Being level-headed and even-keeled is a thing of the past. Sir Colin Wilde's broken heart has sent him over the edge. And he is convinced the only way to get over the loss of Lady Gemma is to lose himself in debauchery. Taking his cue from the private bachelor journal of Viscount Maddox, he presses forward in his quest to become the most notorious rake the town has ever seen. Prim and proper Lady Gemma isn't about to let him soil his reputation, especially over a misunderstanding.
Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his over-bearing grandmother to find she has forged a betrothal contract on his behalf...without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention. He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.
Gryff’s orders lay unopened on the table. The silent tension caused Gem to bite her lip. She tucked a loose strand of auburn hair behind her ear and shifted uneasily in the chair. Wide-eyed, Gryff sat stiffly beside her, regarding the envelope. He was like a statue—hands on his knees—staring interminably at the table. Finally, Gem cleared her throat. Gryff jolted as if in a daze and turned to look at her. A look of uncertainty hung in his eyes. She swallowed the dry, sticky taste in her mouth and reached for his hand. It felt cold…clammy. Gem could feel the faint tremor of his fear radiating through his fingers. She took Gryff's hand between her own and squeezed, trying to infuse heat and reassurance at the same time. "Sometimes they come back," Gem's voice was barely a whisper. It was a feeble attempt, but she was grasping at straws here. Everyone knows. They don't come back. Never whole, anyway. Most likely, this was goodbye. Gem knew it. Gryff knew it.