on May 2nd 2017
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From the New York Times bestselling author of I Thee Wed comes a Wicked Worthingtons novel of a love that will not be denied....
As a ship’s captain, highborn bastard Morgan Pryce has spent his life sailing away from England. The last thing he needs is a wife. But when he fears that his titled half brother, Neville, is about to be snared by a gold digger, Morgan aims to protect Neville by tricking the lovely crook into marrying him first. He knows he can't allow himself to believe a word she says. If only she weren’t so convincing....
Determined beauty Bliss Worthington is not terribly fond of finding another man waiting for her at the altar—after all, no one tricks a Worthington and gets away with it. Somehow she must persuade her dangerously handsome new husband to grant her an annulment, because her heart is set on his brother.
Soon the newlyweds must deal with a secret but mutual attraction. Morgan finds himself oddly devastated by her tenderness and braveness. When Neville shows up to rescue her from a loveless marriage, she will have to quickly decide which man is the right one for her....
Wed against her will, Bliss is determined to prove to Morgan that he simply isn’t the marrying kind…
Then Morgan saw it. A heavy copper tub sat in the corner of the kitchen, near two pails of steaming water. A fine bathing tub, the likes of which might rest in the chambers of Camberton House itself.
“Bloody hell. How much did that thing cost?” She would beggar him within the week!
Having gone back to her pot, Bliss twisted her head around to contemplate the tub with a satisfied smile as she continued to stir. “Oh, I drove a hard bargain there. I got the largest one, in case you wished to use it occasionally.”
Morgan stared at her.
“I shan’t mind at all,” she added in patently generous tones.
Morgan fought the helpless laughter that bubbled up from the depths of his exasperation. Well, as long as she had invited him to share his own blasted tub . . .
“I’ll just carry it upstairs, shall I?” He hefted the damned thing over his head and began to maneuver it right out of the kitchen.
“Oh . . . but I was going to . . .”
He turned his head to flash a fierce grin over his shoulder. “I’ll be wanting that water brought up as well. For I’m in the mood for a nice, hot soak!”
He began his journey down the hallway and up the narrow staircase, immediately regretting his decision to establish his dominance with a display of brute strength. The bloody hunk of ore weighed nearly as much as a small ship anchor.
He listened as Bliss began to follow him up the narrow stair. If Morgan could have turned on the stairway, he was certain he’d find her cute little nose crinkled up in agitation. But remaining upright was trick enough. “Are you already complaining, wife?”
“Of course I am not complaining, husband.”
“Good.” Morgan tried to hide the fact that he was breathing hard. “Because if you insist . . .” Another step. “That I be a proper gentleman, which you clearly do . . .” Another step. “Then you must be a proper gentleman’s wife.”
“Hmm. I have noticed you enjoy using that word.”
“And being a wife means you . . . must agree to a variety of wifely duties . . .” He was panting now.
“How about the wifely duty of hiring a few servants?”
“What need have I—for—servants?” Dear God, this thing is heavy!
“No, I can see you have matters well in hand, all by yourself. Except that you don’t clean, you can’t cook, your house is in the middle of an appalling pigeon crisis—”
Morgan’s vision began to swim slightly. The outrageous cost of delivery had begun to make more sense. I am going to drop this thing. I will die beneath it, but at least this brutal climb will be over.
To be truthful, the only reason he did not give up and leave the bloody tub halfway up the stairs was that he would have to tolerate the mocking twitch of one of those perfect eyebrows. For someone who maintained a placid exterior, she seemed to leak a great many opinions.
“And you are stubborn enough to kill yourself with that tub.”
When at last Morgan lowered the tub to rest before the fire, he drew himself upright in a hurry and gave a disdainful grunt to cover his breathlessness. He had no excuse for this charade except that he was a man and she was a pretty woman and that was how things were done. Men pretended to be towers of boundless strength and women pretended to be impressed.
Who was he to break with tradition? He turned.
Bliss stood in front of the fire, a steaming pail of water to each side. Her adorable bare feet were planted on the gleaming hardwood, and her hands were folded before her. It appeared that she, too, was slightly out of breath.
Morgan widened his stance and settled his fists upon his hips, hoping he appeared authoritative even while he gulped the air. “As I was saying, this is my house and you are my wife, and I have decided that your role as such shall encompass a myriad of duties.”
“Yes, including massaging my shoulders and neck, and perhaps trimming my hair and shaving my face should I so desire.”
Bliss’s eyes widened. “Like . . . a barber?”
