WEDDING NIGHT WITH THE EARL – Amelia Grey
The Heirs Club of Scoundrels – Book 3
St. Martin's Paperbacks
England – 19 th Century
After the death of his wife in childbirth two years ago, Adam Greyhawke has recently learned he inherited an earldom. He's been alone at his house in Yorkshire. A year ago, he rescued his huge dog, Pharaoh, from an abusive shopkeeper, and Pharaoh has kept him company, at least until today. Returning to his house after a long walk, he finds an agent of the king, Mr. Hopscotch, waiting for him with a surprise. Hopscotch has a five-year-old orphan, Dixon, with him, who Hopscotch declares is Adam's heir. The king's agent also advises Adam to go to London to discuss his property with his solicitors, who have handled those properties since Adam inherited his earldom. Now that he has an heir, something he hadn't planned on just as he'd never expected to become an earl, responsibility has fallen on Adam. The guilt he bears over his wife's death makes him determined to never marry again. He believes his large size begat an overlarge baby, one his wife could not birth, which caused the death of both wife and child. Adam goes to London. There, he meets two friends Harrison Thornwick (THE EARL CLAIMS A BRIDE) and Bray Drake (THE DUKE IN MY BED), both of whose wives are in the family way. He meets them again at the dinner party given by the Duke of Quillsbury. Of all his invitations, he is enticed to this affair by the repute of the duke's delicious food. There he approaches a beautiful young woman to ask her to dance, only she rejects him! After some witty repartee, he belatedly learns that the lady uses a cane. Interest stirs inside the earl.
Katherine Write is the Duke of Quillsbury's niece. Her parents and siblings died years ago in a carriage accident that left her injured. After another injury to the same leg, she walks with a cane. The duke, his younger brother, and his sister have taken care of her ever since, but her aging uncle wants her to marry at the end of this, her third season. She has rejected many suitors, but her large dowry keeps her attractive to suitors. While she has a few suitors she is considering, only the Earl of Greyhawke stirs more than mere interest.
Circumstances throw Adam and Katherine together several times, and their undeniable attraction leads to some near seductions. Since he kissed her, Katherine has been smitten. Although Adam knows he must stay away from the alluring niece of the duke, running into her only increases her magnetism. Katherine would marry him, but he refuses to have more children, and she wants many children, children to name after her lost family members. Their thwarted desires and doomed romance is tortuous for both of them. How can things ever work out?