Series: Twice Shy, #1
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Imogen Duncan is a plain, shy, spectacle wearing, twenty-six year old wallflower. She is participating in the season for her younger sister Mariah. While watching her (or trying to since her mother won’t let her wear her spectacles in public) beautiful sister dance, she happens to overhear some matrons talking about her sisters, but when the talk turns to her, she gets upset and needs to escape the ballroom. She runs out to the gardens and straight into the arms and lips of Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge.
Caleb has a tragedy in his past that he can’t move on from, he drinks too much, wagers too much and wenches too much, all in a futile effort to escape the guilt and pain he feels. He is surprised by Imogen and tries to comfort her. But she refuses to tell him her name and returns to the ballroom.
By chance they meet again the next day at her home, he has joined his friends in calling on her sister Mariah. He is delighted to see her again and a bit dismayed to see how she is treated. He begins to seek her out and they strike up a friendship. With Imogen, Caleb finds peace, she grounds him. When his friends comment on the attention he pays her, he backs off, he doesn’t want to ruin her, but Imogen stands up for herself and demands to know why he is ignoring her. She tells him she wants his friendship and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He apologizes and she asks for a favor, she wants adventure and hopes he can give it to her.
He agrees, but he is starting to desire Imogen and needs to be careful. When one of their adventures goes too far and they end up in bed – Caleb insists that they will marry, Imogen knows she loves him, but will not marry him. Caleb can’t understand why she is refusing to marry and sets out to woo her. He will marry her!
He invites her and her father to his country seat and she meets his family. Immediately she knows something is wrong and wants to fix it – even though she has no intention of marrying him. Caleb is terrified that one of his siblings is going to tell her his dark secret and she will never marry him, so he decides to tell her everything, but every time he tries, they are interrupted. He can feel her slipping away, but is helpless to stop it.
I personally loved this book UNTIL they went to his estate, then it just became a giant pity-party, I feel like the miscommunication dragged on way too long and Imogen’s reason was flimsy – everyone and I mean everyone, knew she loved him and was sure he cared for her, but she was adamant and this dragged out until the last few pages of the book AND then there was no epilogue! If ever a book NEEDED an epilogue – it was this one. I thought the writing was good and I won’t rule out reading this author’s work in the future, but this book didn’t do it for me.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the pubisher.*