“Do not be frightened of what love will cost you, be frightened of what you might lose if you deny your love.”
They could not be more inappropriate or unsuitable for one another– but the heart wants what it wants.
His first appearance before the Dowager Duchess is delayed by a shirtless dowse under an outdoor spigot the laundry women cannot stop swooning over. And as much as she disapproves of him, Philippa Kirkpatrick wishes she’d gotten a glimpse of William Montclair’s bare chest as well.
The new steward is not the stodgy stick in the mud everyone expected. He is a brash, strikingly handsome American who whispers sweet nothings with the aplomb of a French courtier. He is brimming with both ideas and competency, despite his lack of experience managing an estate.
Philippa has managed her adopted grandmother’s affairs with a deft hand since she turned eighteen. She has tracked the correspondence and the accounts and resents the intrusion of someone who appears to be a cavalier interloper.
William and Philippa are thrown together so that he has a guide to the tenants, the estate’s concerns and the reparations to be made. The more time they spend with one another, the greater their feelings become.
But William has secrets he cannot share, and Pippa needs the safety and security of marriage to a landed gentleman. Any future seems doomed before it begins.
I loved this story of the loss and obstinacy that has shaped the lives of this couple. They cling to the expectations of others until they realize nothing matters if you do not have love.
I absolutely devoured this unconventional historical romance.
Maddy is the queen of committees and the linchpin of her community’s social calendar. She is also trying to keep the business her parents left her afloat. She’s juggling so many things – and her carefully constructed world can’t handle finding room for the temptation that is the implacable Duke of Ashmore. Her determination to keep her distance proves futile, as circumstances throw them together. She discovers the wry humor that lurks beneath his steely demeanor, the love of kittens that he disguises with his ducal propriety, warm encouragement and incomparable hugs, and an incredible ability to listen to her thoughts and fears and offer sound, caring advice.
Will is a man who knows what his responsibilities are. His father’s peccadilloes and penchant for destruction wrecked the family’s reputation and coffers. He has to keep an iron rein on his emotions, and remain constantly attuned to any rumors that will skew his sisters’ chances for successful marriages. He has been called cold, haughty, arrogant and untouchable. But the capable, insightful botanist he exchanged banter with in a conservatory utterly decimates his defenses.
Rowing lessons, walks in the rain, and baring their deepest fears to each other lead to a feetfirst plunge into the shark-infested waters of an affair that has a time limit. They know that what is between them cannot last — they have separate lives in completely different parts of the country, and a long-term connection isn’t something they can consider.
But love always finds a way to bloom and prosper, and this happily-ever-after stole my heart.