In this irresistible romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Happily Bedded Bliss, appearances can deceive, but the heart is not so easy to fool...
Rosamund Carrow has spent years learning the law by assisting her barrister father, despite the frustrating truth that the profession is closed to women. When he dies unexpectedly, necessity compels her to disguise herself as a man so she can step into the courtroom to finish his cases. She's willing to put her reputation at risk, but she never expects that the greatest peril will be to her heart...
Lord Lawrence Byron is a rising star in London's legal circles, despite his reputation as an unrepentant rakehell. When an upstart young barrister defeats him in court, he’s determined to discover everything he can about his rival. He's stunned when he uncovers the shocking secret that his new opponent is actually a beguiling, brilliant woman…one he can’t help but want in his bed. Passion draws them together as they break all the rules, but it may lead to something more lasting—like love...Read an Excerpt
“Warren’s ability to craft a perfect classic Regency is what makes her a fan favorite.” – RT BookReviews
“Intense chemistry. [A] satisfying story [that] will appeal to fans of The Good Wife and Silk.” – Kirkus Reviews
5 Hearts. Recommended Read! “…Sparks ignite the pages! Fashionably romantic and very smartly written. This book is too good to pass up!”
– Romance Junkies
Lord Lawrence leaned back in his chair once more and raised his glass in a toast. “To victories large and small.”
She repeated his gesture. “To victories.”
To her surprise, the wine tasted smooth yet refreshing with notes of oak and fruit that reminded her of autumn blackberries.
She loved blackberries.
She took another drink, deciding she might need to revise her opinion of claret.
“Of course I’ll be waiting for another opportunity to best you, you know,” Lord Lawrence said.
Not sure there would be one, Rosamund applied herself to her wine again rather than respond.
“So,” he mused in a deceptively mellow voice, “just how long do you intend to carry on with this?”
She sputtered and the wine went down wrong.
She began to cough.
When she didn’t stop, unable to fully catch her breath, Lord Lawrence rose, came forward and whacked her once on the back. She gasped from the force of the blow and drew a wheezing inhalation, wondering whether that breath might be her last. Then suddenly her throat opened up and she was breathing again, her lungs blessedly filling with air.
“Better?” he asked after a moment.
She nodded, coughing a couple more times. “Yes,” she said on a raspy croak. Carefully she set her wine aside.
“That’s a relief.” Lord Lawrence dropped back down into his seat, apparently satisfied that the danger had passed. “Only imagine the trouble it would cause were you to drop dead here in the middle of Brooks’s Club. The old‐timers would likely have apoplexy over their evening being disrupted.”
Indeed a few of the other men in the room were watching her, their expressions ranging from curiosity to barely veiled irritation. One elderly man huffed, restraightened the pages of his newspaper and disappeared behind them again.
She coughed one last time. “Far be it from me to discompose any of your acquaintance, my lord.”
His lips curved, eyes gleaming with shrewd amusement. “Oh, I have the feeling you regularly discompose any number of people, both in and out of the courtroom.” He took up his glass again, swirling the wine inside. “Now that you’ve recovered, what have you to say to my question?”
Her heart pumped in the quick, terrified beats of a trapped animal. Did he know? But how could he? Unless he’d guessed. Had he asked her here so he could corner and humiliate her as he revealed the fact that he’d seen through her disguise?
“What question is that, my lord?” she asked with apparent innocence. If he wanted the truth out of her, he was going to have to accuse her point‐blank.
“The one I asked before you were unfortunate enough to go off on a paroxysm. I’m just curious to know how long you plan to carry your cousin’s weight. After today, it’s clear which one of you is the better barrister. Yet you allowed him to take the lead . . . at least until he started making a mare’s nest of things.”
Relief rushed through her, tension melting from the clenched muscles in her shoulders and back. But then his words sank in completely and she stiffened anew for an altogether different reason this time. “I beg your pardon?”
“Come, now, everyone in legal circles knows Carrow’s father took care to keep his son employed behind the scenes so he wouldn’t have to try any cases. Obviously Elias Carrow can’t shield him anymore. I presume that’s where you come in. I only wonder why you let him open his mouth at all when he can barely manage a coherent sentence in public. Deferring to him based on some misguided sense of loyalty does neither of you any good.”
Her hands turned to fists. “My—cousin—is a fine attorney with an excellent grasp of the law.”
“I’m not saying he isn’t a competent lawyer. I’m merely pointing out, as we all observed today, that he isn’t suited to the courtroom. You, however, are. Just how old are you anyway?”
“I fail to see what my age that has to do with anything.”
Instead of answering, he waited, his gaze patient yet unwavering.
“Four‐and‐twenty,” she grudgingly admitted.
She and Bertram had agreed that since she looked younger as a man, she’d be well‐advised to shave a couple of years off her real age of twenty‐eight should anyone inquire.
“Precisely my point.” Lord Lawrence swirled the wine in his glass. “You can’t be more than three or four years beyond your apprenticeship, yet you performed as well as or better than many a seasoned barrister of my acquaintance. That fact alone has me intrigued.”
Warmth replaced her irritation. She didn’t know him well, but she felt certain that Lord Lawrence Byron never bestowed praise unless he thought it genuinely warranted.
“Is that why you asked me here? I did wonder.”
A little smile teased the corners of his mouth. “I like to know my competition and befriend them when I can.”
“What makes you think we would ever be friends?”
“What makes you think we wouldn’t?”
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