The rules of marriage . . . according to Miss Annabel Essex
A husband must be:
Make that very rich. She's had enough of leaky roofs and thread-worn clothing.
London is the center of the civilized world, and Annabel has a passion for silk and hot water.
Good-looking would be nice, but not necessary. Same for intelligent.
Isn't she lucky? She's found just the man! And her chosen spouse is nothing like the impoverished Scottish Earl of Ardmore, who has nothing but his gorgeous eyes, his brain—and his kisses—to recommend him.
So what cruel twist of fate put her in a carriage on her way to Scotland with just that impoverished earl and all the world thinking they're man and wife? Sleeping in the same bed? Not to mention the game of words started by the earl—in which the prize is a kiss. And the forfeit . . .
Well. They are almost married, after all!
As smooth, full-bodied and intoxicating as a fine wine, this Regency romance, the second in a series following the impoverished Essex sisters (after Much Ado About You) is vintage James. Every exchange showcases the author's subtle wit, and not one of the encounters between the book's well-matched protagonists refined beauty Annabel Essex and the simple but capable Ewan, earl of Ardmore lacks for passion. Annabel has practiced every smile and come-hither glance for one purpose: to snare a wealthy husband. The last person she wants to charm is a handsome Scottish earl who's rumored to be poor. Nevertheless, their attraction pulls them together, as does circumstance, and before long, they find themselves en route to Scotland and marriage. During this weeklong journey, the protagonists' passions and personalities blossom as they take part in a delicious game to elicit truths and kisses from one another. A full quiver of secondary characters including Annabel's troublemaking sister, Imogen, and the tired rake Garret Mayne complement the primary romance and provide tantalizing glimpses of relationships that will no doubt be developed in future books.
I loved Annabel and Ewan- their story had me hooked.