I have been looking forward to Ruark’s book since the beginning of the series. Not because he is much more handsome, or rich, or funny than the others, but because while he is the best friend, the others seem to malign him. I wondered why because he seemed to be such an honorable, good-humored, likable man. We’ve also met Cassandra before as well, and I really liked her. So, I was really excited to see the two of them finding their HEA in this book.
When he was six years old Ruark Hannigan, Earl of Wexford, made a deathbed promise to his father and he has always remembered and kept that promise. Ruark isn’t supposed to wed until he is at least thirty so he would be sure he knew his own mind. Ruark has found himself ‘in love’ several times and always said goodbye to the lady because – well – he wasn’t thirty yet. Then, there was an ‘incident’ in a broom closet at the Phoenix Club. Now, that lady he can’t seem to forget no matter how hard he tries – and he really does try. Except, he’s still not thirty, so nothing can happen.
Lady Cassandra Westbrook, daughter of the Duke of Evesham, sister to Constantine Westbrook (Impassioned), and sister to Lucien Westbrook, founder of The Phoenix Club, is being prodded – not very softly – by her father to wed this season. But then, he doesn’t make it very easy because his growl intimidates any potential suitors. Cass wants to marry for love, but she’s not found anyone who makes her heart flutter. Well, not anyone other than that rogue Ruark who kissed her in a broom closet.
It wouldn’t matter if Ruark and Cassandra were in love – her father would never, ever, accept him as a suitor. Neither would her brother Lucian. When Ruark pretends to court her – at her request – her father insults him in the worst possible terms. Yet, Ruark handles it all gracefully.
Many twists and turns – delights and setbacks – happen along the way to their HEA, but it was delightful to see them finally get there because I truly liked each of them separately and together.
For me, I found the promise of a six-year-old and an adult’s blind acceptance of it a bit hard to swallow. I can understand the self-doubt his father’s words would cause, but it mostly sounded like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then, Cassandra totally accepted everything about Ruark – but when she heard he’d been ‘in love’ before, she suddenly wanted no part of him. That just didn’t seem like much of a reason for that extreme reaction.
I definitely recommend this book and this series. Now, I’m looking forward to the next book – which (from the hints in this book) will feature Viscount Glastonbury and Prudence Lancaster. Can’t wait.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.