“Like a wife. After all, I’ve been a good husband to you, have I not? I paid all the bills you rang up today. I praised your cooking last evening.”
“You wolfed my cooking.”
He suppressed a smile. “Wolfing is a form of praise.”
“And then you belched, sir.”
Morgan unleashed a severe glare in her direction. It was the only way he could combat his desire to laugh. “Further praise. Now.” His legs began to give with exhaustion, so he lowered himself to the edge of the tub. “Have I not kept my word to behave with gentlemanly restraint?”
A single eyebrow arched on Bliss’s forehead. “You wish me to bathe you whilst you are without . . . accoutrements?”
“Is that a fancy word for drawers?”
Bliss lifted her chin. Morgan knew they had reached the moment of truth: Either the former Miss Worthington would give in to his ridiculous list of demands, or her veneer of virginal righteousness would crack and she would tell him to go to hell, revealing the shameless gold digger she truly was. Either way, his evening looked to be improving rather soon.
But what Morgan would not admit, not even to himself, was that the very thought of this pretty, blushing woman kneeling beside him, washing his back . . . among other things . . . had abruptly become a forceful private fantasy.
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~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Wedded Bliss is the fifth book in the Worthington series by Celeste Bradley. I haven’t read any of the other books ,but that is something I intend to remedy now that I know just how wonderful a series this is. At certain stages in this book you could tell that there were stories to be told, or that already had been told about the secondary characters in the book, but it won’t stop you understanding the story and enjoying it as a stand alone story if that’s what you would prefer.
Morgan Pryce is a ship’s captain, also he is the illegitimate son of a very wealthy man, sadly the man is deceased. His younger brother (half brother) is the legitimate offspring of that man and is the one to inherit the estate, home and lands etc of his father. The brothers have always been close, but now it seems a woman is to come between them, all thanks to Uncle Oliver who implores Morgan to prevent a gold digger from trapping Neville (Morgan’s brother) into a secret marriage. A marriage that he knows about purely from intercepting letters that were meant for Morgan from the woman.
That woman is no other than Bliss Worthington. She is an absolutely beautiful young lady, and she does have genuine feelings for Neville. It seems though that his main attraction is that he dotes on Bliss, and is staid, safe, and would never leave her side. After being brought up in circumstances that found her always waiting for her parents to visit her, but never being sure when they would come or how long for, it’s affected her need for security in her adult life. She doesn’t care about money, or his title, he’s a Duke, she just wants a safe haven with a man she cares for.
Morgan agrees to do what he must to save his brother from the gold digger, and the only way to do that is to marry her in Neville’s place. Once he is safely wed, and the marriage is consummated his Uncle will provide him with his own ship to captain. He will happily join his ship straight away and leave his ‘wife’ behind. He has no time for gold digging, deceitful women.
Bliss is horrified when she realises that she has been tricked into marrying the wrong man, you’ll see how it happens when you read the book, but it’s all cleverly done! She desperately wants an annulment and strikes a deal with Morgan that she can prove to him that she truly doesn’t want Neville for himself, and not his money. They agree that he will give her the opportunity to do that, if she can then he will allow the annulment, but secretly Morgan is just giving himself more time to seduce her so that the marriage can be consummated.
The more time they spend together the more their attraction to each other grows, but each still doesn’t like or trust the other. Every time Morgan has a soft feeling towards Bliss he has to remind himself that she is just a good actress, and every time Bliss has a soft or lustful moment with him she has to remind herself that he is all wrong for her, he’s a captain of a ship, he’ll leave her all the time to sail away. Neville is her safe harbour and she must get an annulment so that she can be with him. Mustn’t she?
I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I tried to read it all in one go. I loved the will they won’t they between Morgan and Bliss, and I loved their moments of passion followed by them trying to keep away from each other. The evil Uncle with his devious plans is a fabulous character, so mean. I just wanted to keep reading and reading until hopefully he got his comeuppance. Another two delightful characters in the book are from Barbados. A rich widow and her daughter have arranged to stay with Oliver and Neville so that the daughter Katarina, can be introduced into society and find a good match. In return fro helping them Oliver gets an exclusive shipping contract from them to ship their sugar from the sugar cane plantation that the widow has inherited from her husband. Oliver has devious plans where the widow is concerned too. Such wickedness although awful to those he is planning against, was a real pleasure to read, if only in anticipation of his getting found out!
As for the Worthington family, what an eclectic family they are, so many amazing people, with so many stories to be told. After reading about them in this book I now long to read all about them individually in their own books. I am sure that like this one, those books will be equally as captivating and exciting.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers’ Copy of this book.