his spine. The truth was, he was in love with Grace Gauthier---completely, hopelessly in love---and had been almost from the day they'd met. But worse than the love was the aching need. Not the physical lust, or even the head-over-heels yearning of a new romance, but the deep and abiding cry of one soul for another, as if their roots had already entwined inexorably, like a couple wed twenty years rather than lovers for less than a fortnight. And still he did not understand how he had fallen so fast and so hard.
Brimming with emotion, One Touch of Scandal is the first in a new Victorian era trilogy centering on the gentleman of the secret society Fraternitas Aureae Crucis---the Brotherhood of the Golden Cross. Passion, suspense, and a dash of the paranormal: key elements that make this book a page turner from start to finish. I am anxiously awaiting One Wicked Glance, which will be release May 2011. Whether you are a long time fan of Liz Carlyle or she is a new-to-you author, you are in for a treat with this latest gem from the New York Times bestselling author.