The Duke of Derringer is a rogue who lives by his own rules, and leaves those who know him quaking in their boots. He is rumored to be without heart, hence the nickname Lord Heartless. He needs to marry within a week's time and decides to wed the first woman he comes across. That unsuspecting woman turns out to be Leandra Harcourt, a plain, unassuming type who has no problem speaking her mind. After the death of her father she is evicted from her home because of her illegitimate birth.  She is left homeless with no protection, especially from her own family.
The Duke comes to her rescue when the owner of a pub refuses to rent her a room.  Leandra is desperate, and a sudden marriage agreement between the two is struck. Dropping her in his childhood home, Lord Heartless gallops off in the hopes of finding his long lost cousin and the identity of the person trying to kill him.  In his short visits home, however, Leandra begins to see the person hidden beneath, and realizes he may have a heart after all.

Ms. Grant brings her characters to such vibrant life! They literally jump off the page, grab one by the shirt and shout “YOU WILL LOVE ME!”  Leandra is strong, yet vulnerable. Hart is mean-spirited but charming.   A bit more connection in the romantic aspect between Leandra and Hart is all that keeps this riveting read from a rousing five stars.  The richness and emotion of these characters will grab you by the heart and the story will not let you go!

Tonya Smalley