The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once―an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…
Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Bride Who Got Lucky (The Cavensham Heiresses)
Nicholas St. Mauer, Earl of Somerton, was sent away to school at the tender age of five by his cold and distant father, the duke. Nick’s mother died at his birth, so his life was sadly lacking in affection and very lonely. When Nick was fifteen, a fellow student gambled with the wrong people and got in some serious trouble. Nick signed for the gambling debt, and wrote his father asking for his help. The duke, enraged, came to the school and proceeded to berate and disown Nick in front of many of his classmates. From that point on, Nick vowed three things – first, he would never set foot on his father’s property until the duke died; two, he would use his intellect and build a fortune greater than his father’s; and, three, he would never be vulnerable to feelings and emotions that could cause him that kind of pain ever again.
Lady Emma Cavensham, daughter of the Duke of Langham, is on a quest. Her dearest friend, Lena, along with her newborn daughter have died, and Emma is sure it was at the hands of Lena’s husband, Aulton. During Lena’s marriage, she showed physical signs of being abused, yet she denied it. Shortly before Lena died, she wrote a letter to Emma, sharing her fear for her life and that of her child, stating that if she died, it would be by Aulton’s hand. No crime was ever charged to Aulton, and now he is on the lookout for another wife. Emma is wracked by feelings of guilt for never taking any action when she first saw Lena being abused, and she is determined to bring Aulton to justice. She devises a plan to travel to visit Lena’s former maid, hoping to bring her back to town and convincing her to testify against Aulton. If Emma’s parents or brothers discover what she’s doing, she will be in serious trouble. As she is at a less than reputable inn, with only one elderly servant, and about to be kidnapped by two thugs, she is rescued by Nick.
Nick and Emma have a long standing connection because his best friend is married to Emma’s cousin. Over the years, they have shared a friendship, a subtle attraction, and one stolen kiss. Nothing further ever came of the attraction, because Emma is determined not to marry, while Nick avoids all but the most superficial of affairs, and doesn’t take part in society events. Still, he feels a protectiveness and an obligation to keep her safe. Their close proximity does bring their passion almost to the boiling point, but Nick, leery of being forced into marriage, retreats. When Emma’s brothers learn of her scheme, they rush to rescue her, only to find her alone in a room with Nick. He can hear the wedding bells tolling.
Their hasty marriage begins on a high note, as they are each determined to make the best of it. Truth be told, they are eager to explore their sizzling chemistry, and that part of their marriage is all either hoped it could be. But soon, events test their new relationship, and their very basic differences may cause a falling apart that can’t be reconciled. Emma is so passionate about her beliefs, how she feels she needs to help other women, and how she can possibly atone for her inaction regarding Lena. I admire her strength, intelligence, and determination, while at the same time wanting to caution her to be realistic and take things slowly. She has a generous heart, a great spirit, and a giving nature that sometimes overruled common sense. Poor Nick is such a mess from his troubled childhood – he never received love, and is slow to recognize it when it appears in his life. His wounds did not make him cruel or bitter, just determined. If he is unable to let go of his childhood vows, it may well cost him the happiness he’s found. I love both these characters, flaws and all.
THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY is a fabulous read, with plenty of emotion, character growth, romance, and definitely steam. I adored Emma’s parents and the loving relationship they had with her and each other – a direct contrast to the relationship Nick had with his father. The resolution was satisfactory on many levels, and I felt confident that this wonderful couple would live happily ever after.