The Devious Debutante

Beneath the glittering façade of historic mansions and gaslit restaurants, no one tells Maureen Collins what to do. Not her father. Not the old society families of New Orleans. Not even her dead mother, who chose her groom the day her daughter was born. Refusing the husband selected for her, Maureen ventures into a world of lies, disguises and midnight rendezvous—to win the love of Ben Merritt, an intriguing stranger with something to hide.

Merritt leads a double life. By day he’s a priggish attorney; when the moon rises, he prowls the docks tracking opium smugglers. When he meets Maureen, he suppresses his desire and thinks of her as a useful tool to aid his investigation of her father—his prime suspect.

Each tries to make sense of the other’s peculiar behavior. Maureen concludes Merritt is an opium addict, while Merritt deduces that Maureen and her father are cohorts in a vast smuggling operation.

As the deceptions multiply, the stakes grow higher. When Maureen’s desperate plan to learn the truth turns deadly, only one man can identify the threads of conspiracy to save her life.

Profile Photo Ursula LeCoeur

About Ursula LeCoeur

Ursula LeCoeur is the pen name of a mother-daughter writing, Mary and Helen Scully, who set their Love in New Orleans Series in America’s most romantic city. Their witty 1880s romances are best described as Queen Victoria meets the Big Easy. Mary comes to fiction after years as a journalist and editor of a NASCAR fan magazine. Helen’s first book, In the Hope of Rising Again (Penguin Press 2004, Riverhead 2005), is an historical literary novel also available on The Willing Widow, their debut novel in the Love in New Orleans Series, has been selected by the Library Journal's curated SELF-e collection to be distributed to libraries across the United States. This unique platform will enable library patrons to read The Willing Widow as an ebook on any device, at any time, beginning in mid-2015. If you loved The Willing Widow, and their holiday novella, A Christmas Kiss, you'll love Book III in the Love in New Orleans Series. In The Devious Debutante, Maureen Collins sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding the man she loves. To succeed, she’ll engage in any scheme, no matter how dangerous. They love to hear from readers. Email them at Visit their website,, for blogs on New Orleans history and traditional Southern recipes.

All books by Ursula LeCoeur

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