What should a proper lady do when she believes her days are numbered?
Step One: Take a Lover . . .
After being told she will not survive beyond the year's end, prim and lovely Marguerite Laurent intends to live what remains of her life to the very fullest. Though she may never know love, she will know passion—and she agrees to a whirlwind romance with a former admirer. But hours before embarking upon her grand adventure, Marguerite is abducted—by an unscrupulous rogue who boldly announces his intentions to bed and wed her before the week is out!
Step Two: Live With No Regrets . . .
Ash Courtland pulled himself up from the gutter to become a successful man of business, and now he wants revenge on his one-time partner for betraying him. Still, his enemy's bewitching daughter is most certainly not about to surrender her innocence to the infuriating—if shockingly attractive—cad who took her captive. Yet with no more than a touch, Ash makes her tremble with desire . . . and resisting the heat of his passion could cost Marguerite her last, best chance for ecstasy.
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Historical Romance
Released: November 30, 2010
Marguerite Laurent's job is to assist those unfortunate souls that are on their deathbed. Young, old--doesn't matter, if someone is on their way out, that's when Marguerite steps in to help ease the suffering of both the patient and their soon to be grieving family.
Mrs. Dansbury--Marguerite's latest patient--however, has left her in a bit of a predicament. After having initially been deemed as pretty much on her way out, the woman makes a startling recovery. Shocked, Marguerite concludes she'll simply move on to her next patient. What more can she do? The woman is perfectly healthy, and unfortunately, healthy is not exactly Marguerite's forte.
But before Marguerite could get her travel bags out the door, the eccentric Mrs. Dansbury decides she wants a second opinion, and one that will not only change Mrs. Dansbury's life, but Marguerite's, as well....
Madame Foster is a fortune teller--and quite the fraud if you were to ask Marguerite--but she sits idly by as the woman puts on a show for the old Mrs. Dansbury. It isn't until the psychic foretells of the upcoming passing of Mrs. Dansbury by weeks end, that Marguerite loses her patience.
As she eyes her patient sprawled out on the floor from shock, Marguerite warns the psychic she'd better retract her statement. There's no way Mrs. Dansbury was going to die within a few days. The woman was fit as could be for crying out loud! But, Madame Foster refuses, swearing what she says is the truth. But that's not all, according to the Madame, Marguerite's future isn't looking all too kosher either, for as it turns out, this Christmas is going to be her last.
A few days later...
Mrs. Dansbury is dead. Gone. It was just as the Madame foretold, and the normally sensible twenty five year old Marguerite is left pondering the fate of her own future. Or rather, lack there of it. But the future doesn't seem as bleak once Marguerite receives a letter from her estranged father, wishing for her to meet her two sister. Sisters, Marguerite never even knew existed.
Curiosity--and the fact that she's on her way to meet her estranged family--brings Marguerite to locate Madame Foster in St. Giles. The old woman confirms her earlier prediction that our heroine will not live longer than a year. But there is more. According to the Madame Foster, Marguerite is going to quite busy during her remaining days on this earth. Not only will she be united with long lost family members--sisters to be exact--but she will be married before the year is through!
As stands outside the Madame's shop contemplating life and her soon-to-be death, she concludes that perhaps she should definitely take some time off. A year should suffice. And as for the mystery "husband", well, Marguerite knew that was very unlikely. But, if what the Madame said was true, and Marguerite only has one year left, perhaps it's time she found a lover?
The thought held much appeal, until she is jolted out of her fantasy by two men seemingly in the midst of a fight. Marguerite watches in horror as the much larger of the two men begins pummeling the other to near death. She simply couldn't stand there and let it happen, and so she steps in. Her desperation to save the smaller man only to bring her face to face with a giant. Handsome and masculine beyond belief, this stranger is unlike any man she'd ever met before.
An extremely wealthy man, Ash Courtland is used to being surrounded by beautiful women every day. Far more beautiful than the woman who had taken it upon herself to get involved in his affairs.What the hell was prim and proper young woman doing in St. Giles anyway? But...he had to admit he liked her spark. No woman had ever dared to stand up to him before and even after sending her on her way, he can't seem to get her out of his mind.
But, Ash has bigger problems to contend with for the moment. After years of working like a mad man to bring himself up out of the slums, it seems that his business partner, Jack, is planning on using their investments and businesses as a means to gain his bastard children husbands of nobility. And that idea was something Ash will not take likely.
It is then that a plan begins to unfold. If Ash were to marry one of Jack's so-called daughters, it would further secure his position. He voices his wish to Jack, who--with regret--turns him down. It seems no matter how wealthy of a man Ash may be, no matter how much he had accomplished ,he'll still never be good enough. But not being good enough was never something that stopped Ash from getting what he wanted, and he wasn't about to start now.
After taking care of a few matters--such as procuring a lover with whom she'll be spending a few months in Spain with *wink*--Marguerite arrives at her father's home. She wants to at least meet her sisters before she departs for Spain--or, perhaps forever, if Madame Foster is correct.
Her father is throwing a party in honor of his three daughters, but before she knows what's going on, Marguerite is being carted off to Scotland to be wed to a mysterious, cloaked figure. Marguerite was not about to go down without a fight, however, even when she realizes that her captor is none other than the handsome brute from St. Giles, Ash Courtland.
Ash's plan is to consummate the marriage and then he and Jack's daughter--whichever one it turned out to be--would remain together in name only. It sounded absurd, and an awful way to spend one's last year alive. And so, Marguerite resists. But for how long? As she begins to assess her situation, she realizes perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad thing to marry this man.
He wants Jack's daughter to be his wife.
She wants a lover.
It didn't have to be a love affair. If nothing else, one thing was for certain, there would be no lack of passion in the marriage. As the miles passed, and the closer Ash and Marguerite came to Scotland, the harder it was becoming to resist not only their attraction for each other but the unexpected love that was beginning to bloom. Marguerite vows that no matter what happens, she was going to make the most of her time with Ash--however short it may be.
As for the rest--namely whether or not our heroine lives to see another Christmas--well, you'll have to find out for yourself *wink*
I have to say, this tale had one of the best opening chapters I've read in a long time! Sophie Jordan managed to completely snag my undivided attention. The plot line, banter and romance are all wonderfully written and are bound to keep you turning the pages. It was different. I definitely like different.
I've only read one other book by this author, but I've enjoyed both of them immensely. I look forward to reading many more of Sophie Jordan's tales in the future.
My Rating: B
If you're interested in learning more about books my this author, be sure to check out her website
More Views on this tale:
Night Owl Romance
Love Romance Passion