It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady in danger must be in need of rescue, but whether she wants to be rescued is up for debate—for fans of Evie Dunmore and Netflix's Bridgerton from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem!

Author includes content guidance at start of book including but not limited to: claustrophobia, off-the-page descriptions of violence and murder.

England, 1867: Miss Poppy Delamare is living a lie. To escape an odious betrothal, she fled to London where she’s been hiding as the unassuming secretary Flora Deaver. However, when her beloved sister is accused of murder, Poppy cannot leave her to the wolves. Only a most unexpected—and unwelcome—collision interrupts her journey home . . .

Despite a rather dismal first meeting, Joshua Fielding, the Duke of Langham, has no intention of abandoning a lady in need. But he’s not above asking a favor. A fake betrothal will give Poppy and her sister the power of the dukedom and protect Langham from the society misses intent on becoming his duchess.

Yet the longer the ruse goes on, the more Poppy and Langham realize how false their first impressions were—and the less pretend their engagement feels. But before Langham can propose in truth, their search reveals a tangled web of lies and betrayals. With time running out, can Poppy and Langham find the real culprit—before Poppy becomes the next victim?

Don't just take our word for it...

“The mystery unfolds effortlessly, delivering a slew of suspects, tantalizing clues, and danger around every corner without ever overshadowing the love story. This sensual romance will have pages flying.”
– Publisher’s Weekly

“When I pick up a Manda Collins book, I know I’m in for a treat.”
– Tessa Dare, New York Times bestselling author

“Collins keeps the heat smoldering between the well-drawn main characters in this installment, and the mystery keeps the pace moving nicely… [for] fans of Julia Quinn and Evie Dunmore.”
– Library Journal

Taste the very first page

Paddington Station, London, 1867

Violence, regrettably, was out of the question.

Miss Poppy Delamere—or Flora Deaver as she’d called herself since arriving in London two years ago—had never been one to suffer fools gladly. And as she waited im- patiently for the clerk manning the ticket window to finish chatting with the matron he was serving, she truly wished she could shove the older woman aside. Taking a deep breath, she tried to emulate her employer, the redoubtable Lady Katherine Eversham, who always managed to get her point across without resorting to rudeness.

At the thought of Lady Katherine, Poppy felt her gut clench with anxiety. What would the circle of friends she’d amassed during her time in London think when they learned she’d been hiding her true identity? She knew both Kate and her writing partner, Miss Caroline Hardcastle— no, she was Lady Wrackham as of this morning, Poppy reminded herself—championed the plight of downtrodden…