Published: July 10, 2012
Original Avon Regency Edition 1995
Level of Sensuality: Kisses +
“Are you utterly indifferent to opinion?" “Utterly,” he said. A slow smile transformed his face, lighting his eyes, making the Iron Lord vanish. “Dance with me, Susannah Bowen,” he urged.
-An Improper Widow
Other Books In The Series
Susannah Bowen’s first disastrous Season ended in disgrace. Ever since she has posed as a widow and served as governess to her young cousin Juliet in the country. Now her uncle offers Susannah a chance to win her independence if she can steer her headstrong cousin to an acceptable match in London. Susannah’s plan goes awry at once when a young highwayman steals Juliet’s heart and offers her the calling card of the Marquess of Warne. Warne’s quest to uncover the thief who is leaving his calling cards around London draws him nearer and nearer Susannah, a woman unlike any other he has met.
Finalist, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence
Affaire de Coeur Best Regency of 1995
Trust Avon’s inventive Kate Moore to come up with a clever variation of the highwayman plot in An Improper Widow. …Ms. Moore weaves the skeins of her complicated plot with the ease of a true master into an exciting reading experience. –Romantic Times
An Improper Widow smolders with a subtle, underlying passion much like Susannah herself does. The characterizations are especially well done. The reader can vividly feel the strong emotions Susannah struggles to hold in check. The wonderful characters along with a strong plot make this a very enjoyable story. –Rendezvous
At one of Evelina’s pauses, Juliet said, “Now Mama, you must hear our adventure. We met the most dashing highwayman.” In a few breathless sentences she recounted the episode. “And it’s all a disguise because he gave me his card, and he’s the son of a peer.”
“What?” said Evalina. “A titled highwayman?”
“Well, look at the card, Mama.” Juliet held out the card and Evelina reached for a pair of reading spectacles.
“Francis William Arden, Marquess of Warne,” she read. “Warne? You cannot have met Warne, for I saw him tonight at the ball, and heard the most intriguing on dit—”
“Not the marquess, Mama,” interrupted Juliet. “Our highwayman was quite a young man. You must read the handwritten note.”
“’With my father’s compliments’,” she read. “Well, what does that mean?”
“It means,” said Juliet patiently, “that the highwayman is Lord Warne’s son. It is romantic beyond anything. I wonder why he must go in disguise holding up coaches on the heath?”
Susannah thought the name Warne familiar and tried to recall where she might have heard it. If the highwayman was truly a young lord, perhaps he had been acting on a wager. She accepted the card Juliet now thrust in her hands. Its message was written in a neat schoolboy hand by someone who had mended his pen well.
A new thought occurred to Susannah.
“You know, Juliet, a marquess or any father may have several sons, and, of course, all cannot inherit equal wealth. Perhaps our highwayman is a younger son.”
“But my dears,” said Lady Lacy. “Lord Warne is not married. He has no sons at all.”
Susannah and Juliet both stared.
“But he must have, Mama. Our highwayman was a gentleman.”
Evelina shook her head. “I’m sure he’s no connection of Warne’s.”
“Perhaps an imposter, acting on a wager,” Susannah suggested.
Juliet turned on her. “Susannah, you do spoil everything. He must be Lord Warne’s son. He had his card.”
“If your mother is right, he can be neither Lord Warne’s son, nor a gentleman,” Susannah countered. “And you are not likely to see him in town.” She knew Juliet was thinking the young man would find them. Confound him for being mysterious. Nothing could be more appealing to one of Juliet’s temperament.
“Well, I will look for him. You have no sense of romance, Susannah. In some ballroom he will find me.”