Beautiful young widow Katherine Mannering vowed that no man would ever possess her. Her brief but brutal forced marriage left her with profound distaste for what went by the name of love.
But that was before she met Nicholas Seyton, a devilishly dashing highwayman who kidnapped her person and stole her heart. And that was before she met the infuriating yet attractive Sir Harry Tate, whose manner made her blood boil yet whose touch lit flames of passion.
The outlaw and the lord... Katherine knew so little about either, except that each taught her a different lesson in love -- and presented her with a more and more difficult choice....
I must start this review by saying that this not one of my favourite Balogh's. I dislike deception and people masquerading as others and deceiving their loved ones, although here that is suppose to lead to some funny encounters I never could let go of my dislike to fully appreciate it.
The story is entertaining but it is not as funny as some of the farces Mary Balogh wrote, or as emotional as some other of her books. Kate is a widow and has found a job as a companion. On her way to her new job she is kidnapped by Nicholas Seton who, she discovers later, is the cousin of her current employer and the only thing that bars him from claiming the title is his illegitimacy. But he suspects he maybe legitimate after all and is decided to investigate further...
Kate ends up decided to help him. After she is released she goes back to her employer’s home and decides to discover what she can about the affair. But Nicholas also wants to have a closer look at what is going on at his cousin's home and arrives with a friend pretending to be Sir Harry Tate, a gentleman of the ton.
As I said before I couldn't get past the fact that Kate doesn't recognise Sir Harry and he doesn't tell her the truth. Not only that but he starts pursuing her and I felt it hard to believe that Kate wouldn't recognise Sir Harry as Nicholas even after they made love. Or that in the end she would accept so easily that she had been duped and had slept with "both" of them thinking they were different people.
In the course of the story Kate gets involved with smugglers, they find out that Nicholas mother was paid to hand him over to his grandfather and that his cousin in the one behind this scheme to gain the inheritance and the title for his family. Quite ironically his children weren’t that interested in their new life as the Earl's children and Nicholas ended up doing them a favor, and easing the way of true love, by reclaiming his rights.
So, although I'm happy to have read another Balogh, this one is definitely at the bottom of my preferences.