Publication Date: September 16, 2014
When a bridal contract is struck, either parental outrage will void the arrangement or the love of a child will sweeten the deal.
Oliver Darrington—Viscount Tralsburg—wants nothing more than to hide out at the family property in Brighton until he can secure a sea-worthy ship and return to adventuring the world. However, being handed his former mistress’ child isn’t part of that plan. Neither is the sudden longing for his pretty Italian neighbor. Eloisa Hawthorne is in dire straits. Her older brother has gambled away her sister’s hand to a horrible man. In order to save her sister’s virtue and her future, Eloisa needs a fast fortune—or someone who can immediately cover the debt. When her handsome neighbor offers a temporary engagement contract, she accepts with alacrity. Too bad she fell in love with his dark-haired offspring. How scandalous! When the two attend his mother’s London dinner party, Oliver wishes the union wasn’t merely a lark. Eloisa fears for the adorable child’s upbringing in heathen locales, but what can she do? The contract is only for a month, and love was never an option. Something must be done to throw over convention before the moment is lost and matters of the heart are sacrificed.
Being a peer, Oliver has a mother driven to see her children married and starting families. His siblings have married rather scandalously and now she has set her eyes at him. He's never been one for convention. He's chosen a life where the sea is his mistress and he's the captain of his ship. When he comes to Brighton while his ship is in repairs he finds his whole life shocked in more ways then one. A bundle of beauty is delivered to his door, and though she may or may not be his, he's taken with her. When his neighbor comes to be of assistance all thoughts of his normal life are gone. Eloisa is everything he has never desired in a package he usually finds unattractive. There is something there though and he finds that he wants to know what it is. It's a first for him, but may drive him mad.
Eloisa has always been the dependable one among her siblings. She takes care of those around her making sure that everyone's lives remain calm and collected so that in turn hers may be that way as well. When her brother sells her sister's hand in marriage, Eloisa is determined to find a way out of her sister's predicament. Though she has tried endlessly she can not come up with a way to negate the deal. When Oliver comes to her with a proposition, it's one that she can't refuse. It will alleviate her problems and his. As Oliver and she become close, Eloisa finds that she has a new set of problems. Can she keep her promise to Peter? Should she have to?
This book is abundant in scandals of this time period. Though Oliver's family seems to be anything, but innocent of scandals they have kept them hushed to an extent. Eloisa's family isn't titled and thus isn't anything to be considered to the peerage. Her brother's squandering of their money isn't a secret among the gentry or their neighbors. Oliver and Eloisa make quite the couple between the circumstances that brought them together and all they go through in the book. I love the fact that in this book it's the male that is taken and the female that is fighting it. It's definitely a different twist to historical romances.
Their character are beyond lovable. They are both strong and independent and their flaws are the type that make them all the more appealing. I adore little Daniela. She bring so much to the book in the way her touching moments come at just a time that it picks the book up emotionally. She has a child's innocence and can see what others plainly can not. Her bond with Eloisa and Oliver is so natural that it makes her as much of a main character as the both of them. I truly hope to see a book for her later.
This is the first book that I have read in this series and I can safely say that it's wonderful enough that I'll be purchasing the other books and keep up with what's going on with the Darrington's. This book has just enough light moments to keep you happy, drama to make it interesting, and a sinister pig to keep you hooked. Of course, if that's not enough the interaction and chemistry between Oliver and Eloisa is a huge reason all in it's own. This book is beyond enjoyable and definitely addicting. I highly recommend it to anyone.
About the Author
Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. In the past couple of years she’s concentrated on funny contemporary romance as well as Regency-era romance, but she will, on occasion, write paranormal or sci-fi. Whether you like sweet or erotic heat levels, there’s something for everyone to fall in love with. She’s also a hybrid author, choosing to publish both with small presses and doing the indie thing. Offered representation in February 2014 by Scott Eagan at Greyhaus Literary Agency for Victorian-era historical romances, Sandra’s been hard at work researching, planning and writing a new series. When not immersed in creating new worlds and engaging characters, Sandra likes to read, bake, taste new teas, watch The Big Bang Theory and Psych as well as Finding Bigfoot, and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World: it’s where dreams come true and the soul can play. When she’s not writing or inventing new recipes, she spends time with her husband—goofing off and making moments count. Life’s too short to be serious all the time. Sandra loves to hear from her readers. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit her website at www.sandrasookoo.com, or look her up on Facebook and Twitter.