WHEN SHE SAID I DO - Celeste Bradley
Worthington Sisters, Book 1
St. Martin's Paperback
The Cotswolds, England, 1816
When icy river water sweeps her family's carriage off a bridge, Miss Calliope (Callie) Worthington, her brother and her parents take refuge in what seems to be a deserted manor house. Her parents are eccentric in the extreme, leaving Callie, as older sister, to raise her many younger brothers, Daedalus (Dade), Orion, Lysander, Castor and Pollux, and her younger sisters, Elecktra and Atalanta (Attie). Her family needs her to keep the household together, and she doubts she will ever marry at her age and in her circumstance. While her parents recover in a drawing room and her brother takes care of the horses, Callie explores the house in solitude, something she seldom gets to enjoy.
While sunk in his usual drunken stupor, betrayed, scarred, and broken Ren Porter hears someone singing. He discovers the person and secretly watches a wet, half-dressed female thief—perhaps a waking dream in his condition—pilfer jewelry in one of the many rooms of his mansion. Believing he will die in the near future, Ren takes advantage of the situation to feel a woman's body one last time, and when the strand of pearls she is wearing breaks, he propositions her: one pearl for each demand she meets. He only returns to reality when her brother appears to defend the young woman's honor; where upon a duel and a marriage quickly follow.
Ren, who always wears a hooded cloak to hide his disfigured face, doesn't deal well with strangers, but his new, temporary wife keeps him busy. She is no demure miss but an organizer and homemaker. Her accidents alone would try any man's patience, until it becomes clear her accidents are not accidents at all, but attempts to injure her. The question is who and why? Her family remains unhappy with the marriage, and the local village residents dislike Callie.
In this Beauty and the Beast adaptation, two very unlikely people seek reprieve from their lives in each others' arms. Both think they suffer from unrequited love, and count the pearls in each other's care as they increase or decrease in number. Suspense builds as the potentially dangerous incidents surrounding Carrie increase, and readers are sure to wonder how Ren can ever accept her unusual, sometimes unhinged, family members. While Callie changes little from her life's change, remaining the kind and loving woman she is, Ren is at first deemed a less than deserving character. However, his past slowly reveals his true character, and he redeems himself. WHEN SHE SAYS I DO is a charming, suspenseful story sure to enchant readers.