TALL, DARK AND DISREPUTABLE - Deb Marlowe
Harlequin Historical #1086
Berkshire, England - 1821
On the eve of what's to be the biggest venture Cardea Shipping has ever undertaken, Mateo Cardea gets the shock of his life and learns that he did not inherit the company from his father. Instead, the elder Cardea left control of the company to Portia Tofton, the woman he had tried to get Mateo to marry nine years earlier. The friendship between their fathers meant that Portia and Mateo knew each other well, but at the time the arrangement was proposed, Mateo was about to become a privateer for America, in the middle of their war with England. Besides, his first love is the sea, and Mateo had no desire to settle into married life. Now though, it seems as if his father is still trying to arrange the match, and Mateo has convinced himself that the recently widowed Portia is in on the plot as well.
Portia herself has been dealt a few shocks recently: in addition to learning that she now owns Cardea Shipping, she's just found out that her father didn't properly ensure that the home she inherited, Stenbrooke, was left to her in her marriage settlements, and more than a year after her wastrel husband's death she is told that her husband lost her home in a wager. The circumstances surrounding this last revelation seem a bit odd to her, but none of her brothers are willing to help her uncover the truth, so she turns to the one person she has some leverage over: Mateo. Portia is not about to lose her beloved home, or her independence, and she'll do whatever it takes to keep them, even deal with the man who once broke her heart.
The matter of who holds the deed to Stenbrooke will lead Portia and Mateo on a journey, both throughout England and of rediscovery, in TALL, DARK AND DISREPUTABLE. As they try to track down who holds the deed and is threatening to take Portia's home, they get to know each other again. They haven't seen one another since their fathers proposed the marriage between them, and both Portia and Mateo have changed from the children, then young adults they once were. Once Mateo gets over his feelings of betrayal and his suspicions about Portia, he begins to remember what a good friend she always was to him. Portia slowly realizes that, unlike her father, brothers, or husband, Mateo listens to her and doesn't treat her as if she doesn't have a brain. As their friendship grows, so do other feelings: desires they are finding difficult to resist. But Mateo isn't willing to give up the sea or turn his back on his extended family in Philadelphia , and Portia has worked hard to build a home in England .
A captivating tale, look for TALL, DARK AND DISREPUTABLE at your nearest bookstore.