Any Groom Will Do
by Charis Michaels
Series: The Brides of Belgravia
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Lady Willow Hunnicut has always dreamed of living in London. With design talent and aspirations grander than London’s finest houses, she knows an unmarried heiress will never be allowed to live in the capital alone. But a married woman may come and go as she pleases. With a little imagination, a lot of courage, and one carefully worded advertisement, Willow concocts a plan to get everything she wants… even if she must take a husband in exchange.
Lord Brent Caulder, the Earl of Cassin, is destitute, his Yorkshire castle is crumbling, and his tenants are without work. He has an ingenious scheme that’s a surefire moneymaker—if only someone would invest. When he discovers an advertisement seeking adventurers to fund, he is determined to claim the money. But his world is turned upside down when the investor turns out to be a flame-haired heiress.
The deal is simple: In return for marrying Willow, Cassin will receive her substantial dowry—and nothing else. All she asks is that after the wedding, each go their separate ways. But for all her careful preparation, the one thing Willow couldn’t have planned is the way she feels about Cassin… or the desire that threatens to enflame them both.
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He thought a moment and said, “So I’m meant to suffer the indignity of poverty and, if I marry you, have all my troubles magically solved because of a wedding?”
“Countless men,” she said, “change their fortunes by taking rich brides.”
“I did not leave Yorkshire to marry my way out of mean times. I intend to earn the money.”
“And yet you deny your first viable investment.” She sat up.
“Collecting your dowry is not an investment.” He followed her up.
“It is £60,000 and complete freedom.” She swung her legs to the floor.
“It is £60,000 and awife,” he said, “who, apparently, I would never see.”
“You’ve just said that you don’t want a wife.”
“Yes, and you wish to become one tomorrow.”
“No, I wish to marry tomorrow. Not be a wife.”
He made a sound of frustration. “How, exactly, does that happen? That arrangement?”
She opened her mouth to say something but hesitated. “I . . . beg your pardon?” she asked.
“I’m curious,” he said, rolling to his feet, “how a married woman goes about her life as if she is ‘not a wife.’ ”
“I’ll . . . I’ll do as I please,” she told him defensively. “I’ll answer to no one. I’ll be a bother and a burden to no one.”
“Right, right, such isolation. That’s not what I mean, and I think you know it.”
Loved, loved, loved!
Willow and Brent definitely have an unconventional meeting–he refuses to listen to the specifics of her advertisement and shows up at her home instead of writing a letter (LOL when their initial conversation is repeated later on–highlighted moment!) and it doesn’t take long to see that the two of them are amazingly well suited for each other, business arrangement or no.
Naturally it takes them a tad bit longer–and a minor crisis–to figure out the same. But oh, the journey–absolutely worth it.
The other two Brides of Belgravia‘s stories, Willow’s BFFs and Brent’s business partners’ stories–take place concurrently with this one. We get hints of them here, at least until Willow and Brent are distracted by other events, and they promise to be just as delightful as this one with their unconventional heroines and the two men who married them to help finance their bat and bird dropping mining expedition. (Really. You can’t make this guano up. Well, okay, you can–but it really was a thing, as Ms. Michaels explains in her notes. And she puts her research to such good use here!)
The rest of this series cannot come out soon enough 😉
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.