Building a life away from her bullying family, schoolmistress Helen Tilney now needs to convince her childhood sweetheart she’s a worthy bride. Standing in her way is Lord Hunter—the man Nell has just discovered she’s betrothed to!
Hunter’s offer of marriage to Nell came out of guilt, and now seems less than appealing! So when she asks for his help to win another man, he agrees. Until their lessons in flirtation inspire a raging desire that has Hunter longing to keep Nell for himself…
Book 1 in the Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies trilogy
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress (Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies)
Helen “Nell” Tinley was only seventeen the first time she met Gabriel, Lord Hunter. He was in the process of purchasing a horse from Nell’s father, and was vastly impressed with the confidence and expertise with which Nell handled the horse. Later, at dinner, the confident young girl is replaced by one who is cowed and browbeaten by her father and her cruel aunt. Upon learning that Nell will inherit a property that is of value to him when she turns twenty-one, Hunter arranges a tentative betrothal to Nell with her father. The betrothal is contingent on Nell being agreeable, and will occur after she comes into her inheritance. Unfortunately, Nell’s father doesn’t feel any need to inform her of this arrangement. Imagine her surprise four years later, when she is finally free of her family, and is making plans to begin her unfettered life, and she sees her own engagement notice published in the paper.
A furious Nell charges to Hunter’s residence, and demands that the notice be retracted. Hunter is amazed that Nell’s father never informed her of the tentative agreement, and it is her father who had the notice published. Hunter is an honorable man, and is willing to call of the engagement if Nell isn’t willing. He suggests they go to meet with her father to fully discuss the arrangement, and how to end it without scandal. They agree to travel to a horse fair where her father is likely to be. Nell has an ulterior motive – she suspects that Charles Welbeck will be there too. He’s someone Nell has desired since she was a young teenager. Now that she’s an heiress, perhaps Charles will finally want her, as well.
Nell and Hunter realize they have to play at being engaged since the notice was made public, and Hunter suggests that they act flirtatious. Nell agrees, hoping to pick up some pointers on how to entice Charles. Once Nell realized that Hunter was not trying to coerce her into remaining engaged, she lost her belligerence around him, and they began to enjoy each other’s company. The problem is, their flirtation has led to some exchanged kisses and embraces, and Nell has begun to enjoy them, as well. Charles does express interest in Nell, and soon she is torn about what she should do.
Neither Nell nor Hunter is without baggage. The cruelty and lack of love and support from Nell’s family affected her greatly – so much so, that her only solace was being away at school. I love the strong woman she is evolving into. She’s also fair and kind – she’s willing to sell a parcel of her land to Hunter, as he would have benefited greatly from joining her property to his. Hunter still suffers nightmares and guilt from a tragic experience involving his now deceased younger brother, but that’s something he keeps well hidden as he does what’s expected of him. Despite his own pain, he’s a kind and honorable man.
Although their romance develops over a short amount of time, it feels real and genuine. Nell comes to term with her long time crush on Charles, and how it compares to what she now feels for Hunter. As for Hunter, he is experiencing the feeling of needing someone else for the first time, as opposed to being the one who’s needed. LORD HUNTER’S CINDERELLA HEIRESS is a warm and lovely romance with a bit of steam about two damaged souls who unexpectedly find love in a ready made engagement. I enjoy Lara Temple’s writing style very much, and am looking forward to upcoming books in the WILD LORDS AND INNOCENT LADIES trilogy.