Title: Wicked (book#1, Reluctant Brides Trilogy)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Cheryl Holt
Publisher: BookBaby, April 2014
Source: Kindle Purchase
Sexy Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com: Rose Ralston has spent her life at Miss Peabody’s School for Girls—first as a student, then as a teacher. But with Miss Peabody’s passing, the school has been closed, the students sent away, and Rose is facing an uncertain future. As Miss Peabody’s will is read, Rose had been told to expect a small bequest, but she’s stunned to discover that her inheritance is a dowry that’s already been paid to an elderly widower. The man is in quick need of an heir, and Rose can agree to wed or she’ll get nothing and will have no money and nowhere to go. She’s never lived on her own, and without family or friends to assist her, she’s out of options. Reluctantly, she agrees to the marriage and heads off to the man’s Summerfield estate. James Talbot grew up at Summerfield. But as an orphan, his position was never exactly clear. The owner, Stanley Oswald, constantly tormented James with the secrets of his parentage. Rumors abound that he’s Stanley’s natural-born son, but the truth has been impossible to unravel. Needing to escape Stanley’s manipulations, James has spent the past decade in the army. But Stanley has lured him home, and when James learns of Stanley’s pending marriage, he can’t help but be intrigued. He’s eager to engage in a little mischief, and nothing would give him greater pleasure than to ruin the match before it begins. Rose is fascinated by handsome, virile James, but bound to wed elderly, decrepit Stanley. As Stanley woos her and James interferes, any wild ending seems possible. For Rose—who only ever wanted a home of her own—she just might end up with more than she ever dreamed. RELUCTANT BRIDES… When love is the key and dowry the bait, who can predict what a woman might do?
James Talbot is a rake who agrees to help Stanley Oswald in his pursuit of an heir with Rose. But of course everything goes wrong….or perhaps it goes right. Cheryl Holt has written a compelling read that is full of sexual tension, desperate intrigues, a jealous rival, a surprise and romance. Rose is a naïve young woman and her innocence is portrayed realistically for the era. I liked this book and I look forward to reading other books in this trilogy.