THE EARL IS MINE - Kieran Kramer
House of Brady , Book 2
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Gregory Sherwood, Earl of Westdale is heir to the Irish Marquess of Brady, but knows he is not fit and doesn't belong. His mother told him on her deathbed he was fathered by another man. He loves his father and his stepmother, but guilt plaques him. He tries to do his duty and marry, but when he finds the woman he intended to propose to in the arms of his best friend, and his childhood friend, Lady Pippa Herrington, involved in hiding the secret rendezvous, he takes his revenge by giving Pippa a deeply sensual kiss, and shortly leaves for America.
After three years Gregory has returned from America, and Pippa will meet him for the first time since their last horrible meeting. She has always loved him and pined for his absence, but knows his kiss was one of revenge, not the love she wants. He is her Great Uncle Bertie's Godson, and will come for Bertie's birthday dinner, which is a long-standing tradition in the family. Her mother and sleazy stepfather will also attend. While Bertie wants Pippa to marry Gregory, her stepfather has other ideas that place Pippa in an untenable situation, causing her to run away. Pippa has plans to go to France and perfect her art of sugar sculpture under the master Mister Perot.
Gregory accidentally finds and compromises Pippa on the road, which leads to changes in both their circumstances, especially when Gregory learns the architectural plans he'd been asked to do have been asked of other aspiring architects.
Gregory, while presented early on as a womanizer, feels guilt over his birth which affects his self-esteem. His returning affection for Pippa, his honor, and his desire to protect her drive him to distraction. Pippa on the other hand, is very freewheeling as an intelligent country lady who plans on spinsterhood and one who wants to make her own way in the world. However, her plans and actions often make her seem very immature and reckless. This is a fun story with dashes of drama and tension, unusual secondary characters, a bold heroine, and an introspective hero that Regency romance readers are sure to enjoy.