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Election Day Tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Election Day is tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Online of course, not really on your ballot.

So in the spirit of “I cannot handle anymore political turmoil and arguing”, I will be hosting my own list of measures to vote on up on Facebook tomorrow. I am not holding a totally fair vote because I don’t plan to post all the questions here tonight–you’ll have to visit my Facebook Page to vote on all the measures. (And of course there will be plenty of prizes to go around.)

The big question, however, is…Who at the end of the night will be crowned the most beloved Rose Gordon. This hero will get special privileges (don’t they all already??) for the next four years and of course be crowned the King of Rose Gordon’s Heroes at the end of the night.

Now of course with so many candidates, it’s only right to hold a small debate so without further ado, I have brought them all here to give a short speech about why THEY deserve such an honor…

[I should warn you that much like the other debates we’ve all witnessed this year, most of the candidates do NOT stay on topic and interrupt each other often…Be warned.]

Gentlemen, in three sentences, or less, could you please tell us why YOU should hold the coveted spot of Most Beloved Rose Gordon Hero for the next four years. We shall go in order of appearance, Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, we shall begin with you.

BENJAMIN COLLINS, DUKE OF GATEWAY: Pardon me, Rose, but actually I appeared before Townson. *grins wildly and folds his arms across his puffed out chest* And in his own book no less…

That will be enough of that.

ANDREW: Yes, we all remember that profound moment, you made the book start with a bang…or should I say a slap heard around the world?

Enough! You two are starting to remind me of real life too much and I do wield the power to remove you both from the running. Now, we shall begin—in the order of heroes. Andrew, you’re your first.

ANDREW—HERO FROM INTENTIONS OF THE EARL: As Rose’s first hero, I should think the honor belongs to me. Not only as the first am I the one she obviously used up her best traits and dialogue with, but I am also the one whose book has been read most, therefore I am most well known.

GATEWAY: *snorts*

shoots a sharp look at Gateway

GATEWAY: *throws hands up into the air* I’m entitled to my own opinion on that. His book might have been downloaded more, but have you seen those reviews?

No and I don’t care to. Paul, your turn.

PAUL—HERO FROM LIBERTY FOR PAUL: I was saddled with Liberty, need I say more?

*sighs* If you didn’t fall madly in love with her by the end, I’d say the honor is yours by default, but…

PAUL: *grins* All right, I think I should be the favorite because A. I got Liberty to stop reading—and quoting—books on propriety; B. I also beat her at her own game; and C. I had my clothes stolen while in the tub, D. beans—that were supposed to be my head—stabbed to an oblivion AND E. am ninety percent sure that my mother-in-law glimpsed me naked. Franky, I’m a damn shoo-in.

Ahem, well, I’m not sure what to say to that. Next?

GATEWAY—HERO FROM TO WIN HIS WAYWARD WIFE: No, Paul, I’m the shoo-in. I’ve been Rose’s most loved hero from the start.

ANDREW: Yes, I recall everyone rooting for you all during my romance with Brooke. NOT!

Boys.

GATEWAY: As I said, I’ve always been the favorite. Have any of you ever peeked in Rose’s inbox? No? It’s me the young girls write about and tell tales of their swooning and say if Arid Alex over there could fashion a time machine, they’d travel–

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT: I believe you’ve spoken more than three sentences.

*all eyes swing to Wallace who is adjusting his cravat*

GATEWAY: Sorry, chap, I was trying to stop at a prime number.

And I have a feeling you aren’t done yet… Nonetheless, you are for now. Alex?

ALEX BANKS—HERO FROM HER SUDDEN GROOM: If I was playing the pity card like Paul, I’d remind everyone I have the nickname of Arid Alex and was once betrothed to Lady Olivia. *shudders* However, I shall instead remind you all of my intellectual pursuits of a regular subscription to Prominent and Avant-Garde Horticulture, being an avid student of chess, having been entrusted to be the guardian of several young ladies…and as Gateway so nicely pointed out, if anyone was capable of creating a time machine, I’m your hero. Therefore, most beloved hero…again, I’m your hero.

GATEWAY: Are we supposed to applaud now?

ANDREW:I don’t know, but his speech is more worthy of applause than yours.

I won’t warn you two again. One more outburst and you’ll be excused from the room.

GATEWAY: Are you threatening voter fraud?

No! You’ll still be in the running, I can’t delete you from the ballot at this late date, but I will banish you from the room so you won’t be able to have another word. Now, let’s hear from Marcus.

MARCUS, LORD SINCLAIR—HERO FROM HER RELUCTANT GROOM: Hands down, I think everyone would agree I am the most honorable of all of your heroes. Even the ones who are given such an honor in their book title— *casts his grey eyes to where Sebastian, Giles and Simon, the three heroes from the Gentlemen of Honor Series, are seated* —I had a lovely young woman staying in my house unchaperoned for quite a while and not a whisper of scandal befell either of us. Nor was she in any way unmarriagable when she left.

