cover image Married in Haste

Married in Haste

Cathy Maxwell. Avon Books, $7.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-380-80831-1

Society beauty Tess Hamlin has always had her pick of suitors, but no one has ever met her expectations. Brenn Owen, new Earl of Merton, home from the Peninsular Wars in 1814, has come to London to find an heiress in order to fund the rebuilding of his ancestral home. At a ball, a lighthearted joke, a bet among bored debutantes and flirtatious looks add up to an on-the-spot marriage proposal for Tess from the handsome war hero. It's all a lark until Tess's gambler brother informs her she must accept the offer, fast--for he's squandered her fortune at the gaming table and proud Tess will otherwise become society's laughingstock. In this tale of deception upon deception, Maxwell (Because of You) makes good use of her trademark clean, crisp prose style, weaving a reverse gift-of-the-magi tale set in the Black Mountains of Wales and starring two engaging and lusty protagonists. (Aug.)