Major Calbourne Rutherford returns to England on the trail of an assassin, only to find he’s become Lord Ashendon, with the responsibility for vast estates and dependent relatives. Cal can command the toughest of men, but his wild half-sisters are quite another matter. They might just be his undoing.
When he discovers that Miss Emmaline Westwood, the girls’ former teacher, guides them with ease, Cal offers her a marriage of convenience. But strong-minded and independent Emm is neither as compliant nor as proper as he expected, and Cal finds himself most inconveniently seduced by his convenient wife.
Emm knows they didn’t marry for love, yet beneath her husband’s austere facade, she catches glimpses of a man who takes her breath away. As pride, duty and passion clash, will these two stubborn hearts find more than they ever dreamed of?
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Major Calbourne (Cal) Rutherford has been a soldier for ten years. As the second son of an earl, he had no expectations of any other life, so he’s shocked to learn that his older brother has died, and he’s now the Earl of Ashendon. Though his superiors expect him to resign his commission, Cal insists on completing his current mission, which is hunting down an assassin known as “Scorpion.” His victims include Bentley, a dear friend of Cal’s, so this mission is personal. The area Cal is searching includes the home where his younger sisters, Rose and Lily, are staying under the care of his aunt, so he’ll visit them briefly. To Cal’s surprise, his sisters are grown up. In their eagerness to leave mourning and begin their adult lives, they have been running rings around their aunt, sneaking out at night, and doing whatever they wish. Cal decides he needs to hire a governess, one with the ability to control the unruly young ladies, so he visits the finishing school they attended.
Emmaline (Emm) Westwood is now a teacher at the school she once attended. Her comfortable life as the daughter of a baronet ended when her father chose to listen to rumors about her and disowned her. As Cal visits the school, a forward young lady attempts to flirt with him, and Emm handles the situation admirably. Cal is impressed and knows that Emm is the perfect person to handle his out-of-control sisters. Though Cal’s monetary offer is generous, Emm refuses him, even as he increases the offer. Emm knows that this job would be short term, while she has the possibility of becoming headmistress of the school. Eventually, Cal’s desperation leads him to propose a convenient marriage, which Emm accepts.
Cal’s life has been hard and the concept of love is foreign to him, as he never received any from his father or brother, and his mother is long dead. He has experience with affairs, but his heart has never been touched. He knows that he’d eventually have to marry for an heir, and he does find Emm attractive, so this marriage may work out just fine. As for Emm, she does believe in love, even though she learned a brutal lesson when she was younger. She originally hoped that Cal’s proposal was prompted by more than convenience, but perhaps their love will grow in the future.
I love both Cal and Emm, and was delighted to see their marriage start off in a deliciously steamy manner. Their physical chemistry is perfect, and that soon leads to their becoming closer in other ways. Cal is understanding and accepting of Emm’s past, and her whole new family comes to her defense when rumors start to surface again. The transition from convenience to companionship to love is beautifully done and a joy to read. The gruff soldier really does have a great amount of love to share, both with his wife and his family. So many of his actions show his true generous and heroic character, and Emm is a perfect match for him. I highly recommend MARRY IN HASTE, a well written, tender, and romantic story.