PATRICK—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: *snorts* Sir Wallace might disagree with that. She wasn’t very interested in marrying him after you’d given her a lesson in male anatomy and base desires courtesy of a little book in your library.

MARCUS: I’d say all four of our wives— *gestures to Alex, Patrick, Sir Wallace and himself* —benefited in some way from Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.

SIR WALLACE: *clearing his throat, and whispering* I can’t complain too much about that book, Patrick.

MARCUS: *stretches legs out in front of himself, crosses ankles* See? Emma’s gift to Edwina was the perfect apology.

ALEX: Your wife gave that…that…filth to my sister?!

GATEWAY: *cackles* Sir Wallace, you rascal! *lets out a low whistle and shakes his head* I suppose it’s true what they say, it’s always the quiet ones who are the biggest scoundrels. *stands and claps Sir Wallace on the shoulder* Since Rose is gesturing for me to get my arse out, I will go, but Sir Wallace, I’d be honored if you’d take my seat over in the Scandalous Series section. I do believe you having a naughty book has entitled you to a seat with the other debauchers. *bows* I shall take my leave now, I had no idea I was in such depraved company.

ALEX: *Scrubs hands over his face.* The image that is now in my head isn’t going away.

MARCUS: You’ll get over it. I do recall spotting a copy of it in your library. Need I remind you that you are married to my cousin?

ALEX: Point taken. Patrick, I think it’s your turn.

PATRICK “DRAKE”, LORD DRAKELY—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: I willingly admit that I made a few mistakes with Juliet, my heroine, but I’d like to think I redeemed myself during our trip to London. Also, if it weren’t for me, poor Simon over there would have never had his happily-ever-after. So in a way, I’m a HERO FROM two books.

ANDREW to ALEX: I think he’s been spending too much with Gateway, he’s getting a swell head.

ALEX back to ANDREW: That or with his wife and now he thinks he’s as good of a matchmaker as all those of her sex think they are.

PATRICK: I hate to tell you two weasels this, but Brooke and Caroline both think they’re some sort of skilled matchmakers, too.

All right, fellas, let’s stay on course. Sir Wallace?

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT—HERO FROM HER IMPERFECT GROOM: 1. Contrary to my book title, I am undeniably a perfectionist. 2. Unlike some of the others in this room, when scandal knocked on my door, I was ready to do the right thing. 3. Despite my love for being impeccably dressed and as proper as a straight pin as Rose put it, when love was on the line, I put my own wants aside and chased her down at all costs.

ALEX: Chased her down? No you scaled the side of my house and broke into her room.

SEBASTIAN—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: There is nothing wrong with that.

ALEX: There is when she didn’t invite him to do so.

SEBASTIAN: *face flushing, shrugs* Again, I don’t find anything wrong with it if he gets the girl in the end.

SIR WALLACE: I did. *pushes chest out* And an enlightening little treatise to boot.

ALEX: Agggghhhh.

Let’s move on to the heroes of the Brides Series. Edward?

EDWARD BANKS, LORD WATSON—HERO FROM HER CONTRACT BRIDE-: Oh? I get to enter the running, do I? I wasn’t sure if I’d get that honor since I’m the only one Rose killed off! I think that means I should forever be memorialized as the most beloved. Oh, is that too morbid? All right, I think ultimately I should be the most beloved hero because I’m the one responsible for building the stargazing gazebo that brought about at least two happily-ever-afters. If it weren’t for me being friends with the late Lord Sinclair, Alex wouldn’t have met Caroline—

ALEX: Or have been engaged to Lady Olivia.

EDWARD: Yes, as I mentioned before, I was lost in celebration that night. Believe me, there was a lot of celebrating. Joseph was finally free from having to visit Bea’s bed and the wine just kept flowing… *waves a hand through the air* Not to mention, I fixed things between Alex and Caro by reminding her that he’s a man. If it weren’t for me and Regina, Alex, Elijah, Henry and Edwina wouldn’t be here and I would have never been born and John wouldn’t have gone to America to meet his wife. And…finally, if it weren’t for me, Andrew wouldn’t have inherited such a beautiful painting.

ANDREW: Thank you. I’m still cherishing it.

JOHN BANKS—HERO FROM HIS YANKEE BRIDE: All right, Edward, we get that you’re making up for lost time of not getting any scenes in three of your four children’s books, but enough is enough. Besides, I know the true identity of that “artist”. Not to mention, you allowed your heroine to sink the Gallant

EDWARD: She looked so fetching as the boat went down, I’d have allowed her to sink a whole armada had I had one.

All right, gentlemen, we have a lot more to hear from–

EDWARD: No we don’t, I’m the most beloved. *grins* They need not even speak.

JOHN: Now who has been spending too much time with Gateway?

John, it’s you’re turn.

JOHN: As hero to Carolina I have faithfully done my duty and played countless games of charades. I stood up to her beastly parents and rescued her closest confidant. I endured being sewn into a bundling bag, being watched shamelessly on while bathing in the pond, had to bear witness to a dirty, old merkin lying in the street while eloping, and in the end, swept my girl away from her parent’s evil clutches and eventually brought her and my three daughters to London where all of Rose’s stories began.

