Official book description:
Olivia Townsend is in trouble and out of options. Pursued by a dangerous man in search of a lost treasure she doesn’t possess, she’s got only two things in her favor: her late husband’s diary, which she was never meant to see… and the man who was her first—and only—love. Losing him broke her heart, though she’s been careful to hide it for the last ten years. But when he comes to her aid and vows to stand by her, no matter what, she can’t help but hope things will be different for them this time.
James Weston has blamed himself for letting Olivia down when she needed him years ago, and now he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—and to win her trust again. He’s confident he can outwit the villain chasing Olivia. But being so near her again threatens to expose every secret in his heart … even those that he swore would stay hidden forever.
Olivia, our heroine, is an old friend of Penelope from Love in the Time of Scandal. In that book, it’s obvious that Olivia has gotten herself into some really dangerous trouble, and Penelope persuades her brother, James, to track her down and help her.
James and Olivia have a past. When the Westons moved in close to where Olivia’s family lived, she befriended Penelope and her sister, and also fell hard for James, who was a few years older. As they grew up, Olivia’s crush only grew, while her family’s already dwindling fortunes disappear. When James comes back from University, he and Olivia share a passionate encounter in the woods near their homes, and James promises to marry her. He is unaware of how desperately Olivia’s parents need money, however, and goes off on a long journey to prove himself to his dad, not realising that Olivia will be forced into marriage while he’s gone. By the time he returns from his trip, it’s too late.
Olivia’s husband seems to have been indifferent and neglectful rather than abusive, but he was up to some pretty shady stuff, the extents to which Olivia never realised until after she became a widow. Now she’s on the run from a ruthless, sadistic nobleman, who used to be her husband’s partner. He not only believes she’s keeping secrets about her husband’s last transactions from him, but seems to have decided that he also wants to use her sexually. When James manages to track her down, she’s hiding in a remote village, trying to get to the bottom of what her husband was actually involved with.
James and Olivia figure out that Olivia’s dead husband was part of an art smuggling ring, and the creepy Viscount Clary thinks Olivia knows the whereabouts of a very valuable painting. Keeping one step ahead of their pursuers, James and Olivia do in fact figure out where the painting is and get it to safety, while also rekindling their old romance. Unfortunately, they also need to figure out a way to neutralise Viscount Clary for good, or Olivia will never be safe.
Full review on my blog.