"Irresistibly angsty...will keep historical romance fans hooked." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Girls Before Earls is the delightful first novel in the Rogues to Lovers series from romance author Anna Bennett.
WHAT A GIRL WANTS
To survive her difficult childhood, Miss Hazel Lively relied on two things: a tough exterior and a love of books. Now, she’s realized her life-long dream of opening a school for girls. She’s hoping the wealthy families who summer at the shore will entrust their daughters to Bellehaven Academy—and help pay for less fortunate students. All Hazel must do is maintain a flawless reputation. It’s a foolproof plan…until a handsome earl strides into her office.
WHAT AN EARL NEEDS
Gabriel Beckett, Earl of Bladenton, has had a monstrous headache since the day his teenaged niece became his ward. She’s already been expelled from two London schools, but Blade is determined to enroll her at Bellehaven Academy, where she’ll be out of his hair. If only he can convince the buttoned-up—and unexpectedly intriguing—headmistress to take a risk.
LEAD TO AN IRRESISTIBLE DEAL
Blade makes an offer that’s impossible for Hazel to refuse, but she has one condition: the earl must visit his niece every other week. Soon, Blade discovers there’s more to Hazel than meticulous lessons. Their sparring leads to flirtation…and something altogether deeper. But the passion that flares between them poses a threat to Hazel’s school and Blade’s battered heart. They say a good thing can’t last forever, but true love? Well, it just might…
“A fantastic storyteller. —Fresh Fiction
"This enjoyable tale of two people living full lives and finding unexpected love is a great kick-off for Bennett’s new Rogues to Lovers series.” —Booklist
Bennett (the Debutant Diaries series) launches her Rogues to Lovers series with an irresistibly angsty Regency romance between an earl and a schoolteacher. Twenty-eight-year-old Hazel Lively, headmistress of Bellehaven Academy of Deportment, is determined to make a success of the fledgling school for girls. When Blade, Earl of Bladenton, attempts to dump his 15-year-old niece and ward, Kitty Beckett, on the school's doorstep, Hazel agrees to take her in on the condition that Blade visits Kitty every two weeks, sensing that their relationship is in need of repair. Kitty has been expelled from her two previous schools, and Blade is anxious to have her out of his hair so he can continue his courtship of one Lady Penelope in London, but he reluctantly agrees to Hazel's terms. And soon he finds that it is Hazel, not Penelope, who consumes his mind. But for their happy ending to work, romantic Hazel must convince the businesslike Blade to open his heart efforts that are complicated by the persistent Lady Penelope. Bennett's enticing characters come complete with believable flaws and nuanced emotional baggage, and the slow-burning romance between them creates an undeniable sense of attraction, even in the face of steep obstacles. The well-drawn emotional ups and downs will keep historical romance fans hooked.