From New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell comes a romance about a headstrong young lady determined to marry . . .
Mary Gates longs to restore the family stables to their former glory . . . so she bids on the famous Spender Stud. The only way she can pay for the beast is to marry, but her only prospect is her neighbor and chief rival, Tye Barlow. She has been tempted by his charms in the past—but she's determined not to give in to him now.
So Mary boldly goes to where the husbands are—London. She takes the town by storm, but the marital prospects are uninspiring when compared to Tye. He's followed her, determined to thwart her plans. Still she can't help but forget his protective embrace or tantalizing kisses.
And soon Mary realizes she may have to take the greatest gamble of all . . .
Redundant repartee and flat characters do little to enliven this formulaic, Regency-era romance. Mary Gates, the eccentric spinster of Lyford Meadows, will do anything to save Edmunson, her faltering horse farm, especially if it means beating neighboring breeder Tye Barlow at his own game. When Lord Spender's horse, known around the parish as The Stud for his impeccable racing history, comes up for auction, Mary bids well beyond her means to keep Tye from owning the horse. In a desperate attempt to seal the deal, she creates a fictitious fianc and convinces Lord Spender that her betrothed is wealthy and well connected. Despite her long-held resolution to remain independent, Mary hastens to London to secure herself a rich husband. Predictably, Tye, who has a complicated history with the infuriating beauty, follows her. London is very removed from their simple life at Lyford Meadows, however, and the two sworn enemies cannot help but see each other in a new light. With the exception of Mary and Tye, who share a few poignant moments, Maxwell's (The Marriage Contract) characters are as personable as puppets, and her story is only marginally less mechanical. This familiar tale will leave readers hungering for something more original.