Gillian Ranson, Lady Wright, fell in love with her husband the first time she saw him across a crowded ballroom. Sadly, he did not feel the same connection. Still, since it was an advantageous match, they married later that season. On their wedding night, he explained to her that he was in love with his mistress and would not be returning to her bed (after a quick consummation). After a few years of benign neglect, he left for the Continent and the war.
During his years abroad, he never answered any of her letters, even though she dutifully wrote once a week. Finally, unwilling to endure such treatment any longer, Gillian left her in-laws home in London and went to the country estate of her cousin, the Duke of Holborn. In the country she was finally content and began to move past the unpleasantness of her marriage. Just as she has finally decided to take a lover, her estranged husband arrives and demands she return to London with him. Unwilling to chance her love being killed by her husband in a duel, Gillian agrees to go with Lord Wright.
Brian Ranson, the Earl of Wright, requires the assistance of his wife. He returned from the war to find things not at all as he left them – his mistress betrayed him while he was away, his wife was not where he left her and his father is trying to manipulate his life in countless ways.
Brian is convinced that he will be able to smooth out his life if he has Gillian by his side. He wants a place on Lord Liverpool’s staff and Gillian’s father is a good friend of Liverpool. Brian has taken over the care of a sickly infant and Gillian has a great deal of experience with infants because she has several younger siblings. He knows he will need to socialize and entertain to further his political ambitions but has barely had time to settle his new household in London and Gillian has been running her cousin’s estate and running it very well.
There is a fine (or not-so-fine) line between a chemistry-filled argument that covers reluctant romantic feelings and an anger-filled argument between that covers nothing but bitterness. The interactions between these two people came down on the wrong side of that line way too often for my tastes. We are told that Gillian and Brian care about each other…that they are developing or re-developing feelings for each other over the course of the book. But I didn’t feel it at all and their interactions didn’t show me that was happening.
Brian seemed calculating the whole time – willing to do or say whatever he needed to get what he wanted. And Gillian just seemed bitter and pathetic and, eventually, willing to settle for crumbs. This book was joyless – and a romance should never be joyless!
She’ll be his perfect wife . . .
Preoccupied with fighting Napoleon and making love to his mistress, Brian Ransom has ignored his wife since their wedding. But now that he’s become the Earl of Wright, he’s ready to fetch his bride back to London. He’s shocked to find she’s become a bold, beautiful woman, exactly the kind he lusts after . . . and she wants nothing to do with him.
Lady Gillian is desperate to seize the love she’s been denied . . . but not with her rakish husband! So she makes a bargain—for thirty days she’ll be the perfect wife, then he’ll set her free. But no matter how she hardens her heart against her damnable earl, her body begs her to surrender . . .
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Other books in the series (loosely connected):