HAPPILY BEDDED BLISS - Tracy Anne Warren
The Rakes of Cavendish Square
Regency Era Romance
England – 1818
Gabriel, Lord Northcote, notable for his roguish lifestyle, has gone to the country home of a friend to get away from the ton and to just relax. So he is rather shocked when the neighbors descend on him, accusing Gabriel of ruining their sister. What is most surprising about this accusation is that Gabriel has never even met the girl.
Lady Esme Byron, youngest of the Byron siblings, has escaped the insanity of a family reunion at Braebourne, and has headed onto the neighbor's land to sketch and catch her breath. Independent, a bit outspoken, and a collector of animals of all kinds, Esme just wants to draw, paint, or care for her pets. But events about to erupt will change her everyday life. She comes upon a rather impressive specimen sleeping by a small lake, a man in all his naked glory. And, as any good artist happening upon a perfect scene, Esme sketches the man. Later, back at the family house, Esme is asked by visitors to see her drawings. Unfortunately for her, despite hiding the picture in her sketch book, one of the family's guests, a nasty piece of work called Lettice Waxhaven, knocks the book out of Esme's grasp, and to everyone's horror, it opens to the offending picture of the naked man. Even more unfortunate, everyone knows who it is.
Gabriel finally gets to meet Esme once he is ordered to Braebourne by her enraged brothers. There is nothing else to be done but to offer marriage, something Gabriel thought would never happen. Still, he is pleasantly surprised to find that Esme is quite pretty, although a bit outspoken and clearly not happy about marrying anyone, let alone him. Gabriel will do the right thing, although with his unhappy family history, he doesn't plan on falling in love with his young bride, or allowing her to fall in love with him. Love doesn't exist in Gabriel's world. Which will come as a stunning blow to Esme, collector of injured beings. She will have her hands full trying to figure this one out.
Sadly, I have not read any of the previous Rakes of Cavendish Square books, so I'm unfamiliar with the rest of the characters, but HAPPILY BEDDED BLISS can easily be read alone. Readers will immediately love Esme for her kindness, compassion, and outspokenness. She is perplexed by Gabriel who turns hot and cold in their relationship. As for Gabriel, he is a troubled man doing the right thing, and he is equally confused by his feelings for his young wife. How both deal with marriage, family, and the past makes for a totally enjoyable novel. There is plenty of humor and a few poignant times. This well-written tale is a must read.