Things aren't going well for poor Celia. She's lost her fiance and her job as a governess. And there aren't many prospects for her future. But just when she thinks things can't get any worse, she is kidnapped. Her assailant steals everything she owns, forces her to strip down to her shift, and locks her away in a cottage. It's only by happenstance that Tarquin nearly stumbles upon her. Just before he does, Celia's kidnapper knocks him out and steals most of his clothes too.
When Tarquin wakes, he doesn't remember who he is. But Celia recognizes him as the awful dandy who insulted her in front of the ton, ruining her prospects for a favorable match. She decides to get even with him, making up a new identity for him and pretending to be his betrothed. The two make their escape together. But something unexpected happens as they make their way across the country landscape... they begin to fall for each other. In fact, things progress so far that they end up lovers.
Shortly after that, Tarquin's memory returns. Will he go back to being the haughty jerk he was before? Will anything remain of the alter-ego Celia fell in love with? It's a pretty good story, focusing not just on the romance but the intrigue surrounding Celia's kidnappers and what they're after. There's also a bit of naughty fun as Celia uses one of Tarquin's randy novels to acquaint herself with lovemaking. That novel makes for some very entertaining reading... even I picked up some new vocabulary... though I can't imagine ever finding an opportunity to use the word "pintle" in conversation. But I'll try.
A little more than 4 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley