Althea Morwellan needs Gabriel Cynster's help to save her family's fortune from an unscrupulous con artist, but the beauty is determined to keep her family's precarious financial state a secret. Althea and Gabriel played together as children on neighboring estates and she knows him very, very well. Aware that he can't resist a challenge, she conceals her identity behind a heavy black veil, pretending to be a mysterious, widowed countess. Intrigued, Gabriel agrees to help her, both because of her plea for help and because the beautiful mystery woman represents a personal challenge that he finds irresistible. Althea extracts a promise from Gabriel that he will not attempt to discover her identity and will not remove her veil.
Althea has loved Gabriel since they were children, but their relationship deteriorated over time. As adults, the two strike verbal sparks from each other at every meeting. Because of their barely polite truce, Althea is unprepared for Gabriel's wild attraction to her countess persona and she falls more deeply in love with him. Gabriel hasn't a clue that the mysterious veiled countess is really Althea, for the lady adamantly refuses to remove her veil. He finds himself charmed and seduced by the countess while frustrated beyond belief that she won't reveal her identity. For Althea, the pressure of maintaining her disguise is great and one evening, she makes a fatal slip. The ensuing confrontation with Gabriel turns both of their worlds topsy-turvy and complicates solving the mystery of her family fortune.
In this latest of the Cynster family novels, Stephanie Laurens combines a mystery plot with a deeply sensual love story. There is something very intriguing about a hero and heroine who believe they know each other well, yet see each other in a very different light when they come together as intimate strangers. As always, the supporting cast of characters is charming and includes the growing numbers of the Cynster clan. A Secret Love is a riveting novel from first page to last. --Lois Faye Dyer -- From Amazon.com Amazon.com Review