EDWARD: You’re rather smug, aren’t you, Trouble?

JOHN: *shrugs* The boot fits.

All right you two, nearly two hundred and fifty years later and you two are squabbling like little boys.

EDWARD: We’re brother’s, that’s what we’re supposed to do.

And now, for another set of Banks Brothers—Elijah?

ELIJAH BANKS—HERO FROM HIS JILTED BRIDE: *squares shoulders and slowly looks around the room* Fellas, you can all go home. This victory is mine. You all might think you rescued your heroines, but I—*points at chest*–I did. I not only saved her from being married to a scheming, lying, reprobate who likely would have done unmentionable things to her person, but I did it by shimmying her through a church window in her wedding gown, no less. *chuckles* And no more, either.

HENRY BANKS—ELIJAH’S TWIN AND HERO FROM HIS BROTHER’S BRIDE: What Elijah neglected to mention was said man hadn’t even shown up yet. So how exactly he spared her such a life… *shakes head* Can anyone truly be certain?

ELIJAH: Right you are, Henry. I was also rescuing her from the humiliation of being jilted. I thought that was implied by the title. And just because he hadn’t shown up yet that day, didn’t mean he didn’t still have plans for her.

HENRY: That’s true, however, had you not married her and just brought her to safety, you’d have been able to fulfill an earlier promise you’d made.

ELIJAH: Oh, you mean I’d have married Laura—YOUR wife? *cocks head to the side* If what I spied in the garden is any indication, I think you ought to be thanking me.

HENRY: Indeed.

ELIJAH: My thanks?

HENRY: *stares at him* I’ll refrain from singing carols at Michaelmas this year.

ELIJAH: That’s even better.

Throws hand up. Henry, it’s your turn.

HENRY: *rubs chin* As I just mentioned I did marry the young lady Elijah had promised marriage to. And I don’t regret it. I did first try to find her another suitable husband because what else can you do when a woman you barely knows shows up on your front door stoop and demands marriage? If rescuing heroines is the key to winning, I should say that I rescued mine from herself when she was spitting out phrases in French that she didn’t know the meaning of. And finally, I do believe, I exercised perfect self-control in the carriage while taking my—not my brother’s *scowls*—bride to Scotland.

ELIJAH: And on the way back?

HENRY: Is none of your damn business.

EDWARD: That’s my boy.

JOHN: Only you would be proud.

EDWARD: Had your wife produced a boy, you’d understand. As it is your girls—

JOHN: Are the most scandalous sisters to ever step foot in London, yes, I know.

EDWARD: I was going ot say saints, but your definition works, too.

All right, we need to–

GATEWAY: *pokes his head in the room* Are you hens still clucking? You all know I won this competition before it even started.

ANDREW: Only if you’ve been out there rigging the votes… *arches eyebrow*

MARCUS: Besides, I think you’d do well to spend a little more time around Alex and allow him to explain to you the difference between hens and roosters.

GATEWAY: I can borrow Sir Wallace’s naughty book for that, I’m sure.

Gateway, come join us again. Apparently, without you making inane and unsolicited comments everyone else feels they need to.

GATEWAY–*lumbers in and falls into a vacant chair* Ah, to be the scapegoat.

Now, let’s switch gears and hear from our American heroes—Wes, are you ready?

CAPTAIN WES TUCKER—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE BOSTONER: About as ready as I was for a spirited and slightly angry young lady to come parading into my life, throwing rocks and making impossible demands.

2ND LIEUTENANT JACK—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE SOUTHERNER: Sounds to me like you’re complaining.

CAPTAIN GRAY—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE TRAVELER: Which you certainly weren’t doing when she came. I do believe you went around whistling a merry little tune as you packed your things and strutted up to your new bedchamber in the married officers wing of the barracks.

WES: Indeed I was. But keep in mind, I managed to keep Allison safe from harm of the other men and from herself with a sewing needle. I used her excellent throw to all of our advantage and taught her how to swing a bat—she can now best even the best in rounders.

JACK: Yes, that all sounds so exciting, lest we forget your book isn’t a shoot’em up.

GRAY: No, that was saved for your book. Would you care to share with everyone just exactly what went on at the shooting range that day?

JACK: That was a private moment between Ella and me.

*laughter from around the room.*

EDWARD: Good for you, young man.

Jack, why should you be most beloved hero?

JACK: I certainly went through some of the worst—sent off for a mail-order bride and received a young lady who was angry with me from the start. *face reddens* For which I do take full responsibility. Nearly lost my heroine to a spider. Had to ride a horse with a man who wore little more than an eyepatch over his…unmentionables, sat in the tent of a naked and half-crazed medicine man—and that was only the first half of my tale. As Gray mentioned, I taught my girl how to shoot…*face turns crimson and coughing ensues* and gave her another sort of education as well.

GRAY: *voice dripping with sarcasm* And now, I’ll never be able to shoot at the range again without that thought. Thank you.

