Second in the series, this book isn't quite as good as the first, IMO. This book tries to hard to address social issues in the Regency era, and it rather trips over its feet in doing so.The funniest part of the whole book (again, IMO) is the opening, where Nicholas (brother to Ralston) discovers that a British ladies' magazine has labeled him "The Lord to Land" - most eligible bachelor in all of London. Nick, being the more level-headed of the twins and always having been the one with the impeccable reputation, decides it would be best to head out of town and let all this die down. When the Duke of Leighton asks Nick to return to his hunting/tracking ways to locate his younger sister, Georgiana, who has run away, Nick isn't sure he wants the mission; but he decides it's more important to get out of town, and this mission provides him the opportunity.We learn so much more about Nick in this book. We learn why and how he got the scar on his face - the only way to tell Nick apart from Ralston, physically. We meet his friend, Rock, a Turk who's been a good friend and who rescued Nick from a Turkish prison and sure death. We learn that Nick has been a "hunter" for some time, but that he returned to England after vowing to give up that life.Enter our Heroine, Isabella - daughter of a titled gentleman who gambled away his fortune and often his daughter's hand in marriage. Isabella has a younger brother, who is now the earl after her father's death. Their mother died years ago, a bitter woman who blamed Isabella and anyone and anything for their father's absence.Isabella has had a lot of responsibility on her shoulders since a young age. She's what's kept their family home, such as it is, and a bit of land. She also started taking in young women in need of shelter - women abused, battered, and at the mercy of the men who treated them like the property they were legally considered. Some had been "working women", some battered wives, unmarried and pregnant, but all with some need to run away and try to start anew. Isabella currently "employs" a number of these women as her butler, stable master, foot"men", and cook - all disguised as men. (Well, except the cook.) So of course, Georgiana has found her way to Minerva House and asked for refuge; Georgiana is only 17 and pregnant, and she won't tell who the father is.Of course Nick and Rock end up nearby, and run into Isabella in the small village. Isabella is in desperate need of money - to send her brother the young earl away to school, to make repairs on Minerva House, to feed and clothe everyone under her care, and more. Nick is an antiquities expert, specifically on marble, and Isabella happens to have quite a collection. She engages Nick to come to assess and value the collection and to help her sell it. Both Nick and Rock instantly recognize that there are more secrets than Isabella is letting on, so they surprise her a day in advance of their appointment.And here's where the romance part comes in... for both Nick and Isabella have secrets. And both are determined to know the other's secrets. And both are falling in lust/love. In fact, it's almost alarming at how quickly they begin a physical relationship that goes beyond kissing!But how will Nick ever tell Isabella that his real purpose in being there is to find Georgiana? Will Isabella ever be able to relinquish any part of her burden by telling her secrets to Nick? Is a HEA ending possible?-----------------Because to me the social issues got in the way, this book was a bit heavier than the first. But many readers aren't aware of the status of women in that time, and so the author drives the point home - again and again. Isabella is so burdened and so unable to divulge the barest of secrets to Nick because she fears that her worth is bound up in being the Protector responsible for Minerva House. But she's surrounded with wise, funny, capable women who love her and advise her to "go for it" and land this lord. So the back-and-forth between Nick and Isabella gets a bit tiresome - him trying to earn her trust and worm her secrets out of her, her resisting, and then both falling prey to their overwhelming desires. Like a man, Nick can only show his feelings through physical action, which doesn't help Isabella with the trust issue at all.Of course, everything resolves itself, but not quite as one might expect. Nick and Isabella manage to find their HEA, and perhaps a bit too neatly in light of the heavier social issues at stake. But it is a romance novel, after all!