Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand
Playing with Fire — Young widow Roxanna Drew was fair game in the sport of cads. Her suddenly impoverished state made her as vulnerable as her beauty made her tempting to men with more money than morals. Lord Marshall Whitcomb, who held her purse strings in his pawing hands, was intent on luring her into his bed. But even more dangerous was Lord Winn, who owned the dwelling where she sought refuge. The dashing lord reminded the widow that the lure of sharing a warm bed on a winter's night might indeed be worth the risks.
Lord Winn had trusted one woman and been betrayed. That disastrous marriage had endowed him with a wariness of females in general, and prospective wives in particular. But when the door to the dower house on one of his estates was opened by a woman with a cautious smile and memorable brown eyes, he knew here was danger to avoid at all costs -- if he really wanted to.
In this tender and endearing Regency, first published by Signet in 1995, beautiful and brave Roxanna Drew must face the harsh realities of life alone with two young daughters after her husband dies. Forced to make the most of her small allowance, she moves into the nearby dower house of absentee landlord Lord Winn, a recent pariah of the ton after divorcing his disloyal wife and publicizing her list of lovers instead of remaining silent and accepting her cheating ways, as society would dictate. Winn visits unexpectedly, and he and Roxanna sense an immediate attraction to one another, but keep their feelings hidden even as their time together deepens their bond. When Roxanna's future is threatened and Winn offers a life-changing solution, both must decide just how brave they can be. RITA-winner Kelly (The Surgeon's Lady) spins passionate longing and hope into a story that will draw in and satisfy readers. (Sept.) -- Publishers Weekly
A resourceful young vicar's widow, desperate to escape her lecherous brother-in-law and provide for her two daughters, moves into the rundown dower house on a neglected estate and is surprised when a winter storm brings the estates' long-absent, scandal-ridden owner to her door and, eventually, into her family's life. A witty, emotional, and satisfying romance from one of traditional Regency's most respected authors, this RITA Award winner was originally published by Signet Regency in 1994 and is one of Kelly's best. -- Library Journal