After a string of unsuccessful seasons, Amy is beginning to give up hope on the love match she has dreamed of. She's always been too shy to attract a man at any of the London balls, but this year, she is determined to make a change. Armed with the beautiful dresses she designed, she finally finds herself apart from the other wallflowers and enjoying her first taste of acclaim.
Will is the youngest son in his family. He has played his hand to the fullest, gallivanting around the world and flitting from woman to woman. But now, his older brother is forcing him to settle down, withholding his allowance and making him take a job. Will hopes to win the money for more travels at a gaming hell, but ends up in debt instead. He either has to go back to his brother for help or find a wealthy bride to help him pay off his debt.
He thinks, at first, to find his fortune with Amy. She proves too savvy to be compromised, however. and in the end he realizes what a mistake that would have been. As luck would have it, the two actually do end up compromised, though completely by accident. So they end up married anyway.
Amy is devastated that her dreams of true love have been dashed, but she vows to make the best of her marriage. Will agrees to set aside his rakish ways to court her while slowing introducing her to the pleasures of a physical relationship. And it starts to work. Unfortunately, they are both keeping secrets from one another... secrets that are like timebombs waiting to go off and blow their new relationship to bits.
The thing is, neither of their secrets would have really been a big deal if they actually communicated with one another. These two are just so gun-shy and unable to really trust each other that it almost like they were each waiting for something to screw it up. It was frustrating because the only true threat to their happiness was their own trepidation.
I did like watching these two fall in love, despite their personal foibles. Will actually mends his rakish ways rather quickly and is a very good husband throughout. I enjoyed his wooing of Amy and I found myself as charmed by him as she was. There were sexy times and some comic relief too, which made the story even better.
The book is peppered with familiar characters from the previous two books in the series, but this works well as a standalone. I liked it. But I must acknowledge that the ending felt a bit abrupt and I would have liked a few more pages to take me into their HEA. 3 1/2 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley