After a lifetime of rakish behavior, Lord Maxfeld must pretend he’s reformed and find a fake wife. And, with the perfect blend of family scandal and tenuous acceptance in Society, there is nobody more suitable than Lady Phoebe. Trouble is, Phoebe will not agree to a false engagement, forcing Max to blackmail her into his scheme.
Phoebe will go to great lengths to avoid anything remotely dishonorable. Unwilling to bear the scandal of a broken engagement, she blackmails Max right back—directly to the altar.
Once married, though, Phoebe wants much more than Max’s ring. She wants his heart. But he will never give it. For better or worse may just be words but Phoebe cannot stay with Max if he thinks love is the worst thing that can happen.
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**I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.**
This is my first time reading this author. I also mostly review contemporary books but I also enjoy the occassional well written historical. This was a new author but had an intriguing plot and I love forced marriage stories so I was excited to check this story out.
I tend to like Sabrina Jeffries and Julia Quinn. More authors with stronge female leads but who also write fun and funny historicals. While this was an enjoyable read, and I expected it to be fun from the summary, it really was much more serious than fun. It was well written, just not what I was expecting, though I totally enjoyed the story.
The lead character in this story is Max. His sister has died and left her young son. BUt Max' mother is taking care of her grandson and won't let Max raise him unless he marries. Max on the other hand, is terrifed to marry and procreate because his father went mad and even comitted suicide and he sees this as his future.
Enter, Phoebe, the heroine who is Max's friends new sister in law and someone Max has known for awhile. He proposes to her and threatens her with a secret he knows about her sister (not the one married to Max's friend". She agrees to an engagement and not a marriage and then falls hard for Max. She does not know the reasons for his refusal to marry, so she threatens to expose that he just wanted an engagement and no marriage and thats when he agrees to wed her to get custody of his nephew.
This story had a lot of holes. For instance his sister married and had a son and she never feared she would go crazy and should not procreate. He also has avery wild reputation supposedly but as you read you see it was very false. (I am trying not to spoil some of the big surprises in this story).
However I did enjoy the story. There are really no bad guys in this story. Its about two good people and they fall for each other. The biggest obstacle is for Max to grow up a little and realise you have to live your life and not worry about what 'could" happen in the future.
As I said it is not light and fun. There are some very serious things that happen in this story and they actually are very deep for the characters to deal with. I did enjoy it and would recommend it, but it is not light reading or even a very HOT story. There are not many sex scenes in this story.
She rocked against him—just once. Almost experimentally. Except with a certain awareness of exactly what it was her bottom was up against. “I stretched, and how wonderful it felt.”
“You’re teasing me, wench.”
“I’m not a wench, I’m your wife. Do you want me to go on, or not?”
His lips in a grim line, he gave a single nod.
“Very well.” She cleared her throat. “I wanted to explore myself, and I wanted to explore you. But you weren’t there.”
“So you had only one option.”
She pulled back and gave him a look that could have put the strictest governess to shame. Oh, what it did to him. “I’m telling this story, husband.”
“Then tell it. Please, tell it.”
Q&A with Ingrid HahnQ: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
Definitely my head. Thankfully, I’m not a screw top, so I can always remember it. Everything else is fair game.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
I can’t decide between two choices. Either Cleopatra right after she met Mark Antony, but I won’t tell you why. Or some chick inside a perfume commercial. You get to be gorgeous, perfectly made up, and there is usually a not-too-hard-on-the-eyes guy around. (That goes for perfume lady—Cleopatra wasn’t the gorgeous siren she’s depicted as being in popular myth.) The perfume lady has the bonus of either getting to wear a big fancy dress or lazing around a private beach.
Q: What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
The naughty ones.
Q: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I put a tiny, tiny bit of myself into each heroine in a superfluous way. My first heroine, Grace, loved chocolate and has less-than-perfect hair (far less, I’m afraid). My second, Phoebe, is a big reader and loves tea. My third, Eliza—her book is coming in June—hates cherries. However, unlike Eliza, I came by my dislike honestly. I just plain don’t like them. I won’t spoil it for you, but Eliza came by her dislike by way of an abhorrent association.
Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Let go of your ego, never stop learning, work hard to nail good conflict, learn to encapsulate your entire story in one pithy statement that makes strangers’ eyes bulge and beg you to write the book immediately (I’m still working on this one!). Don’t self-publish too early. Give yourself permission to turn into a seething green jealousy monster even for writer friends you love dearly when they achieve something you covet, but cap your time in The Great and Terrible Land of Envy to about ten or twenty minutes, then go back to being happy for them and focusing your energy on your own work.
About the AuthorIngrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen. She loves to connect with her readers
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