Disguised as a country miss, Charlotte Devon flees London, desperate to leave her tattered reputation behind. In Scotland, her estranged father’s noble blood will finally make her a respectable debutante. Except she finds herself accidentally wed to a devil-may-care rogue with a sinful smile. He’s the last thing she needs…and everything her traitorous heart desires.
Charming rake Anthony Fairfax is on holiday to seek his fortune…and escape his creditors. When an irresistible Lady Luck wins him in a game of chance—and a slight mishap has them leg-shackled by dawn—the tables have finally turned in his favor. But when past demons catch up to them, holding on to new love will mean destroying their dreams forever.
The single title 2017 release is an expanded “Author Edition” of the story that first appeared in the Scandal’s Daughters anthology.
The fledgling hope building in Charlotte’s breast was more than ill-advised. The last thing she needed was Mr. Fairfax becoming involved. Not when she had no idea what their future held.
But what if they were able to resolve their legal predicament and then discovered they suited quite well? Wouldn’t it be lovely have a kind, handsome husband?
She pushed the tantalizing idea away. For now, they must stick to being friends.
“Help me to my feet, Mr. Fairfax,” she said instead.
“Oh, dear,” he gasped in mock horror. “Are we to be a stuffy married couple?”
She looked down her nose at him primly. “A lady would never use her husband’s given name without permission.”
“Then, by God, you must call me Anthony immediately. And I shall call you…”
She gazed back at him placidly.
“…Mary?” he guessed.
She pressed her lips together and shook her head.
“Sarah? Jane? Griselda Louise?”
She burst out laughing. “Do I look like a Griselda Louise?”
“I have an aunt named Griselda Louise and she’s even prettier than you are,” he said with an exaggerated harrumph. He held out a palm. “You are quite a judgmental bit of baggage, for someone named… Gertrude Hortense?”
“Charlotte,” she admitted as she placed her hands in his. “You may call me Charlotte.”
Perhaps his arms were too strong or her knees too weak, but when he pulled her to her feet, she found herself fully in his embrace, her parted mouth mere inches from his.
“Charlotte,” he said softly, as if trying the syllables out on his tongue. He wrinkled his nose. “A rather hideous name, but I suppose one cannot help what one is born to.”
She smacked his shoulder, but did not remove herself from his embrace. She wasn’t certain she even could. Her breasts were molded to his waistcoat, her fingers clinging to hard muscle. If she lifted her chin any higher, her lips would brush against his.
Desire surged within her. The more she tried to deny it, the stronger it became. He was so close. She didn’t want him to kiss her because she knew she’d like it. Likely press against him and beg for more, with every beat of her low-born heart. Lust was in her blood. Even though he was within her reach, she knew she should not give in to those desires.
Yet she couldn’t make herself pull away.
“We should go back inside,” she whispered. “It’s… dangerous out here.”
“Very.” He cupped a hand behind her head and crushed his mouth to hers.
Sensation flooded her. His lips were soft, warm, firm. With his mouth on hers, he seemed bigger than before. Less safe. More tempting. His warm body was tight with coiled strength. As if he were holding himself back, preventing his carnal side from pouncing. Her blood pulsed with excitement. What must it be like to be on the receiving end of his unchecked passion?
She was breathless in his arms. His kiss was sweetness and power. He well knew he could claim her. He was choosing to woo her.
Shame shimmered beneath her desire. The fact that he could claim her if he wished to was due to the carnal nature she’d spent her life trying to deny. She did not want him to suspect how much he tempted her. And yet she could think of nothing more than losing herself in this kiss.
If the Scottish wind was cool, she couldn’t feel it. Every inch of her skin danced with the electricity of his touch. Her flesh was hot, yearning for something she couldn’t quite name. Something she was certain only he could give.
He released her forcibly from his embrace, as if to hold her for a single moment more would be to surrender himself completely.
She struggled to regain her equilibrium. Her pulse still sang, her body longing for his touch. His self-control had saved them both. She was just as wanton as she’d always feared. The moment his lips had touched hers, she’d forgotten about stopping. About doing the right thing.
All she wanted was more.
I really enjoyed this, the first book in the Rogues to Riches series.
I think I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t centered on the highest echelons of the haute ton. Most characters would, I think, be considered middle or lower middle class. The heroine in this one is actually much lower class, only because the children always suffer the consequences of their parents actions. The main female lead in this book is Charlotte Devon. Her mother is a well-known courtesan.
Charlotte decides that the only way to get any sort of peace from the disparaging looks and snide comments, not to mention the men who assumed she was the same as her mother, is to find her father. She remembers her mother saying he was a laird. She had a necklace and earrings that belong to him so she is sure she can find him in Scotland.
On her search, she meets a man at a gambling table and wins the entire pot on a fluke. This man is Anthony Fairfax.
In a strange twist of fate, they end up married! The story is fresh and sweet. I enjoyed the characters immensely. Mr. Fairfax is an upbeat sort of person. Nothing gets him down for long. Miss Devon is a victim of circumstance.
Great ending with a bit of a twist! I think you will enjoy this one! I know I did!
5 stars for me
Courtesy copy provided. But I loved it so much I purchased it as well!
Erica Ridley is a USA Today and New York Times best-selling author of historical romance novels.
In the new Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind rags-to-riches romance with rollicking adventure.
The popular Dukes of War series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
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