Lady Elinor wants nothing to do with love. Her arranged marriage—and one glorious but ill-fated kiss with a handsome footman—cured her of any romantic notions she’d ever entertained. Now a widow, all Elinor plans to do is rebuild her life—without a man in it. She certainly has no intention of falling for the charming and entirely too tempting American who seems so determined to win her favor … Stephen Worth is no longer the impoverished footman who lost everything because of the impulsive actions of a reckless young lady. Having reinvented himself long ago, his sole focus now is revenge. He’ll do whatever it takes to exact a pound of flesh from all who wronged him so long ago. And if that means ruining the lovely Elinor in the process? So be it. But it’s not long before Elinor finds herself drawn to Stephen despite her best intentions—and before Stephen starts to wonder if maybe a life with Elinor is worth more than his revenge. Can Stephen and Elinor overcome their painful pasts and take a second chance on love? Or is the cost of trust simply more than they’re willing to pay?
LaViolette (the Academy of Love series) takes cues from The Count of Monte Cristo in her riveting first Masqueraders romance. In 1802, impetuous 16-year-old Lady Elinor Atwood thoughtlessly throws herself at 19-year-old Iain Vale, her family’s guileless new footman, setting off a devastating chain of events. Lord Trentham, Elinor’s cruel fiancé, catches the pair in their single, sloppy kiss and has Vale sent to prison, where he is brutally treated until he is rescued by his uncle, who sends him to America. There, Vale remakes himself as the affluent Stephen Worth, driven by the desire to exact revenge on Elinor. But when he returns to England in 1817, he discovers that Elinor, now a widow who occupies herself with the study of medicine, is no longer the entitled girl she was. Alternating between the past and present, LaViolette keeps the tension high and the pages flying. Elinor is an admirable heroine who remains strong in desperate situations, and the formidable Worth makes a sympathetic antihero as he navigates his long-standing hatred and mounting desire for Elinor. Lovers of historical romance will be hooked on this twisty story of revenge, redemption, and reversal of fortunes. (Self-published)