JACK: *grins* You’re welcome.

GATEWAY: Would you like me to ruin a few places in England for you?

EVERYONE: NO!

GATEWAY: *chuckles* Pray continue.

Gray, you’re turn.

GRAY: I do believe I am the most beloved. I had a rekindled romance with a woman I was once forbidden to talk to and because I kissed her–

JACK: Should you remind everyone why you were kissing her?

GRAY: *ignoring Jack, continues*–we were married and I inherited a dragon for a father-in-law.

JACK: *snorts* I have the same father-in-law!

WES: Yes, and thanks to the two of you, he’s now the general at our fort.

JACK: It’s not my fault. I didn’t know Ella’s father was a grumpy old general when I started writing to her. Hell, even Gray didn’t recognize Ella when she first came.

GRAY: And if I had, would you have sent her back?

JACK: Well, no.

GRAY: Then it seems you should stop your complaining about the old dragon.

WES: And you should, too. You both chose to be connected to him. I did not.

GRAY: As I said, if Jack had known any more about Ella’s identity it could have been avoided.

WES: Yes, but then you wouldn’t have had your wife.

GRAY: No, I wouldn’t have–*eyes crinkle and a broad grin takes his lips* and dealing with her cantankerous father is a small price to pay to have her.

Gray, is that all you have to say?

GRAY: No, I have plenty to say if these two would shut up for two minutes. I married a woman who had no reservations in her dislike for me. As has been mentioned, her father didn’t like me either. But even so, she managed to win me over and I daresay, I won both of them over, too.

JACK: That’s the best you could come up with?

GRAY: Yep, I’m Michaela’s all-time favorite hero. I don’t need to be anyone else’s.

*silence fills the room…until broken by none other than GATEWAY* Ah, spoken like a men letting his privates doing the thinking for him—and not the hundred men you command.

GRAY: *shrugs* Her opinion is the only one I value.

That’s very sweet, so then should we stop this competition now and let you all get back to your respective heroines?

SEBASTIAN GENTRY, LORD BELGRAVE—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: Hell no. I did not break into the wrong sister’s bedroom and hie my worst nightmare off to Scotland, marry her, lie to her, diligently try to find her another husband while secretly longing for her and praying she wouldn’t wind up with Stoic Simon just to give up now. I love Belle more than life itself, but by golly, I’m the most beloved hero—I’ve even won an award.

Your book isn’t the only one to be nominated for an award, Sebastian, (gracious this man needs to be taken down a peg), Patrick, Edward and John have been finalists, too.

SEBASTIAN: Ah, but they all came in second. I won. And a reader’s choice, nomination style entry no less.

EDWARD: Not true. I won some something or other once, too.

SEBASTIAN: Nobody seems to remember that. Not even the contest officials when it was time to publicly reveal the winners. But me? Oh, they made up this huge poster of my book. The thing was so big, Rose couldn’t get it back home from the conference. A local friend—and saint—kept it at her house for almost two and a half years until a mutual friend happened to be driving across the US and brought it to Rose. See, it’s right here!

soav-award-banner
Exhibit A

GATEWAY: I think I’ve found my match for most conceited.

SEBASTIAN: Exactly, the Gateway Era is over and the Sebastian Era has begun.

SIMON APPLETON—HERO FROM PASSIONS OF A GENTLEMAN: I still can’t believe Isabelle chose this for herself.

HENRY: Ha, if awards were given out for which hero made Rose bang her head against the desk most while writing their book, Elijah would win handidly.

SEBASTIAN: And Simon would win for most re-starts.

JACK: Gray would be a close second for that one.

Hey now! Stop airing MY dirty laundry. Giles, are you ready?

GILES GODDARD—HERO FROM DESIRES OF A BARON: I don’t need this award. I married Lucy a woman who loves me no matter what I say and do. With Lucy came Seth. The boy asks me uncomfortable questions about the origins of babies, when unsightly hair will appear, and now calls me Papa. I already have my reward.

SIMON: And don’t forget a brother.

GILES: How could I? You’re the reason I was questioned about the appearance of body hair.

SIMON: And the reason you met Lucy.

GILES: Yes, it was because of you we met, but you certainly didn’t have any intentions of backing down.

SIMON: I’d met her first.

GILES: And it was obvious that she didn’t return your interest. At least it was obvious when I read the book—living it was a different matter.

All right—again, more bickering brothers! Simon, you’ll have your turn in a bit–

SIMON: Of course I will. I already had to wait two years to get my book, why not wait longer to have my turn to speak.

In order of heroes, I think Gareth is next.

GARETH, LORD WORTHE—HERO FROM THE PERFECT LADY WORTHE: As many of the others have said, I already feel like I’ve won because I was blessed to have such a wonderful heroine to spend the rest of this life with. But…since Rose is twisting our arms for these speeches, I will say that I am indeed gentlemanly and clever. I was the HERO FROM her first novella who apparently knows exactly how much is in my bank account and takes abbreviated naps throughout the day. Not to mention, I married my best friend’s younger sister against his wishes, that’s pretty damn brazen and heroic, if you ask me.

