Lady Beresford's Lover (The Marriage Game #8) by Ella Quinn
When Rupert, the Earl of Stanstead, spies Vivian, the widowed Countess of Beresford, across the crowded ballroom, he cannot take his eyes off her.
Vivian, has fled to London to avoid the importuning of her husband's cousin, the new Lord Beresford, for her hand in marriage.
Her marriage had been such a disaster that Vivian has determined to never remarry.
Belittled by him, Vivian is convinced that she is less than desirable and somehow deformed. It takes the careful courting and loving of Rupert for her to come into her own as a woman.
After a masquerade ball, where Vivian attends as Cleopatra and Rupert as Anthony, Vivian decides to enter into a clandestine affair with Him as her alter ego, Cleopatra. Vivian is convinced that Rupert doesn't know her true identity. Rupert of course knows exactly who she is.
I must admit that this is where I am bemused by Vivian's thinking. How does she think Rupert will not find out who she is in the intimacy of their situation. Ah well, Makeup and a barely lit room can work wonders!
Marriage to Rupert though is another question. Adore him as Vivian does, she will not tie him to a woman who is older, less than perfect, and without the connections he needs. So by day Rupert courts her openly and by night he courts her lustily without letting on that he knows exactly who she is. Very exhausting!
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