Ariel Adams is in a bit of a pickle; her now-former business partner, darn her, has gone and fallen in love, abruptly. Ariel had been planning to spend a couple of years building up the business, then going on her own, but this change means she’ll have to really step up her game. Fortunately, the now-googly-eyed ex-partner has handed over all the client leads–and a beach house! She gets to the beach house, and discovers something she hadn’t been told: it is in the process of renovation, by a sexy beach bum named Jake Renner!
Gabi Rafferty has been more-or-less happily raising her young daughter Ashley alone, until her ex, who had signed away his rights years ago, turned up, and started causing trouble. Gabi flees, and ends up at Yosemite, where a friend she hasn’t seen since high school works. Ranger Jeff Thompson, married once himself, is still kicking himself over his past with Gabi–until the day she shows up at the park.
Kevin Whattling is one step away from Debtor’s Prison, and the only thing that can save him is marriage to an heiress–and fast! To that purpose, he reviews the possible candidates and, to his friends’ shock, selects Miss Eugennia Welch. They hardly seem a suitable match. After all, Kevin is a well-known Corinthian, and Eugennia is the epitome of a bluestocking–and notoriously eccentric at that. However, Kevin arrives–freely admitting his financial distress and subsequent desire to woo her–right as Eugennia is wondering what it would be like if Prince Charming showed up on her doorstep. So, what can be the harm in giving Kevin a chance? She might even learn a little something about boxing along the way.
Miles Fletcher, a dandy who has made his living by dealing in beautiful art, is about to inherit his ailing uncle’s vast estate. After Uncle Lester has an unusually good night at the card table, he sends Miles to a house party to “save an innocent lamb from being fleeced.” Little does Miles know that the innocent lamb–one Aurora Ramsay–would be a diamond in the rough. Little does he know that they would strike a bargain: she will teach him how to run a farm, and in exchange he will teach her the skills necessary to secure a wealthy husband. And little does he know that he would fall in love with her.
Joanna Patterson and and Lord Sedgewick Wylie are as different as can be. The former is a clumsy, wool-gathering, bespectacled vicar’s daughter with a tendency to stammer when she’s flustered. Sedge is the pinnacle of fashion, and he can make or break a person’s reputation with a sharp word and a critical glace through his quizzing glass. All Joanna wants is to successfully find a suitable husband for her charge, Harriet. If only she could stop colliding with Sedge–literally–and navigate London society without making a complete cake of herself . . .
Violet Tandy is a new author on a mission; all she wants is a white picket fence, a home of her own, tranquil and alone–so she wrote a memoir about being a high-priced prostitute. Which, uhm, you know, she really isn’t, but can’t seem to convince anyone of. She writes her fiction very, very well, you see–so much that Gavin Mason is sure she’s integrated him into one of her characters and ruined his reputation!
Her fiance was tall, dark and handsome. A pity! When she wanted someone witty, kind and gentle.
–Cover Blurb, The Wicked Cousin
Byrony de Beaufre adores her cousin, Sir Lucas Bardine. Growing up on neighboring properties, they spent hours playing in their “castle,” an abandoned hermitage they discovered as children. Even now that Byrony is an adult and an Incomparable, she still regards Lucas as her closest friend–nevermind that he is grossly obese, chronically short of breath, and a figure of fun in society. He remains her kind, dear Lucas, whose generosity is unparalleled. He even rescued their charming, charismatic cousin Stephen from the slums and launched him in society. Then, Lucas vanishes without a trace. . .
Laurie Stephens and her mother have taken a big step–they bought a lovely old ranch home, and have opened a hotel in it. Despite both of them having held jobs in the hotel world, it’s not going well, and Laurie is getting worried…until Rolf Audley suddenly crashes into their lives–literally!
Portia Haverall was raised by an academic and taught to be a thinking woman. Then, her father decided she was a bit too shrewish and outspoken–that she’d never marry unless she could be a proper lady. After one too many fights where he cut Portia out of his will, Haverall suddenly dies, leaving Portia alone and penniless. When she fails to find a relation to take her in, Portia spends the night unchaperoned at a public inn. In the middle of the night, a terrified woman pounds on her door for sanctuary. When the woman is pursued into the room by “the Beast”–a giant, uncouth looking man–Portia does the only sensible thing: she knocks him out with a bedwarmer.
“A most rewarding change from Assembly Room and Marriage Mart. Witty, humorous, concisely written, and far more true to the life of those times than most authors would dare. A bloody good read.”
I am opening a review, once again, with a quote from the back cover. Lady Elizabeth is the twenty-eight year old heroine, who has been left in charge of her multiple younger sisters after her father’s death a year earlier. Ever since, she’s been ensconced in the estate’s Dower House, distracted from her duties by her bizarre and remarkable hobby: astronomy. She has discovered a new comet during her nightly vigils, is in correspondance with the leading astronomers of the day, and is preparing to publish her first scientific article. In short, she is totally “unacceptable” as a woman. Then, the new Lord Clanross arrives. A dour, stiff man with a sharp tongue and a dubious background (the family’s black sheep who was never expected to inherit), Clanross quickly alienates Lady Elizabeth. Meanwhile, the charming Lord Bevis, whom Elizabeth refused to marry five years earlier, arrives on the scene. He still holds a torch for her, all these years later . . . Maybe there is hope that a man will accept Lady Elizabeth, in spite of her unnatural hobby?