Heroine: Lady Olivia Carlow is a widow without the protection of widowhood. Her husband was a bigamist, which was revealed upon his death. If finding out her marriage was a sham, having the ton know too is a worse blow. Now she is a social pariah and the men who wooed her in her first season are circling to proposition her this season. When Roland sends her a letter with a scandalous proposal she blackmails him in front of his mother with it to secure a pretend engagement. She will give him back the letter after he squires her around town, fending off the barracudas. Her ultimate goal is complete social ruin, so she can retire to the countryside and avoid the ton for good. Her plan can’t possibly backfire, can it?
Hero: Roland Devere was drunk at the time he sent that letter. Who knew she’d blackmail him with it? However, the pretend engagement will suit his needs very well. Roland entered a bet with his fellow second sons about who would be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed. It’s a bet he plans to win. As he gets to know her though, Roland realizes he wants the engagement to be real.
Review: The side plot, rescuing some girl from her brother’s schemes to give/sell her in marriage to an abusive brute with deep pockets is totally irrelevant to the story. Cut this out and the story would be more concise and less choppy. Additionally, it was weird to have the secondary romance be the heroine’s father with the hero’s sister. Mmm...kay. It also takes up as much page time as the main romance, and in some places outshines the hero and heroine. I did like the boat race and the semi-public tryst that took place there between Roland and Olivia. It was pretty titillating! The rest of good sex scenes were with the sister and dad.