A Breath of Scandal (Sin Trilogy, #2) by Connie Mason
From the moment Lady Lara, half-gypsy daughter of the Earl of Stanhope, finds a wounded stranger washed up on Scotland's rugged shore, she knows their destinies will be forever entangled. So when a band of smugglers comes looking for the dashing stranger, Lara doesn't hesitate to claim him as her husband "Drago." But when her mysterious husband goes back to his own world—and its dark secrets—Lara returns to her father to take her place as his heiress...never expecting to find her Drago across the earl's crowded ballroom. And although he still enthralls her, Lara is determined that she will never truly be his wife until he surrenders his heart as well. (Goodreads)
Connie Mason is one of my go to historical romance authors. She does a great job pairing romance with adventure.
Julian is a man haunted by the death of his late fiance and unborn child. As a secret agent, he lives a double life and uses all of his resources to find the Jackal - the man responsible for his loss. Julian is close to discovering the man's identity when he is captured. He barely escaped with his life. Found on a beach by a beautiful gypsy woman who nurses him back to health. His desire for her is uncontrollable, but he knows she and her tribe would be better off without him around.
Lara is drawn to the stranger and he sparks a need within that is undeniable. But she is also living a double life. She is the recognized bastard daughter of an English Lord and will be joining her father soon. She knows she and the man she rescued cannot be together.
They go their separate ways only to bump into each other a London party. Imagine their surprise. She thought he was a smuggler and he thought she was just a gypsy. Out of honor, Julian offers to marry here and she refuses - though they are already married gypsy style - and they must work together to bring the Jackal to justice and find their future.
This was a good book. Lara's background and circumstance were different than the usual regency romance, but a titled a bit to the unbelievable side. And there were times when Julian deserved a good slap for being an ass - he wasn't the romantic hero he could have been, which is why I didn't give this book 4 stars. Still, it was a fun read.