In the fall of 1897, a grand old gentleman of Handsboro, Mississippi dies a very wealthy man, and much to the chagrin of Lionel Augustusís siblings, he leaves the bulk of his estate to his estranged bastard son, Clay Boudreaux, and his beloved stepdaughter, Olivia Lee. There is but one stipulation to Lionelís will, the two must wed.
For reasons of their own, the two young people agree to marry, sight unseen, but only days after her marriage by proxy to Deputy Sheriff Clay Boudreaux of Galveston County, Texas, Olivia learns her husband has died in a house fire and her extended family intends to contest the terms of the will. Exacerbating her situation, a mysterious stranger, claiming to be the dead Clay, but who her family warns is Clayís older brother Troy, invades Oliviaís opulent home and accuses her of hiring Troy to kill Clay...and yet another henchman to eliminate Clayís killer.
Olivia and the handsome stranger, whoever he might be, both have sound reasons for confusing their roles in the plot to murder Clay Boudreaux, reasons dealing with duty, justice, and plain old survival. Neither is sure of the role the other plays in the Machiavellian plan of Lionelís siblings, nor is it clear if Lionelís brother and sister are the only subversives working to sabotage the terms of Lionelís will. So clear is the present danger it overshadows the dark secret driving Lionelís bizarre stipulation that Clay and Olivia wed.
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Set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the close of the nineteenth century, Charlsie Russellís third novel is both a romantic charade and a compelling mystery, pitting the wit and will of one wary lover against the honor and sheer determination of the other, even while the sinister machinations of dangerous foes force them into a grudging alliance.
Though the tangled mystery sets this novel apart from her edgy Gothics, The Devilís Bastard and Wolf Dawson, Ms. Russellís Epico Bayou still features those tried and true elements of suspense, sensual romance, and historical setting that characterize her work. Pure escape. Donít miss this journey!
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