A WICKED PURSUIT – Isabella Bradford
A Breconridge Brothers Novel , Book 1
Norfolk, England, 1768
As Lord Harry Fitzroy, the Earl of Hargreave and heir to the Breconridge duchy, nears his twenty-fifth birthday, he realizes it's time he went about ensuring the next generation. As a handsome and wealthy gentleman who is popular, intelligent, and a natural at whatever he does, he should have no problem attaining the perfect lady for his countess and future duchess. His choice falls on the Honorable Miss Julia Wetherby, daughter of a viscount and the reigning beauty of this Season and the last. Miss Wetherby has left him with no doubt that she would welcome a proposal from him. When he learns Miss Wetherby has left for the country, he wastes no time in following her with his late mother's engagement ring in his pocket. Alas, when he arrives at Wetherby Abbey, he finds a party in progress. The proposal must wait for the next day when the two of them can ride out together. Right away everything goes wrong. Harry is given an unruly horse—his male pride won't let him ask for another mount—and Julia playfully dashes off, leaving him to follow her tracks. But one trick too many has the horse dumping Harry so violently he hits his head…hard, and his leg is badly broken. Thinking only of herself as usual, Julia runs off.
Julia's half sister, Miss Augusta Wetherby, called Gus by family and friends, is a different lady altogether. Though younger at almost twenty, she runs the house with caring and efficiency. She is the one who looks for and finds Harry and has him carefully taken to the house and sends for a doctor. Gus hasn't her sister's desire for frivolous activities or her great beauty, so that when Harry finally awakens, he thinks her a maid servant…but a very nice and comforting one.
The upshot of the accident means Harry is in danger of infection, and he may lose his leg altogether, if not his life. He can't be moved for weeks, if that. So who takes care of him besides his faithful valet? Not Julia; she's rushes back to London with her doting father following soon after her to bring her home. After all, the world expects Julia to marry the future duke. But Julia is horrified at the idea of marrying a cripple. Speculation abounds among Society.
Gus is left alone to care for their guest—for weeks growing into months—with only servants and visiting doctors. Between his fits of despair—this man who has always had everything—will Harry realize where real perfection lies? Meantime, the way he arranges things when he begins to feel better is highly amusing.
What a treat! Who can fail to fall in love with Gus? Not me…nor anyone, is my guess. Don't get me wrong; she's far from a goody-goody. She's a competent, generous, yet spirited young lady who sees the man beneath Harry's looks and position. Though Harry and Gus carry most of the action, there isn't a point in which the story drags. The author digs deep into her characters, especially Harry's, but the settings and other people are brought to life as well. You can't miss with A WICKED PURSUIT.
Though Harry has two brothers, we have yet to meet them. Watch for at least two more Breconridge Brothers stories to follow.