THE WEDDING CHALLENGE Candace Camp
The Matchmaker Series, Book 3
HQN
September 2008
Historical Romance

London, England the Regency Era

Lady Callandra Lilles is thrilled to be back in London after being stuck on her brother's country estate with only her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Rochford, for company.  Callie is quite tired of listening to Grandmother go on and on about her marital status, or lack thereof.  At three and twenty, Callie knows she should be married and happily settled, but the thought of uniting with one of the many suitable prospects her grandmother has paraded Callie's way gives her chills.  Yes, the Dowager's choices in men are certainly all well lauded and moneyed, but not one of them sends shivers of excitement down Callie's spine.  They are either too boring, too old, or heaven forbid , only after her considerable dowry.

Now, at Lady Odelia Pencully's eighty-fifth birthday ball, Callie manages to evade her grandmother's watchful eye and dances with possible suitors of her own choice.  But when her grandmother catches up with her and forces her to into the arms of the odious Mr. Carberry, Callie is unable to escape his attentions.  They end up outside and on the terrace, where he pushes his advances upon her.  Callie is in a tight spot.  The man simply will not take no for an answer until the dashing Earl of Bromwell rescues her.  Finally, she is safe!  Callie is mesmerized by Lord Bromwell and wants to get to know him.  But her brother Sinclair angrily busts through the terrace doors and orders Callie away.  She's angry now; how dare Sinclair treat her like a child?  Lord Bromwell only came to her rescue, for heaven's sake!  Callie decides that now is not the time to argue, nor to create a scene, so she takes leave of both men.  She obeys her brother's command, but it will not be the last he hears of this!

Callie is ready to take on Sinclair after they arrive home, but the duke dismisses her concerns and orders her to stay away from Lord Bromwell, but he won't explain why.  Callie is angry.  She sneaks out of the house in the dead of night and alone.  She needs a friend's advice, so she runs through the darkened and dangerous streets to Lady Francesca Hughston, waking the entire household when she arrives.  Callie knows that Francesca will help her get away from Sinclair's iron hand and asks her friend if she she might stay with her until the Season begins, when Callie's brother and grandmother will return to London .  Callie knows about Francesca's reputation as a matchmaker, and asks her for help finding a husband.

Secrets abound in THE WEDDING CHALLENGE, for the innocent Callie plans to catch the eye of Lord Bromwell, and she neglects to tell Francesca that her brother has forbidden her to see him.  Lord Bromwell, on the other hand, is laying a trap for Callie.  He wants revenge on Rochford for past hurts to his family, so he plans to string Callie along then drop her, making her the target of the Ton 's vicious gossip.  Callie wants love and romance before marriage, and Brom's kisses make her heart fly out of her chest, even though she knows nothing of the relationships between men and women and has only a few scant ideas of the mating rituals.  Brom is falling for Callie, but argues with himself, refusing to believe that he could feel anything for the sister of his enemy.  No matter what, their situation is hopeless; he cannot forgive the duke no more than Callie can believe that her brother wronged Brom's sister.

Callie and her Lord Brom have a passion that will not be denied inside the pages of this fast paced and passion filled novel.  What starts out as a seduction of revenge on Brom's part becomes a love story of protection as he does everything he can to save Callie from herself and from others who are out to destroy her reputation.  There is someone who is out to destroy Callie and her brother, and she finds herself in a compromising situation that well might ruin her.  There are a plethora of secondary characters that help their story along. The characters are fully fleshed and dynamic, and many are returning from the previous books to bring us Callie and Brom's story.

THE WEDDING CHALLENGE is the third book in The Matchmaker series and it can stand totally alone, though it follows THE MARRIAGE WAGER (September 2007), THE BRIDAL QUEST (March 2008), and precedes the next installment, THE COURTSHIP DANCE, due in March 2009

Join Callie and Brom in this exciting Regency era romp, THE WEDDING CHALLENGE!

Diana Risso