THE DEVIL IN HER BED - Kerrigan Byrne
England - 1872 and 1892
1872 - Pippa Hargrave, the daughter of two staff members at the Mont Clair estate, has loved Declan Chandler almost from the moment he arrived as a bedraggled waif several years ago. But she discovers that he loves Francesca, the daughter of Lord Cavendish, owner of the estate. As she grieves over seeing them together one day, horsemen ride to the estate, intent on killing all of the inhabitants. Declan and Pippa escape, but are separated. Pippa is saved by another servant, the Romani woman known as Serana who tells her that Declan was shot in the back.
1892 - Lady Francesca Cavendish, formerly Pippa Hargrave, has become the talk of the ton with her apparent free-living lifestyle. But, in reality, Francesca is intent on revenge on the men who murdered everyone at the Mont Clair estate. With the help of her friends, who have formed the Red Rogue Society, Francesca is back in London to find the murderers. Lady Alexandra Atherton, the new Duchess of Redmayne and Miss Cecelia Teague, engaged to the Lord Chief Justice, attended school on the Continent, and formed their society. They have discovered, thanks to Cecelia's betrothed, that the Crimson Council, a secret organization, has been responsible for horrible acts, possibly including the Mont Clair Massacre. Francesca has been training for years for the opportunity to exact her revenge for the deaths of all those she loved.
The Devil of Dorset has been observing Lady Francesca from a distance. A spy for the Secret Services, he is curious about her actions - actions which are unseemly for a countess. He also has another reason to watch her, he doubts her identity. The fact that she has, in a short period of time, become known for her exploits with a variety of men has the Devil wondering what she is truly trying to accomplish. But the Devil of Dorset isn't just interested in Francesca because he's a spy, he is also Declan Chandler, curious to know how Francesca survived the massacre.
Once Francesca and Declan (known to her as the Marquess Drake) meet, it isn't love at first sight. For Francesca, the attractive marquess seems to be awfully interested in her. Why is he asking so many questions? As much as she is attracted to him, Francesca has a mission to complete, and no man is going to stop her. For Declan, he doesn't want Francesca to get caught up in the dangerous dealings he's been investigating. But how to keep her from discovering his background, and, more importantly, how can he keep this determined woman from endangering her life?
The dangers involving the Crimson Council are more horrible than Francesca could possibly imagine. Fearless, she will infiltrate them via an invitation from the obviously dangerous Lord Kenway. Despite warnings from her Rogue friends, as well as Drake/Declan, Francesca will put herself in danger to get the answers she has searched for years - who ordered the Mont Clair Massacre, and why?
THE DEVIL IN HER BED is, at times, horrifying in its sinister incidents both past and present. It's also a poignant love story of two people who have witnessed great sadness as children. There are several scenes that will be difficult to read. The mystery behind the massacre is eventually revealed, but how will it affect the relationship between Francesca/Pippa and Declan?