GATEWAY: Twisted your arm? Hmmph.

Aaron, your turn.

AARON LENTZ, HERO FROM MISTLETOE & MICHAELMAS: I had to endure a Christmastide stay with the straightforward Duke of Danby. The man is so obsessed with matchmaking, I went to his house as part of my duty as a vicar and less than a fortnight later I was in need of one myself. Also, for the record, it should be mentioned, my name wasn’t always Aaron. I was given that name the afternoon the book was submitted because another story in the anthology had a hero with the same name. How is that for enduring?

JOHN: I wondered how you ended up with what was originally my name.

I confess, I confess! Aaron is telling the truth. His name was different when I wrote the book and I had to change it. John is also correct—his name originally was Aaron. But when I was typing Aaron, my fingers were moving so fast I’d capitalize both As. Plus, Intentions of the Earl didn’t need anyone else with an “A” name. Now, let’s move onto our next hero: Joel.

JOEL CUNNINGHAM—HERO FROM JESSE: BRIDE OF SOUTH CAROLINA: What can I say? I was commissioned to bring the girl I’d once loved more than life itself one hundred miles in my wagon to a train depot so she could go off to the wilds of Montana and marry Mr. Perfect—which couldn’t have been too perfect or he wouldn’t have submitted an ad for a mail-order bride. I kept my hands to myself—most of the time, my trousers buttoned up—a blasted hard thing to do at times and reined in my sarcasm–

No you did not!

JOEL: And no you did not have this book done by Oct. 26, 2015 like you were supposed and yet you still told everyone you had. If I remember right you were only 1,000 words in.

What has that to do with anything?

JOEL: Nothing, other than I was the perfect hero to write about. If I hadn’t been so easy to write about you wouldn’t have gotten this book done in under a week.

GATEWAY: Dang! Here I thought my book was the fastest at ten days.

JOEL: No, mine took less time but after meeting you today, I see why yours took so long. You’re a fountain of fodder.

GATEWAY: Thank you. I enjoy being complimented.

JOEL: Yes, and so does my wife. Who, I’ll have you all know I managed to win over on that trip despite fear of her father catching us, being robbed, having to sleep outside, meeting a deranged man who loves his junk more than Andrew and Gateway hate each other and more sarcastic remarks than have been shared here today.

You are correct, Joel. On all scores. James?

JAMES NORTH, EARL OF WYNN—HERO FROM THE WOOING GAME: I daresay this award is in the bag for me. Charlotte and I had a nasty first start. Blooming humiliating all the way around if I dare say. However, I managed to win her—even woo her—and all by sending her anonymous letters of admiration, a feat not even the notorious Banks men—or heroes of the Banks women–could pull off.

GARETH: The first missive you sent her, wasn’t so anonymous….or charming.

JAMES: Shhh! I made a mistake. You’ve made one I’m sure.

GARETH: Never.

SIMON: Is it my turn yet? Have I waited long enough?

Yes, Simon, you can go now.

SEBASTIAN: I don’t know why you’re bothering to, I’m sure everyone has already decided.

GATEWAY: Yes, they only needed to hear the first three.

ANDREW: Nope. Just the first one.

SIMON: Well, aren’t you both rather cocksure? Haven’t you ever heard of “saving the best for last”? My book was “in the works” for two blasted YEARS. Rose received emails inquiring when it was coming out. People asking why they couldn’t find it. She even received a very nasty email about tying her to a chair and making her write it. I daresay, if the emails are to be believed, I would consider this contest already over. Name me the winner and hand me my crown.

SEBASTIAN: Just because they asked about you and demanded she write your book doesn’t mean they liked it. Heck, if sales reports are any indication, I’d honestly say your book is the least read book Rose has written!

SIMON: That’s because everyone read your book and hated you so much they didn’t want to risk reading the others in the series for fear of encountering you again.

SEBASTIAN: Again, may I point your direction to Exhibit A?

soav-award-banner

All righty then, I think we’re done.

GATEWAY: No closing remarks?

No, you’ve all said more than enough already. All right ladies, you’ve heard what they have to say and tomorrow—on National Election Day—you can cast your vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero on Facebook. Please read over this as many times as you feel are necessary and share with your friends who might like to vote.

From just outside the window of my living room where everyone had gathered…GABRIEL ELLIS—FUTURE HERO FROM HIS PENNILESS BRIDE: Damn. She’s been receiving emails about the whereabouts of my story for four years—that’s before more than half of these fellas were heroes—I now have another four years to get my story, read all of their books to dig up the most gossip and I’ll be an easy win next go-around.

Ah, Gabriel, you forget…since your story hasn’t yet been written, you could be the most scandalous of them all!

GABRIEL: Marjorie! Let’s run away. Now!

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Books, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, Sale

SALE on entire Grooms Series!

From now until the end of the month my entire Groom Series (Her Sudden/Reluctant/Secondhand/Imperfect Groom) will be on SALE for 99 cents each!

