"Dear Reader- The Countess was my very first novel, published in 1978 as The Autumn Countess - a Regency romance. ... Well, sort of. As it turned out, The Autumn Countess danced into the bookstores not as a Regency, but as a Gothic masquerading as a Regency. I've rewritten the novel extensively to make it even more unabashedly Gothic. Andrea Jameson, unlike the conventional Gothic heroine, isn't a destitute governess. She's young, rich and adores her Dinmont terrier, George. However, Andrea doesn't have a single dream of meeting Mr. Right, marrying, and living happily ever after... She strikes a bargain with an older widowed earl who promises her all the razzle-dazzle without the obey part. She's perfectly happy with the deal until she meets the earl's nephew and realises fairly quickly that she might have made an exceptional blunder. But she doesn't have much time to ponder her dim-witted choice of husband because someone is trying to kill her. Will she survive to marry the man of her dreams?... Catherine Coulter"