The Countess - Lynsay Sands
Released February 2011
Christiana "Lady Radnor" should be grieving, but there are more important things at stake. What started out as a fairy tale romance turned horribly wrong once "Dicky" had her dowry in hand. The discovery of her husband's body requires her attention, however he was a selfish, verbally abusive jerk, so she's relieved her marriage is over. She and her sisters decide to put him on ice, literally, until a better time. Things don't go as planned when he appears at a party very much alive and acting very unlike himself.
Richard Fairgrave is shocked to learn his brother has been pretending to be him for the past year. Now that his brother's dead, he's ready to resume his place in society. A stunning wife isn't what he expected, but he's willing to play along. The problem is his charming manners and kind attention to his "wife" leaves Christiana shell-shocked. Not to mention, Richard knows his brother was murdered and Christiana had all the reason in the world to want him dead.
The Countess appears to be the first book in a new series revolving around Christiana and her sisters. Each sister has a substantial dowry at stake making them prime targets for thieving men. I enjoyed the romance between Richard and Christiana. There was plenty of passion and his devotion to her was a nice change of pace after "Dicky."
There is one aspect of the story that isn't quite resolved. I'm assuming it's going to play an important role in the next story, The Heiress, coming out in March 2011. I think I understand what's going on and eagerly await the outcome to see if I'm right.