on May 2nd 2017
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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?
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT of MARRY IN HASTE
My hero, Maj. Cal Rutherford has been a soldier all his adult life. The war with Napoleon might be over, but Cal’s work is not yet done. Hunting a notorious assassin, he follows the trail to England where he learns to his surprise that he’s become Lord Ashendon, with responsibility for huge estates — not to mention at least one dotty aunt and the half-sisters he hasn’t seen in nine years.
Everyone is very welcoming, and Cal is invited everywhere. It’s not immediately clear to our brave soldier hero that his role has changed. In London society, who is the hunter and who’s really being hunted?
That evening Cal found himself seated closely between Frampton’s two very friendly sisters. They gave him their undivided, enthusiastic, slightly competitive—and slightly unnerving—attention. Frampton and his mother smiled benevolently.
It had been years since Cal had sat down to a simple family meal—though there was nothing simple about this one. The table groaned with extravagant dishes. The sisters Frampton paid the food little attention. They lavished Cal with questions and compliments. Endlessly. His every utterance was treated as a gem of infinite wisdom, or an example of exquisite wit, provoking gales of feminine laughter.
It was very odd. Did all returned officers get this kind of welcome? While the common soldiers starved in the streets?
It was only when the servants placed a veritable feast of mouthwatering cream-filled puddings and jellies on the table, and the young Misses Frampton didn’t so much as lift their avid gazes from Cal, that he finally twigged.
He thought about the other invitations he’d received. Each one of the exceptionally friendly and hospitable fellows he’d met just happened to have unmarried sisters. The hair on his scalp lifted softly.
It wasn’t Major Cal Rutherford they’d invited to dine, it was the new Lord Ashendon—the rich, unmarried, damnably eligible Lord Ashendon.
Cal was well used to the attentions of women, but every one of his flirts and lovers had been women of the world, sophisticated and experienced—and uninterested in anything permanent. They wanted his body, not his name and fortune, and that suited him well.
Innocent-but-eager young ladies on the hunt for a rich and titled husband were a totally new experience. He didn’t have time for this sort of nonsense. He was here to do a job.
The elder Miss Frampton ran her hand along his thigh. Cal jumped and almost spilled his claret.
The younger Miss Frampton snuggled closer and stroked his arm.
At the end of the dinner when the ladies retired, leaving the gentlemen to their port, Frampton said, “Lovely girls, my sisters. Best sisters in the world. Wouldn’t want them to marry just anyone, y’know.”
Cal nodded and gulped his port. As Frampton continued to wax lyrical about his sisters and their many virtues and fine qualities, Cal made a decision. It was time to investigate the men on the rural part of his list.
The minute the dinner was over, he returned to his club, called for a stiff brandy, and penned a series of apologetic notes, canceling all future engagements, claiming he’d been called away on urgent family business.
* * *
It’s just the start of Cal’s adventures. Soldiers, assassins and spies he takes in his stride, but women are a different matter, and our big tough soldier hero has a lot to learn. For a start, they don’t take orders very well. Who knew?
I’ll warn you now, it’s a slow build — because it takes Cal quite a while to realize what he really needs, and even then he doesn’t quite realize it. Watch the poor darling flounder as he tries to bring his sisters, his aunts, and every other female under his control. Even a schoolgirl almost gets the better of him. And he’s adorable. Or at least I think so. I hope you do too. *Anne Gracie*
Annie will give a copy of MARRY IN HASTE to someone (US ONLY) who leaves an answer to the following question:
If you were serving a special meal to a very desirable and eligible—
not to mention big and tough and handsome—hero, what would you feed him?
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Marry in Haste is the first book in the Marriage of Convenience series by Anne Gracie.
Miss Emmaline Westwood is a teacher at a school for girls. The same school for girls that she was taught at. By rights Emmaline should be out in society, but circumstances found her disowned by her father, and she sought the school as refuge. Becoming a teacher was the perfect way to survive on her own, she’d have board and lodgings, and a job she enjoyed. Her pupils loved her, and the school was renown for the number of it’s students that went on to be married to the nobility.
Major Calbourne Rutherford has returned to England from abroad where he has been searching for an assassin. One that killed his best friend. Cal is certain that the man has returned to England, hence him following him back. You can imagine his surprise when he discovers upon reporting to his boss in the Government, that his elder brother, Lord Ashendon has passed away, and it’s Cal’s place to take on the position of Lord. He wasn’t close to his brother, so his first thought wasn’t of grief, it was of horror, realising that he has to settle not only the estate and his tenants, but also his sisters. All jobs he is to discover that his brother let fall by the wayside. All responsibilities that he has to settle before he can go back to searching for the assassin.
On discovering that his sisters were left with their Aunt Dottie, a lovely old dear, but one that had no control over the girls at all, Cal realised he needed to find them a governess. A chance meeting with Emmaline, who also happened to be the girls teacher when they attended school proves immediately that she will be the perfect person to look after the girls, launch them into society and get them married off as quickly as possible. The only problem is, that after offering Emmaline 3 times her wages at the school to become the girls’ governess, she turns him down.
The only way he can get her to agree he realises is to offer marriage to her. She’ll have security for life which is what she has always wanted, she loves the girls, and secretly is attracted to Cal too. She’ll be amongst society which has been kept from her in the past, so all in all, she knows it’s the best thing for her and the girls for her to agree. So she does.
From there we find out more about the girls, about a surprise family member, and we watch the relationship develop between Cal and Emm. Of course they have a healthy lust for each other and have no trouble in the marital bed. But can they be more than just strangers with a good sex life? And what of Cal, will he go straight back to Europe once he catches his assassin? Or maybe the assassin will find him first!! Are Cal and his family in danger?
This book was slow to begin with, but it was necessary in order to get a good understanding of each of the characters, their pasts, and their present circumstances. The story really takes off though once Cal and Emm marry, and from there if you are anything like me you will need to not put the book down to find out how it ends. There is drama, tears of laughter and sadness, and much love and passion in the story. You might not like Cal much at the start of the book, but by the end, trust me, you will love him! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his sisters, and the surprise family member, and seeing how they dealt with the circumstances they found themselves in with Cal as the head of the family. This was a truly fabulous story and I look forward to reading other books in the series as they are released.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.