Damon Undone (The Deverells, 5) by Jayne Fresina
"We're not going to get along, you and I, are we?"
"Good god, I hope not."
Thus begins the acquaintance of Damon Deverell and a young woman he finds under his feet one evening, at a ball to which he isn't invited. She reminds him instantly of someone he knew before, but that would be impossible, of course, because she—the girl from his past—was entirely a construct of his own imagination. Wherever this disturbingly real woman came from, he's determined to maintain a cautious distance. But when he's hired to keep an eye on her, Damon's resolve to keep it "merely business" is soon threatened by some fresh-baked muffins, a pair of ankles he wishes he'd never seen, and a certain bold, independent American woman who boasts of a "very efficient right hook".
Miss Epiphany "Pip" Piper has been sent into exile abroad, where her father hopes she'll learn to cool off her hot temper, acquire some elegant manners, and, hopefully, find a titled husband. Mr. Prospero "Smokey" Piper, of Louisiana and various other parts unknown and best unmentioned, claims to be the first ambitious and wealthy American businessman to think of this idea, but just like his very first boyhood attempt at building a whiskey still behind the family outhouse, this plan doesn't exactly turn out the way he expects either.
And although explosions are inevitable, it's not his grandmother's drawers in danger this time.
When these two stubborn young people— Damon the "merciless shark" of a lawyer, who likes his world in order, and the utterly disorderly Miss Piper, a "despicable girl of whom nothing could be made" find themselves thrown together by mischievous fate, it's not just a battle of the sexes or even a comedy of errors…
It's a chemical reaction that will change both their worlds forever.