Arthur Lancaster, Earl of St. Merryn’s, has a reputation for being a logical and cold man with more interest in finance than emotions that is sealed when he refuses to chase after a runaway fiancée. He openly proclaims that next time around he would prefer to hire a paid companion from an agency, but no one truly believes him. But he is dead serious and luckily is able to find and hire the outspoken Miss Elenora Lodge to play the part of his fiancée, thus distracting society while he conducts important business.
Intelligent and capable Elenora joined the paid companion profession because her step-father ran through her inheritance. Intrigued by Arthur’s generous but eccentric offer, Elenora accepts - although she doubts his professed reasons for doing so. With wit and confidence, Elenora plays her role so smoothly that no on suspects the deception, even as in Arthur she finds a kindred spirit. Meanwhile, Arthur is secretly investigating his great-uncle’s murder and believes an ancient alchemist’s discovery has something to do with it. As the killer grows bolder, Elenora’s life is threatened ,and Arthur finds that his feelings for his pretend fiancée are far deeper than he had imagined.
Once again writing under the pseudonym Amanda Quick, author Jayne Ann Krentz enthralls her readers with an unusual but tension-filled historical whodunit. The central characters of Arthur and Elenora outwardly spar and spiritedly try to influence each other even as their differences conceals a growing passion and similarity in natures. The mystery centers around the ancient art of alchemy, and Quick realistically captures its mythical beliefs and the air of occult surrounding it. Historical ambiance is blended beautifully with the story and becomes an integral part of it. Overall, this riveting historical mystery is guaranteed to entertain.