“The heir to an earldom has little control over his own fate, but Mr. James Aldridge promised himself one freedom. To marry for affection instead of wealth or connections. Anger flares when he learns his father has struck a deal: in one year, he will be leg-shackled to Miss Celia Colton, the dazzling beauty who had previously caught his eye. Now certain she was simply performing her role in a scheme to catch him as her husband. Completely unaware of the pact that has matched her with James, Miss Celia Colton is at a loss to explain why the man she secretly loves has suddenly become cold and critical. Abandoned by James, who had promised to guide her through her debut Season, she fears she will have to navigate the ton with only her grasping mother and distracted cousin as companions.”
The situation between James and Celia makes for delightful twists of back and forth emotions. A time or two I thought the situation was going to be resolved only to encounter one more turn in the plot adding a new level of dramatics.
I must confess however that I believe that love is more than attraction. If a relationship is based purely on chemistry it will never last past the first obstacle. James and Celia are friends first and their relationship has been built on, yes attraction, but also like minds and similar interests, however those things are so over powered by the often sensual description of the other’s physical attributes as to be almost forgotten. I would have loved it if the author focused a little more on the brief mentions she made on their conversations and similar interests and less on outward physical reactions to each other.
Despite this, the characters are well developed and you feel invested in the outcome and the relationships being formed. Especially the side characters, whom I hope we’ll get to see in subsequent stories. –N.C.