An Inconvenient Arrangement by Callie Hutton
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Rose Room Rogues #3
Publication Date: 6/30/29
Period: Victorian London, May 1892
Once upon a time, there were three brothers who owned the best gaming establishment in London – maybe in all of England. Two brothers were legitimate and one was not, though he was raised right along with his two legitimate brothers. We’ve already been delighted with the stories of the two legitimate brothers – Hunt (A Scandalous Portrait) and Driscoll (A Lady’s Trust). Now, we have Dante (don’t you love the name) who is a rogue extraordinaire. He loves the ladies and they love him, so why should he ever wish to give that up and marry. He isn’t in line for a title and has no need to create an heir – let his legitimate brothers take care of that, he’ll just enjoy his life.
“Another reason to not get involved with a wife. They never stayed where you put them, never did what you told them, and when things didn’t go their way, they cried. Or threw things at your head.”
I loved this well-written and well-delivered story of two people who both vowed they’d never marry because they loved their lives just as they were. Seeing them fall in love for the first time (and forever) – all the while denying it – was a delight. That magical coming together of two hearts was truly sigh-worthy.
Aside from owning a gaming establishment, the Rose brothers also take on occasional assignments for the Home Office. When Dante is summoned to pay a visit to Sir Phillip DuBois-Gifford, their home office ‘handler’, he knew it was to be an assignment that would last quite some time. But that was ALL he knew. Imagine his total surprise when he arrived at the appointment and was introduced to his partner for the assignment – a frivolous, empty-headed, unmarried spinster, Lady Lydia Smythe, daughter of Viscount Sterling. Groooooan! Well, wasn’t that just what he needed. Just wait until both of them discover that reputations and appearances can definitely be deceiving.
“This woman had a spine of steel and for the first time in his life he was interested in a woman for reasons other than her body.”
Lydia is on the shelf, definitely by choice. She’s had dozens of proposals, but she has never met any who stirred her interest and since her widowed father doesn’t push her to marry, she’s very happy to leave things as they are. Her father leaves her free to make her own choices about social functions, friends, activities, etc., and at her advanced age, she doesn’t even require a chaperone. Yes, life is good for Lydia. Right? Lydia especially enjoys the occasional tasks she performs for the Home Office. Her main skill is language – she can speak and write seven including German which is the language needed for her current assignment. She’s happy enough with the assignment, but she’s not thrilled to be working with a rakish, gambling, womanizer like Dante Rose. Who, in their right mind, would believe that theirs is a real courtship as required by their assignment?
“See. There is always a solution to any problem.” Dante rested his hands on her shoulders. “Yes, but the solution to some problems tends to be worse than the problem itself.”
I absolutely loved watching these two come to realize the other has strengths they would never have imagined. I loved them learning to value – and to love – those strengths. Poor Dante fought it tooth and nail, but when Lydia was in danger and he realized he could lose her – well – that just brought it all home to him.
“She imagined a little boy with Dante’s features and his charming personality. He would have all the female staff wrapped around his little finger. Perhaps they would have a daughter with the same traits. She frowned. They would have to keep an eye on that one.”
I hope you’ll read and enjoy this book as much as I have. Now, I can hardly wait for the fourth, and final, book in the series – A Rose for Laura – which will feature a previously unidentified illegitimate brother. We’ve met the brother, but we didn’t KNOW he was a brother, so that is something to anticipate for September 30th.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.