In 1885, a proper Victorian woman's place was in the home. Convention never appealed to Hallie Pinefoy. But plans for financial independence through a successful doll-making venture have one impediment. She's inherited a curiosity shop and a handsome business partner who's proving to be a delicious distraction.
When Bremen Tyler inherits a shop in coastal England, he breaks from the mystical Ancestral clan to live a normal life. The only way to guarantee a permanent break is to marry his Heart Match, a perfect soul mate. Bremen recognizes the captivating Hallie as his true love, but she isn't cooperating with his courtship.
If he can retrieve the stolen Heart Gem, an Artifact of Love, he can use it to prove their match. The surface of the Gem reflects the essence of a couple's future life, but the risks are great. More importantly, will Hallie realize true love doesn't need proof?
Hallie’s bottom shifted from Bremen’s lap onto the cold stone garden bench. Why was he stopping just when the moment was getting interesting? Then she heard the footsteps in the distance, rustling along the path. Her head still blissfully dazed, Bremen’s possessive hands moved to straighten the aquamarine gown’s bodice, which had drawn away completely from her breasts.
Clay stepped into sight. His face was an angry red, even in the dark night. She jumped at the intrusion and attempted to yank her hand out of Bremen’s, but his firm palm held on without releasing.
“Bremen Tyler, how dare you encroach on our relationship? Hallie and I have a long-established agreement between our families. You must honor this arrangement and withdraw your presence.” The shrillness of Clay’s voice reverberated through the grounds.
“I haven’t been informed of a promise or understanding. In fact, I have heard from the lady she is uncommitted. A state I’m determined to reverse.” Bremen’s deep voice was low and controlled.
“She would be committed to me if it were not for you. You are confusing her; she loves me but you are filling her head with promises and nonsense.”
“I have given Hallie neither false promises nor nonsense. She knows my true feelings.”
“She also knows my feelings and has said she will consider my offer of marriage.”
Both men stared, waiting for a decision.