Tess Alcott has spent the better part of her life on the wrong side of the law. From childhood, she has learned to survive by her wiles and wits and soon graduated from pick pocketing to jewel and art theft. When her former mentor and employer coerces her into one final job, Tess is forced to work the con of her life. A fortune in emeralds, art, and good old-fashioned cash rests on Tess’s ability to convince the Cushman matriarch that she is Elizabeth, the kidnapped heiress to the Cushman empire. The only thing that proves a threat to Tess’s carefully constructed con is the presence of Luke Mansfield, the Cushman family lawyer who flatly disbelieves Tess’s lost heiress story. But as Tess and Luke face each other as adversaries, an overwhelming attraction is bringing them closer together even as past betrayals and the lure of revenge threatens to drive them apart.
Michelle Martin is superb in bringing together elements of romance, intrigue, humor and suspense in this modern tale of love and hope. Tess is a wonderfully endearing heroine: strong, independent, jaded and cynical yet with an allure of innocence and vulnerability. With a checkered past that haunts her from day to day, Tess has layers after layers to her personality and ultimately she is driven by honor; con artist or not. Luke is a strong, charming hero and it is delightful to watch him change from an aloof, cranky lawyer into a simple man who is madly and completely in love. Along with a deep, moving love story, there is witty humor, fast paced action and suspense, and an ending that will have you sighing, laughing, gaping in disbelief, and altogether stunned by a brilliant and captivating novel.