Merlin Lambourne has invented the “speaking box”—a sort of telephone—which is so valuable that Napoleon has killed for it. Sent by the crown to bring both inventor and invention to safety, Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is shocked to learn Mr. Lambourne is a Miss.
Perhaps more shocking, however, are his feelings for the eccentric genius. She is everything he doesn’t like: incapable of following orders, unaware of conventional etiquette, preoccupied, disorganized, and unkempt. Yet she beguiles him. One of the most ingenious inventors in England, she is also one of the country’s greatest hopes in the defense against the power mad Napoleon Bonaparte. Now, if he could just get her mind out of the clouds and convince her to marry him . . .
Merlin is not absentminded, it’s just that she only seems to be able to pay attention to one thing at a time. And maybe she does take everything people say literally, but people ought to say what they mean. Now this Ransom Falconer wants her to forget her current interest in flying machines and focus on the speaking box she’s lost interest in finishing. It’s quite disconcerting. In fact, everything about him is disconcerting; in her isolated life Merlin has never met anyone who affects her quite like Ransom does.