THE WIFE HE ALWAYS WANTED - Cheryl Ann Smith
A School for Brides Romance , Book 5
Since her father's murder, her brother leaving England, and her aunt's death, Sarah Palmer has lived alone in poverty. One night she answers the door to find a man who appears bear-like and declares her brother is dead but requested he marry her. She knew Albert had passed a year ago in Texas. Yet Gabriel Harrington declares not only is she his fiancée, but also tells her he is the son of an earl, and quite rich. Destitute and eager to get to London, Sarah agrees.
After their quick wedding, both Sarah and Gabriel have doubts, but both are determined to make the best of their marriage. Gabriel decides to give Sarah time to get to know him. Plus, after spending years with Albert, he knows his friend suspected that his father's murderer hunted him, and he worried about Sarah's safety. Sarah, at nineteen, is very innocent, but decides to become the wife he needs. She is also glad to go to London to see if she can discover who killed her father. Misunderstandings are bound to occur.
The Harrington family quickly accepts Sarah and helps her entice Gabriel into loving her. About a third of the way into the story, the hinted at murder mystery starts to take form, which will draw the couple closer. Sarah is certainly an interesting character, hardly a Regency miss, but smart. Noelle, from THE ACCIDENTAL COURTESAN, befriends Sarah and helps guide her to a love-filled marriage. The combination of Sarah's naiveté in romance and her growing desire for Gabriel (and his for her) starts the action, but it is the mystery behind their sudden marriage that makes this an interesting read.