Groom sale grid

These are available at all major eBook retailers.

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

This is the perfect time to stock up for yourself on books you haven’t yet read, get your friends hooked on the Banks family OR if you’ve promised someone a rose garden…well this is close enough, right?!

 

Audiobook, Groom Series, Her Secondhand Groom

Her Secondhand Groom Now on Audio!

I’m not sure I’ve ever had an audiobook take such a short time between my approval and delivery to the storefront! Nonetheless, Her Secondhand Groom is now available!

Her Secondhand Groom audio

This audiobook can be found for immediate download at the following:

Amazon   Audible.com   iBooks

(A five minute sample is available on each of those sites as well.)

What he wanted was a plain and meek wife to take care of his children and stay out of his bedroom. What he got was a fiery temptress who, despite her plain appearance, was far more desirable than he could handle.

Patrick Ramsey, Viscount Drakely, is used to having everything go according to his plans. And usually, it does, except when it comes to his three young daughters who are in desperate need of mother and governess. In an attempt to find a suitable woman, he stumbles upon the perfect woman for the post: Miss Juliet Hughes. Juliet, a local village girl, has been educated at London’s most highly respect school for young ladies, and better yet, her plain features will make it easy for him to keep his hands off of her.

But what Patrick doesn’t realize is this plain young lady from a humble background is anything but the docile, biddable young lady he bargained for, and if he’s not careful, he’ll lose his heavily guarded heart a little more with each encounter they have. With unshakable confidence and a strong determination, Juliet has no intentions of letting this lofty lord run roughshod over her and will stop at nothing to remind him that they may have been born at unequal stations, but where it counts, they’re matched perfectly.

Fun Fact Friday, Groom Series, Her Secondhand Groom

Fun Fact Friday ~ Her Secondhand Groom

  • I originally thought that Patrick would marry Juliet’s sister. Unfortunately that didn’t work out because there was no chemistry.
  • I realized on a camping trip that this book wasn’t going to work as it was (no way to salvage Patrick and Henrietta) and allowed my husband to use the printed partial manuscript as fire kindling.
  • This was the first book that I posted my husband’s ever-helpful edits. One of which I really couldn’t post publicly…
  • I changed the three young girls’ names the night before publishing Reluctant because one of the girls was Ella and Emma was the heroine of that book. I didn’t want confusion. Because I already had this book written at that point, I changed the names in both books using the search and replace tool and shamefully I must admit that I couldn’t even tell you what the three daughters’ names are.
  • I plotted none of this book. It was completely character-driven.
  • I wrote Juliet wearing that green dress from the cover the night Patrick took her to Alex and Caroline’s because that’s when he finally “saw” her as a woman and as his wife.
  • I think Lord Presumptuous is one of my favorite nicknames I’ve given a character.
  • I wrote about a third of this book in the car while on my way home from a vacation in the Smoky Mountains.
  • I gave Juliet a few of my less-than-attractive features–small chested (until I had children) and glasses so thick she they could light a fire just by turning your  head at the right angle.
  • I once did a series of polls over favorite heroes, heroines and who you (the reader) would want to be courted by. Nobody’s favorite was Patrick nor did anyone want to be courted by him, however, this is rather embarrassing to admit, I’m rather fond of him and I think though he does things wrong a lot, he’s probably one of my heroes I’d respond most to if he were trying to court me.
  • This book was a finalist in the 2012 Silken Sands Contest
  • When I went to the awards dinner to see if this book won the contest, I bought a green dress to wear…unfortunately, I was a little too optimistic in my endeavor to lose weight and got stuck in said dress…
  • This cover is my absolute favorite of the series and even my favorite of all the books I currently have out.
  • New  Wraparound:
  • Secondhand wrap sample

 

PS…

  • The comment from my husband that I couldn’t post? My husband lovingly has nicknamed this book the “Where did the semen go?” book.
Groom Series, Her Secondhand Groom, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ Her Secondhand Groom

It’s a new year and since it’s Wednesday, that means we need a new dosage of Wicked Wednesday!

The one I picked today wasn’t overly wicked, more humorous in the way that children can oftentimes embarrass the daylights out of us. Mine included.

To set the scene: Juliet, the young lady who Patrick has wed to give his daughters a mother and governess all rolled into one (hence his coined term, “motherness”) is teaching the girls to paint when Patrick happens upon them and asks them each show him their pictures.

 

He turned his head to look at his middle daughter. “Yes?”

What color clothes do you want?”

Pardon?” he asked, his jaw tightening. The last time she’d asked that question, he woke up the next morning to find all of his cravats covered with colored ink.

Helena gestured to her canvas. “Your clothes, what color do you want them?”

That’s me?” he asked, immediately coughing to cover the hitch in his voice. He looked back at the painting and cocked his head to the right. Then to the left. Then squinted. How was that supposed to represent him? When Juliet first showed it to him, he thought it looked like a very well-fed, but horribly disproportioned starfish. Now that he’d studied it a bit better, he’d amended his opinion. It didn’t look so much like a starfish, but perhaps more like an angry bear. Yes, a hairy, angry bear standing on his hind legs with his arms up in the air. “Helena, why did you paint Papa with such an unhappy look on his face?”

