Aurelia Phillips, Nethergate Hall's resident spinster--a quiet, reserved miss whose inability to tell even a polite lie had made her unmarriageable in London society--expected death to come calling. Her adopted grandfather, the Duke of Winterburn, was failing. Guests had already arrived to meet Joshua MacKinnon, the young wastrel who would inherit the ancient title and fortune of Winterburn. But Aurelia didn't expect Mr. Kit Ballantyne of Charleston, South Carolina. Silhouetted against a tempestuous storm, Kit's strength and stature were disturbing, and so was the ominously sealed letter he presented to the ailing Duke. If Galahad, her discerning pet deerhound, hadn't accepted Kit at once, Aurelia might have feared for her life--especially when the Hall's haughty mistress turned up murdered. Instead Aurelia felt drawn to the stranger as her only ally amid growing suspicions and increasingly sinister events. But while a killer stalked the halls and passion ambushed her heart, Aurelia needed to discover why Kit had come to Nethergate, and who he really was...because honestly, openly, and perilously, she was falling in love!