Mischief by Amanda Quick (1996)
Description: Imogen Waterstone had always prided herself on being a thoroughly independent young woman. But now she needed a man, and not just any man: one with an implacable will and nerves of iron. That's why she invited Matthias Marshall, the infamous Earl of Colchester, to her home in Upper Stickleford. For who better than the legendary explorer to help her lay the perfect trap. her scheme was simple, really: She planned to let it be known that when she inherited her uncle's collection of antiquities, she also inherited a map to a fabulous ancient treasure. She was certain that her enemy would risk financial ruin in pursuit of the mythical artifact. And to make doubly sure the scoundrel took the bait, the strong-minded beauty expected Colchester to set himself up as the ruthless lord's rival and pretend that he was out to seduce Imogen so that he, to, could get his hands on her map.
Yet in all of her plotting, Imogen never anticipated Coldhester's violent reaction to her request... or her own electrifying reaction to him. With his powerful build and the swath of silver in his midnight dark hair, Matthias was more than magnificent. And as he entered into her charade, acting out the part of spellbound suitor for all the world to see, Imogen found herself in the thrall of true passion at last.
But to Colchester it was no act. Indeed, to the formidable earl's surprise, he found himself succumbing to the charms of the most amazingly forceful opinionated, stubborn woman it had ever been his misfortune to meet. yet just as he decided the time is ripe to reveal his own motives for going along with Imogen's scheme, there emerges from the labyrinth of London society an undreamed of threat - sinister enough to endanger the one woman a man like Colchester could ever love.
Review: Impressions play a large part of this novel. What one person sees or hears can be much different than what the truth really is. It also is a novel about how truly dysfunctional families can be and their aftermath. A most interesting read.
Score: 3.5 out of 5