Heard such rave reviews about this book on my reading group that I just had to get it. I was not disappointed but it was not one that I will remember if I don't blog about it.
Edward de Raaf is the last survivor of his family after small pox ran across his lands when he was a young man. He was left with scars on his body and the title of Earl of Swartingham. He has finally returned to his estate where he plans to marry and fill his nursery so that the halls of his home will ring with laughter once again. All appears to be going as planned, except that he cannot seem to keep hold of his secretaries. So he send his man of affairs to hire one.
The man hires Anna Wren, a widow from the village whose husband left her and her MIL (mother in law) in financial ruin. She is forced to take a position and this one offers the highest wages possible.
When Edward returns to his estate after going to London to get his marriage settlement rolling, he is shocked by his new secretary but accepts the woman since her work up to this point is better than any of his previous employees. During his time at her side he starts yearning for the widow but knows she is a lady and it is impossible to start anything between them since he is engaged. That does not stop his body from getting all heated and out of shape everytime he is near her, so he heads to London for a visit to a brothel.
Anna, who has started to fall for the Earl, discovers his plot to alleviate his needs and convinces a new found friend to get her into the brothel, where she spends two nights in Edward's arms. When he discovers the truth he is absurdly angry but relies on the 'I compromised you' to request the marriage. Well she will not have him under those conditions and refuses him. So the Earl blackmails her into returning to his employ where his campaign for her heart starts.
Delightful tale that grabs you from the first few pages. I was surprised to find how humorous the book was, I really was expecting some serious melodrama, but was happy to find that I was smiling constantly at the Earl's efforts to keep his 'anxiety' under control. The sex was steamy and the story was definitely enjoyable.