The Widow's Wager
She wed once for duty but will only wed again for love…
For as long as she can remember, Eliza North's heart has been in the possession of her older brother's friend, Nicholas Emerson. But Nicholas has always been oblivious to Eliza, and when he bought a commission and sailed to war, she wed sensibly instead. Returned to her brother's house a widow, she meets Lieutenant Emerson again and realizes neither of their feelings have changed. She accepts his request to chaperone his younger sister, Helena, hoping she might win his attention yet, with the assistance of the mysterious Mrs. Oliver and her guide for seduction.
Nicholas Emerson could never aspire to wed the daughter of a duke, especially one so pragmatic as Eliza has always been. That she married for the whimsy love makes him wonder how well he knew Eliza after all. She is still the only woman who captures his attention, but he knows his injuries mean he can never marry. Still, he cannot resist the chance to request Eliza's assistance with Helena's second season, and the chance to share her company.
Neither of them anticipate Helena's wild behavior or their necessary alliance to defend her reputation. Entrusted with the manuscript of Mrs. Oliver's advice on the seductive arts, Eliza puts its counsel to use, much to Nicholas' delighted astonishment. How can he refuse the woman he loves, even knowing that he can never ensure her happiness? Caught between honor and love, Nicholas must accept his legacy from the war for this pair to have a future—is Eliza the woman who can heal his wounds forever?
Ms. Delacroix never disappoints!
Eliza North has always had a tendre for her brother’s best friend, Nicholas Emerson. But their social status (she the daughter of a duke and he a mere squire’s son) prevented the honorable Nicholas from declaring his all consuming love for Eliza. Choosing to purchase a commission, Nicholas went off to war, breaking Eliza’s heart. Eliza, seeing no path forward to a marriage based on love, reluctantly accepted the attentions of the Reverend Frederick North. Ten years later, Eliza, now a widow, encounters Nicholas once again. Where status once convinced Nicholas that they had no future, now a war injury stood in their way. Eliza comes across a manuscript of the scandalous Mrs. Oliver, containing advice on seducing a gentleman and puts the information to practical use on the person of one Mr. Emerson. Ms. Delacroix writes beautiful novels where the reader immediately cares about the characters, hoping for an HEA, despite the seemingly insurmountable impediments. And she never disappoints. I highly recommend this latest book in the series, which, though it can easily be read as a standalone, is a lovely and worthy addition to the entire series. A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book and my comments here are my honest opinion.