STORY: Brooke Culpepper resigned herself to spinsterhood when she turned down the only marriage proposal she’d likely ever receive to care for her family. After her father dies, a distant cousin inherits the estate and becomes their guardian but permits Brooke to act in his stead.
Heath, Earl of Ravensdale is none-too-pleased to discover five young women call the dairy farm he won and intends to sell, their home. Desperate, pauper poor, and with nowhere to go, Brooke proposes a wager. His stakes? The farm. Hers? Her virtue. The land holds no interest for Heath, but Brooke does and he accepts her challenge.
Brooke loses, and her devastation is compounded when the cousin arrives, intending to haul the Culpepper misses off to London. Heath astounds himself and proposes in order to apply for guardianship of the other girls.
Does Brooke dare marry the handsome stranger who’d been bent on compromising her? Will Heath regret his impulsive gesture, or will unexpected love flourish?
REVIEW: Esherton Green, Cheshire England
Brooke Culpepper, age 23, has a heavy load on her slim shoulders. Since her parents passed away five years ago, she has been tasked with caring for her sister, Brette, and her three cousins, Blythe, and twins, Blaike and Blaire. In addition, she has the responsibility of running their Esherton Dairy Farm. Money is very sparse and she has to do all she can to try and make money to buy a new bull for their cows, otherwise there will be no more new calves. The five ladies are all beautiful, blue-eyed blondes and each of them works hard to raise money via selling herbs, fruit and vegetables, sewing, and giving piano and voice lessons. Their own food supplies are minimal and their clothes are nearly thread-bare, but they are happy being together.
When Brooke’s father died with no male issue, the estate passed to a distant cousin, Sheridan Gainsborough. In those five years, the girls have never seen him even though he is also their guardian. He is simply a greedy man who has “allowed” them to remain at the farm for half of the profit from it. To prove Sheridan’s stupidity, he loses the property in a gambling wager to Heath, the Earl of Ravensdale. Heath hates country life, preferring city life and his constant stream of kept women, whom he insists that they be clean and disease-free.
Heath travels to Esherton Green to investigate his new property finding five beautiful women inside. Arriving in the midst of a violent storm, he is soaked. The Dairy Farm is but a few miles from his good friend’s home where he had stayed. Tristan, the Marquis of Leventhorpe, is another confirmed bachelor. Heath comes across as a jerk only interested in making a deal with Brooke that she become his new mistress and in exchange, he will let her family continue to live at the farm. But when Heath goes missing after leaving Esherton Green, Leventhorpe arrives to investigate and finds Heath has been knocked out and drugged. How could this have happened? It is necessary that Heath stay at the farm to recuperate and Leventhorpe refuses to leave him.
Brooke is forced to pay out what little money she has for a physician to attend him, in addition to feeding him what little food they have. How will this all turn out for the ladies?
I loved this story and don’t want to give away anymore spoilers. Suffice to say that readers are going to fall in love this series. The characters are written perfectly. I cannot wait for the next books in the series to see what is in store for each of the ladies.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the author