Ash Hawkins, Duke of Buckley, no more wants to marry than he wants a stick in his eye. As the owner of a gaming hell, he is all too aware the odds of a happy marriage are against him. But raising his three rebellious wards alone is proving more than he can handle. He needs to find someone who stands to benefit from a marriage of convenience as much as he does. Someone logical, clinical, and rational. And in a stroke of luck, he quite literally stumbles over just such a woman.
After years of ridicule for being more interested in bugs than boys, Bronwyn has accepted that she’ll never marry for love. Her parents, however, are threatening to find her a husband. Bronwyn doesn’t need any scientific research to show her Ash has secrets. But his proposal would give her the freedom to continue her entomology research and perhaps finally get published. Just as long as she can keep her mind on her work and off his piercing eyes, broad shoulders, and wicked, wicked tongue.
Britton launches her Synneful Spinsters series, a spin-off of her Isle of Synne series, with this satisfying Regency romance. Ash Hawkins, Duke of Buckley, needs a wife to raise his three audacious young wards—and keep them far from his lifestyle—while he continues his work as owner of a London gaming hall. It's the perfect arrangement for entomologist Bronwyn Pickering, who's eager to escape status-hungry parents who treat her as a pawn to further their social climbing. Having suffered through an embarrassing failed courtship during her first season, Bronwyn's eager to avoid more gossip and pity, and requests that her new husband stay a fortnight with her on the Isle of Synne to sell their union before abandoning her and the girls to live a separate life in London. Though painful memories of his abusive childhood have Ash reluctant to get too attached to his new family, he reluctantly agrees. As the couple work together to look after the children, an emotional bond forms—and attraction becomes impossible to resist. It's sweet to watch as Ash's family softens his troubled heart. Likewise, Ash's kindness and consideration gives Bronwyn newfound strength. The endearing, complex characters provide a firm foundation for this emotional tale of acceptance and healing.