I didn’t,” she said, blinking her innocent eyes at him. “That’s how you always look.”

A peal of infectious laughter rent the air, and a tight coil formed in Patrick’s stomach. He glanced at Juliet. She wasn’t even looking at him. Her eyes were fixed on her canvas instead. He reached forward to pluck it from the portable easel she was using. “Papa,” Kate said, shoving her indecipherable painting in front of him. “What do you think of my painting of Juliet?”

Patrick dropped his hand from the edge of Juliet’s canvas, and his eyes bored into the image in the middle of Kate’s. That was not a picture of Juliet. It couldn’t be. The hairy, angry, ravenous bear was a closer resemblance to him than Kate’s…uh…he couldn’t even describe what it looked like, was to looking anything like Juliet. It was just a few uneven lines and several blobs as far as he could tell. “It’s lovely,” he murmured, turning his head away before she could ask anything else.

Kate tapped him vigorously on the shoulder with the bottom edge of the canvas. “Do you think I captured her figger right?”

Her what?” he spewed, snapping his head around to look at her.

Shrugging, Kate said, “Her figger.”

Patrick blinked at his little girl, speechless.

Kate, I believe the word you mean to use is figure,” Juliet said, her voice terribly uneven.

Patrick swallowed and chanced a glance up at Juliet. Though her eyes didn’t have the light in them he’d seen earlier, there was no denying she was on the verge of laughter. “Poppet,” he said thickly, turning his attention back to Kate. “Your picture is quite splendid.”

Thank you, Papa,” Kate said, beaming.

He patted the top of her head. “You’re welcome, poppet.” He turned his attention back to the mirthful Juliet. “Can I see y―”

Papa, do you think I made her fluffies right?”

Pardon?” Patrick choked, gasping for air. Her fluffies?

Papa, your eyes are bigger than the wolf’s in the story Juliet told us,” Kate commented, her voice full of wonder and her eyes just as big as he imagined his looked.

Patrick beat his chest with his fist. “Sorry,” he muttered when he felt composed enough to talk. “I was merely shocked.”

Shocked?” Juliet queried, the light pink tint on her cheeks the only telling sign of her discomfort with the conversation.

He nodded. “Yes. I had no idea my little girl knew what fluffies were.”

Juliet opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by more misguided innocence from Kate. “They’re the fluffy things Juliet keeps hidden in her dress here and here,” she said proudly, tapping her chest to indicate just where these fluffy objects were located.

Patrick blinked. “That’s quite enough, Katie love. Why don’t you go paint some flowers or something. I need to have a word alone with Juliet.”

Excuse me for a moment, girls,” Juliet murmured, wiping her fingers on a damp handkerchief. “Finish your paintings so when I’m done we can have tea.”

Would you care to explain what you’ve been teaching my girls?” Patrick asked as soon as they were out of earshot of the girls.

Juliet blinked at him. “We’re painting. I’m sorry if the portraits they have painted were not what you would have liked for them to paint. I wanted them to become familiar with using paints before asking them to focus on painting―”

That’s not what I’m talking about, and you know it,” he broke in. “Why is Kate openly talking about breasts?”

Though Juliet’s face turned crimson, she inclined her chin. “She’s not. She’s talking about fluffies.”

He penetrated her with his stare. “And what do you think fluffies are?”

There’s no need to be condescending, Lord Presumptuous.” She twisted her lips and looked out over the gardens before turning her attention back to him. “She’s only five. She’s just being a little girl.”

I wasn’t aware little girls had interest in breasts,” he retorted. He knew for certain boys did. He remembered that part of his boyhood very well. But girls? No. They probably didn’t even notice their existence until they started developing. A knot formed in his stomach. Just when did they start developing? Kate was too young, but what about Celia? His blood froze in his veins. Not Celia. She was too young still. She couldn’t be maturing that way yet. Could she?

You’re not even listening to me,” came Juliet’s voice, penetrating his thoughts.

I’m sorry,” he said, swallowing. “What was it you said?”

She frowned. “It’s normal that she’s curious.”

Patrick stared at her. What was she talking about? “Pardon?”

Juliet sighed. “I don’t understand why you’re having such a hard time understanding this. She’s a little girl.”

I understand that.”

Then what seems to be your problem?” Juliet burst out, throwing her hands into the air. “Is the problem that she momentarily forgot her manners and mentioned a topic considered improper in mixed company? Or is it the fact she knows anything about them in the first place?”

The second one. I think Kate’s too young to know of such things.”

Juliet removed her spectacles and rubbed the bridge of her nose, her brows knitting together. “She’s not too young at all. But if it’ll make you feel better, next time she asks such a question I’ll direct her to come speak to you.”

