STORY: Marcus Reece, Duke of Exeter, has spent most of his life pulling his twin brother out of trouble. An occasional thank you would suffice; instead, his resentful sibling forges his name to a marriage license and presents him with an unwanted wife. She’s a vicar’s widow with a mind of her own who may be the first person in Marcus’s well-ordered life to make him feel…completely out of control.
Hannah can’t help but curse her own idiocy. Dire straits have led her to the altar with a gentleman she hardly knows. Played for a fool, she’s embarrassed, furious, and worse, married to an equally outraged stranger—an exasperating man who unleashes all manner of emotions in Hannah, not to mention unwanted desire. Reluctantly, she agrees to play the wife until he can sort out the mess. But the nearness of the undeniably attractive Duke and the passion in his black eyes unsettles her well-guarded heart—making her want to do so much more than “act” the role of blissful bride.
REVIEW: Marcus Reece, the Duke of Exeter and his younger twin brother, David, are as different as night and day. Marcus has always taken his role of Duke very seriously and lives a disciplined life. David, on the other hand, has always lived a life of scandalous behavior, gambling and drinking too much. When David is caught with a woman cheating on her husband, Marcus sends David to Brighton until the scandal dies down. On the way to Brighton, David and his friend, Percy, were racing their carriages and collided with one another throwing David out of his carriage.
Hannah Preston, widow of the local vicar, lives with her four-year-old daughter, Molly, in the town of Middleborough, midway between London and Brighton. She is packing to move back with her father as a new vicar with soon take over the Vicarage.
She hears the crash and runs to help. David is taken to her cottage where the local doctor sets his broken leg and suggests that he not be moved for a month. Hannah agrees to care for him at the Vicarage. The calm life with Hannah and Molly is good for David as he heals. He becomes friends with her and offers her a marriage of convenience which she accepts. She knows that life for her and Molly at her father’s home would be miserable. After they marry, they journey to London to Marcus’s home. This has given David time to realize that now he will have to give up his life of drinking and whoring and he soon regrets his hasty decision. He also realizes that Hannah would be a better match with his brother, Marcus.
Shortly after arriving at Marcus’s home, David flees leaving a note that he used Marcus’s name on the marriage registry showing that Hannah is married to Marcus. Hannah is shocked and hurt and Marcus is very angry at David once again for his irresponsibility.
Marcus is cold toward Hannah and she is determined to find a way out of the mess while keeping up the charade that she and Marcus are actually husband and wife. As they get to know one another, they realize that they are both rather stubborn people. Thinking that Hannah is just someone looking for a rich husband, Marcus is skeptical of her. However, after getting to know her, he realizes that his first assumptions are wrong and an attraction begins to form between them.
But more trouble arises when it learned that there is a large counterfeiting operation going on and David appears to be right in the middle of it. This makes more problems for Marcus and worry for the big trouble David could be in. Thus, he jumps in to see what he can find out about it.
This is a good story of romance, intrigue, and a bit of humor. Caroline Linden has once again written a very good novel.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher