‘Duty can also be pleasure, Lady Alyssa…’ When politician Benedict Tawny set out to save Lady Alyssa from a nefarious plot, he never expected to find himself trapped in a compromising situation with the alluring lady! Now duty demands he propose…and claim her as his bride! Tainted by his illegitimacy, Ben knows he can’t give Alyssa the life of luxury she deserves. But if he can convince her to succumb to the undeniable heat between them, their convenient marriage might just lead to the love of a lifetime!
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Convenient Proposal to the Lady (Hadley’s Hellions)
Benedict (Ben) Tawny is a former army intelligence officer, and is now a reform leader as a member of Parliament. Though he’s handsome, successful, and a favorite with the ladies, he still bears the stigma of being illegitimate. His father, Viscount Chilford, has acknowledged him, but that doesn’t erase all the taunts he’s had to endure all his life, or compensate for the pain and heartache his mother suffered by being ostracized. When Ben overhears a plot to ruin an innocent lady at an upcoming houseparty, he’s quick to take action.
As Lady Alyssa Lambornne is out painting in the woods, she’s surprised to be approached by a handsome young man who knows who she is. When their eyes meet for the first time, both feel a strong jolt of attraction and sexual awareness. Ben pulls himself together, introduces himself, and explains the plot he overheard, so that Alyssa can be prepared and thwart it. Alyssa is suitably grateful, as she has no desire to be ruined, or forced into an unwanted marriage. Alyssa would be happy to set up her own household, remain single, and enjoy her painting, if her father, the earl, would just release her inheritance.
When the would-be-villain’s attempts to charm Alyssa into ruin fail, he resorts to kidnapping. Ben, who was watching out for Alyssa, comes to the rescue, and in the process, he makes an enemy, and becomes the one caught in a compromising situation with Alyssa. Though Alyssa fights tooth and nail against being forced into marriage, eventually circumstances make it impossible to avoid. Ben agrees to let Alyssa keep her own fortune, and pursue her passion for painting. He also agrees to postpone the physical side of marriage until she’s ready, and in turn, she gives him her blessing to have affairs.
Right now, Ben is not interested in any affair – he wants his wife. But he’s an honorable man, and determined to keep his word. Alyssa wants Ben too, but doesn’t want to get her heart broken. In the early days of their marriage, Ben accompanies her on her painting trips, and the couple becomes very close. They have a beautiful slow-developing friendship that soon gives way to passion. When it appears that their marriage is now on solid ground, it’s time for Ben to stay in town to attend Parliament while Alyssa has an obligation to travel and paint some wildlife before it’s gone for the winter. Though they hate to be apart, they are determined to continue on as they agreed.
While Alyssa is away, Ben’s enemy takes his revenge. At this first test in their fledgling marriage, both Ben and Alyssa rise to the occasion and show what they’re made of. I love these characters! They act with unselfishness, honor, and caring. When all evidence points to guilt, Alyssa chooses to believe what she knows of Ben’s character. While I haven’t read all of Julia Justiss’ books, I’ve read most of them, and I have to say this is her best. CONVENIENT PROPOSAL TO THE LADY is a beautifully written, romantic, and steamy love story with fantastic protagonists. There is also a lovely twist in the relationship between Ben and his father which is very emotional and satisfying. Most highly recommended!