Now that the war was over, Richard, Viscount Mallory had finally come home to find his aged grandfather ailing with very little time left. Cornered by his grandmother, she demanded that he go and recover the Mallory heart, an exquisite heart shaped ruby brooch Mallory family heirloom that had been missing for the last fifty years, so that his grandfather could die happy over it's return. It had been spotted at a recent ton affair and he was to travel to London and retrieve it by whatever means possible. It had to be fate, for the moment he'd entered the ballroom he discovered the brooch, and it was pinned upon the bosom of the very beautiful Lady Isabel Weymouth! Managing to include himself in one of her `at homes' he slipped out of the drawing room to discover that all was not as it appeared as he searched for the lady's brooch. Finding the other rooms stripped of any treasures, clearly, her financial condition was not as she attempted to portray - could she possibly be a jewel thief?
Lady Isabel, was a darling of the ton, and desperately in need of securing for herself a wealthy husband. Although, she was very much aware of the Major Lord Mallory, she new that the Earldom he was to inherit was in financial difficulty, and desperately needing cash to help her family, she simply had to marry for money. In keeping up appearances, she had borrowed her grandmother's magnificent brooch that she'd known was hidden in a secret drawer in grandmothers jewelry box. She had planned on returning it the following day, yet discovering it missing, Isabel knew exactly who had stolen it. Isabel was determined to steal it back and as the two became embroiled in a game of one-up-man-ship in stealing it back from one another the games began to heat up, as did their undeniable passion.
*** This was a delightful romance as the protagonists each devised clever ways of stealing the brooch from one another. The Latin inscription of "True love knows but one" proved to be a very prophetic statement as Isabel discovered that all the wealth she desperately needed and was offered by another was just not enough when her heart and passions were lost to another. Other than the brooch, there wasn't a tremendous amount of intrigue and the inclusion of a mysterious woman whom Richard's brother had fought and lost a duel over was so insignificant to the story that I truly wondered why it was included at all. The main mystery of how the brooch came to be held by Isabel's grandmother was appealing and the protagonists' efforts to keep it from one anther entertaining. Although not a keeper, it deservedly scores well as a worthy read. ---- Marilyn, for www.romancedesigns.com ---