Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.
Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.
But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.
Lady Arabella likes animals more than she likes people. The animals aren’t judgmental. They don’t expect her to dress, speak, and act a certain way. She is free to be herself. All of that could change if she takes a husband, which is why she avoids doing so. No matter what her mother says.
Nash, Lord of Clarendon, needs a wife. Well, he needs an heir and a spare; but unfortunately for him, that requires he takes a wife. Resigned to do what needs to be done, he was prepared to make an offer. However, those plans came crashing down with an “ooh”, a couple of “oh my goodnesses”, and a plethora of “shame on yous”. Before he can blink and clear his throat, he finds himself betrothed and then quickly married to Arabella.
Considering they couldn’t stand each other, they were set for a very interesting union. And interesting it became.
Both very easy on the eyes, they find themselves physically attracted to each other…that is, once they stopped arguing long enough to notice. Rules of the ton don’t have to be followed in the privacy of their own home; so before long, they find themselves finding common ground. There was still an obstacle, of course. Arabella’s love of nursing sick animals isn’t at all appropriate for a Countess, and Nash doesn’t hesitate to remind her of that. They slowly learn to compromise, and the love, honor, and respect grows.
The drama is minimal, with just enough to keep the story interesting. With no murder, theft, blackmail, or manipulation; and only a moment of a thought of possible infidelity, the story is light and sweet. It does have an ample amount of heat with the steamy sex scenes, so don’t let the sweet confuse you. Although the union is quick – as it often is in historicals since they are known for “love not being necessary”, the actual love developed at a steady pace. It’s so cute (for lack of a better term coming to mind) when Clarendon gets jealous. I couldn’t help but to smile.
I really enjoyed the story. I have not read the first in the series, but I plan to. I’d also like to follow up with Nash and Arabella.
Rating system: Cups of Coffee (the less the better)
0: You won’t need any coffee to stay up for this one. It’s intriguing enough all on its own.
1: You’ll stay up late, but not all night. Brew one cup.
2: You’ll read as long as you’re not tired. If you are, two cups should do the trick.
3: I hope you got plenty of rest; you’ll need it, or at least 3 cups.
4: If the cable goes out, read the book. It’s better than nothing, I guess. Oh, don’t forget your brew!
5: Find anything else to do- it doesn’t matter what it is. Don’t waste your coffee. Too much caffeine is bad for you.
My rating: 1 cup of coffee
Callie Hutton, the USA Today bestselling author of The Elusive Wife writes both Regency and western historical romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs and her top cheerleader husband of many years. Her family also includes her daughter, son, and daughter-in-law, and twin grandsons “The Twinadoes.”
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Clarendon’s dark blond curly hair hung a bit more over the back of his cravat than was fashionable, but it suited him well. It appeared his valet had attempted to tame the curls but a few stubborn locks had sprung free and brushed his broad forehead. An aristocratic nose and full lips left no doubt he was descended from generations of nobility. His crystal blue eyes bore into her as he released her hand when they joined the line. They stood across from each other as the music began. He bowed, she curtsied, and they came together. She would be the bigger of them, and clear the air. “I do wish to apologize for the trouble I caused you today, my lord.”
They switched places. “’Tis nothing, I assure you.” He extended his hand, and they moved together with the other dancers for a few steps.
“I disagree, my lord. You ended up muddy, with your clothes torn.”
His jaw flexed as they moved around each other and joined the line of dancers again. “Of course, you disagree, but I assure you, my lady, ’twas nothing.”
As they weaved in and out of the other dancers, she mumbled, “What do you mean ‘of course I disagree,’ and why cannot you accept an apology freely given? Are you always so disagreeable, then?”
They joined hands once more. “Perhaps because I do not wish to be reminded of the incident.”
Separating, they moved around each other, dipping with the music. “I believe you are merely being stubborn.”
Nash closed his eyes. “And I believe you are being stubborn.”
“I am not being stubborn. I simply want to extend my apologies for the mishap this afternoon.”
They joined hands again and moved in a circle. “Fine. Your apology is accepted.”
Another couple switched places with them, eyeing them with curiosity. “There, now. Was that so very hard?”
“My dear lady, do you wish to dance, or converse?”
They stepped forward, hand-in-hand to the head of the line. “Can we not do both?”
“Perhaps I lose count if I talk and dance.”
Her eyebrows rose and she offered a tight grin. “Cannot do two things at once, my lord? Is that why you had such a difficult time rescuing a poor cat?”
Nash came to an abrupt halt, causing the couple behind them to stumble. “I did not have a difficult time of it.” He bent close to her ear and murmured. “Furthermore, I am finished with this conversation.”