“Excuse me, miss,” a gentleman said in her ear. She jumped, so lost in her own foolish (fowlish?) thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed him approaching her.
She turned and looked at him, blinking at his splendor. He was tall, taller than her, even, which was a rarity among gentlemen. He was handsome in a dashing rosy-visioned way that made her question just what her imagination was thinking if it had never inserted him—or someone who looked like him–into her dreams.
He had unruly dark brown hair, longer than most gentlemen wore. The ends curled up as though even his hair was irrepressible. His eyes were blue, and even in the dark gloom, she could see they practically twinkled.
As though he and she shared a secret, a lovely, wonderful, delightful secret.
Never mind that all those words were very similar to one another. Her word-specific father would reprimand her—if that gentle soul could reprimand someone, that is—if he heard how cavalierly she was tossing out adjectives that all meant nearly the same thing.
But he wasn’t here, was he, which was why she was here, and now she was about to find out why this other he was here.
Far too many pronouns. Her attention returned to the tall, charming stranger.
Who was talking to her. Waiting for her response, actually, since she had spent a minute or so contemplating his general magnificence. And words, and her father, and whatever other non-chickened thoughts had blessedly crossed her mind.
“Can I help you, sir?” Sophronia asked. He was probably lost on his way to the Handsome Hotel where they only allowed Exceedingly Handsome guests.
That he might think she’d know where the Handsome Hotel was gave her pause. Because she was not handsome, not at all.
But what he said was next was even more unexpected than being asked to provide directions to some establishment where one’s appearance was the only requirement for entry.
“Would you marry me?” he said in a normal tone of voice as though he hadn’t just upended Sophronia’s entire world.
Megan Frampton writes such a fun, quirky characters and stories–I’m going to have to read the rest of this series, and soon! This story is just long enough to whet your appetite for one–or six–of her full-length titles 😉
Jamie and Sophronia are definitely not an obvious couple on the surface, but Ms. Frampton will soon have you completely buying into their (admittedly fast, but somehow believable) romance. I highlighted way too many passages for such a short book, but I just couldn’t help myself:
But no matter why he felt the way he did, he knew one thing–the gift he wanted most for this holiday season was a kiss from her. Despite what he’d vowed before. A kiss, just one kiss, couldn’t do any harm, could it? And if it brought joy to both of them–holiday joy, the joy of the season, and he knew it would bring joy to her he had been told often enough of his kissing prowess–then it would make the season brighter.
Did I also mention Jamie’s unending modesty? 😉 Fortunately, Sophronia (such an unfortunate name, yet it somehow suits her) is equally affected, though she tries her best not to be.
There was something appealing about how dangerously rakish he looked when his hair was unruly, but there was also something appealing about him when he was well-groomed, the clean lines of his face showing the result of a close shave, his features standing out in their stark beauty.
In other words, there was something appealing about him no matter what he did to himself. She should just admit that and stop fussing about it.
And Sophronia’s quiet obsession with each and every one of his body parts, one at a time? Just too funny.
Though of course poor Sophronia doesn’t think so. 😉
I also loved Sophronia’s obsession with words (courtesy of her father, a lover of books and words himself) and the way Ms. Frampton started each chapter in a Balderdash-style fashion, with an obscure word and three possible definitions (and I can’t tell you how glad I was that she gave us the correct answers in the end–not all of them were easy to find in online dictionaries!) The fact that Jamie uses that same game with an underlying purpose later on? Could not be more perfect.
One more quote, from when Sophronia contemplates her end of the bargain, and begins to worry that it might not be enough:
That should be enough. It would be enough. And perhaps, if she was patient, and open, she would find someone who would truly wish to be betrothed to her. To marry her, and stay in one place and always be reliable, and have enough money to keep her in books and ale.
And really, isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.