Book three of the Pleasures Trilogy staring plump little Gabrielle from India and Erskine (Quill) Dewland soon to be Viscount Dewland. Right off the bat, this was my kind of book and I loved reading every word. I’ll tell you why:
First, the alpha male is one of those wounded and brooding alphas. Quill was hurt from a horse riding accident that left him scarred. He walks with a slight limp most of the time but when tired it is more pronounced. He can’t dance. Repetitive motions cause him intense migraines and this includes riding horses but more importantly intercourse. As alpha males go, Quill is decidedly masculine. He likes women – he just doesn’t know if they’re worth the three day recuperation.
Second, this story also involves one male character basically stealing the bride out from another man’s nose. This doesn’t always go well for me, but in this case it was just icing. Upon learning that his son was practically incapable of siring progeny, the elder Viscount Dewland orders his second son Peter to take the heiress sight unseen as his bride. Peter doesn’t want to marry, positively shrinks back from the idea, but eventually agrees under pressure. To his dismay, Gabrielle is the antitheses of beauty, grace, and lacks the instinct to navigate smoothly with society’s haut ton.
Third, Gabrielle is a completely charming heroine. She is as gabby as her nickname implies and loves to talk. Gabby is protective, open, loving, kind, and sharp. She is smart enough to keep her half-brother safe from harm. She also knows that Peter finds her a great disappointment. Despite knowing from experience with her father in India, is determined to do her best to please Peter so that he will fall in love with her. This makes her equally stubborn.
She makes friends early with the Duchess of Gisle who has just returned from her honeymoon on the continent. They meet at the dressmakers. Peter has brought her there to clothe her properly so she won’t shame him in public and prays the Madam will be able to transform his ugly duckling of a future wife.
Quill of course, thinks his younger brother is nuts. In fact most of the men in the ton that have seen luscious Gabby agree with Quill. They congratulate (quite crudely) Peter on his good fortune to snare such a well endowed beauty who will surely be a hellcat in bed. They think it’s doubly clever of Peter that she is an heiress.
When Gabby laughs her way into one social scandal, Peter is determined to throw her over but doesn’t know how. Quill gladly informs his brother that he will marry Gabby and happily. Of course, he’s worried about what she’ll think of him later, but Quill can hardly bring himself to care about his own problems. He burns for her and is happy around her. This is enough for him. His only true concern is will it be enough for Gabby?