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REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
Charlotte Hayden is happy being single although it causes her mother much consternation. So when she manages to get herself into a reputation-ruining situation, she is forced to accept Shad, Viscount Shadderly’s offer of marriage. He needs to find a wife, albeit only for convenience and she is not in a position to argue despite finding out that her soon-to-be husband is already looking for his next mistress.
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Charlotte misses her best friend Ann, who has recently married Shad’s cousin the Earl of Beresford and who is now away enjoying her honeymoon. Charlotte’s wedding day throws up a shock or two for her when she is introduced to two young children, who it seems she will be expected to accept, if not into her house, but definitely into her life.
She is thrilled when Ann returns from honeymoon. However she soon discovers that her friend isn’t quite so smitten with her husband as Charlotte had presumed her to be. Ann then shares her secret with Charlotte about the baby she had out of wedlock, and Charlotte has to decide whether she should keep her friend’s confidence, or be honest with Shad who, being suspicious of where his wife’s affections truly lie, follows them when they go to visit the baby.
Shad is sure Charlotte has feelings for his cousin and just when they are finally learning to trust each other, an innocent encounter is made public which causes Shad to believe he was right all along. Refusing to listen to her, their fledgling relationship is threatened. Meanwhile, Charlotte is secretly falling in love with her husband and their problems are further increased when Ann admits to her that she is planning to run away with her former lover and take their baby with them. Does Charlotte divulge the secret to Shad, or do as Ann has pleaded and say nothing? Will this final deception push her marriage to Shad to breaking point?
I have to admit to not having read many regencies before, but I loved this book. It’s saucy and compelling, being written from both the heroine and the hero’s point of view. The relationship between the two main characters as they move from mutually unexpected attraction, to a more physical compatibility and eventually to loving each other makes great entertainment, and I can’t think of anything at all that could possibly improve this book. I look forward to reading Janet Mullany’s other novels.
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