He ground his teeth. “No, you’re their―” He broke off. His mouth couldn’t form the word mother. She wasn’t their mother. Abigail was their mother. He swallowed hard. “Juliet, part of your role here is to help guide the girls into womanhood, I’ll not get in the way of that. I just feel Kate is too young for those discussions. Please wait until she’s a little older and better able to understand. That’s all I’m asking.”

You’re impossible,” she muttered, taking a step away from him.

He reached for her, then pulled her up against him. “No, I’m not. It’s not too much to ask that my girls get to stay innocent a little while longer, is it?”

No, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. But I will not lie to them, either,” she said sternly.

He loosened his hold on her. “I’m not asking you to.”

Yes, you are.” She took a step back. “Not in so many words, but that’s exactly what you’re asking me to do.”

How so?”

In your plea that they get to remain innocent, you’re indirectly asking me to evade their questions and omit facts.”

Then answer Celia’s questions, I never asked you not to do that.”

Celia?” Juliet echoed.

He nodded, unable to meet her eyes. “If she has questions about how her body is changing, please answer them for her. Heaven knows I wouldn’t know what to say to her, but I’m asking you to answer her questions privately. Kate’s too young to know about fluffies.”

Celia wasn’t the one asking questions,” Juliet said, her tone softer than he’d ever heard it before. “She’s too young to be developing, but when she does, she’ll have all the knowledge she needs.”

Then who the blazes was asking questions?” he demanded hotly.

Kate.”

Why?” he burst out, unable to hide his irritation at the whole situation. “There is absolutely no reason a young girl of five should have taken notice of such a thing, nor found it interesting enough to inquire about. Would you care to explain what you’ve done to stir this curiosity?”

Her grey eyes which were filled with a softness he’d never seen before transformed into cold steel in a second. “Loved her, you jackanapes! Something she’s never experienced at the hands of that nursemaid-turned-governess you hired for them. How you can stand there and accuse me of doing something improper, I’ll never understand.” She swallowed, her face reddening a fraction. “All I’ve done is held her and hugged her and rocked her. I may not be as buxom as other women, but there’s enough there that it caught her attention. When she asked why there was a difference between my chest and yours, I told her. I can see now I might have misunderstood her question. I thought she was inquiring about the physical differences, but now I realize she might have been asking why my chest contains a beating heart and yours doesn’t.”

Patrick stood paralyzed in her wake. His mouth unable to speak. His body unable to move. His brain unable to think. The only thing that seemed to function was the part of his body that Juliet didn’t think existed: his heart, which, though it was beating normally, ached in a way it never had before.

 

Groom Series, Her Secondhand Groom, Story Sample

Story Sample Sunday ~ Her Secondhand Groom

I know, I know, for some of you it’s already Monday or very nearly. Sorry! I have been buried under a huge pile of receipts and invoices today making sure I do all my accounting for 2013. It’s been crazy and I completely forgot until about two minutes ago.

Anyway, today’s sample is from Her Secondhand Groom.

Secondhand_1400x2100 USA copy

 

To set the background, Patrick and Juliet met on a muddy road when his carriage got stuck and she was out taking her younger siblings for an educational walk. Patrick has three young girls who were acting decidedly unladylike the first time they met Juliet, and yet, she watched them for the afternoon. After hearing what a wonderful time they had with Juliet (who Patrick is somewhat confused about the identity of the two sister, but that’s for you to discover on your own), Patrick decides SHE is the answer to all of his problems and makes arrangements to marry her in lieu of calling in her father’s loan.

And now it is time for Patrick to enlighten his girls of the new arrangement and his splendid idea!

Patrick waited for her to ride off before turning back to Helena and Kate. “Can I interest either of you in a secret?”

A secret?” Helena shrieked. “Always.”

He chuckled. “I thought you might be interested. How about you, Kate?”

Kate just stared at him with her big hazel eyes in a way that would have made him feel bad if not for the good news he was concealing. She was still disappointed she’d had to leave the Hughes’ home yesterday without a promise of return, but he also knew he had just the words to make her look at him as if he were the bravest hero in the world.

Locating the nearest mounting box, Patrick sat down and pulled Kate and Helena down to his lap. Settling one on each of his knees, he grinned at one, then the other. “All right, since only Helena’s interested in my secret, I’m only going to tell her.” He winked at Kate before turning to whisper his news in Helena’s ear.

Helena’s response caught him off guard as she bounced off his lap and started jumping around, while shrieking something he couldn’t understand.

Turning back to Kate who just blinked at her older sister, he said, “Are you the slightest bit curious now?”

She turned her eyes back to his and looked at him with an expression only a five year-old could make. “I suppose,” she said in the most insincere disinterested tone he’d ever heard.

Hmm. That’s not quite the response I was hoping for. I expected more of a reaction from you. Perhaps I ought to just keep my secret to myself.”

Crossing her arms, she blinked up at him.

I need a wee bit more excitement, Kate,” he teased even though it was obvious she was trying her hardest not to crack even the smallest hint of a smile. “You must really be angry with me.”

She nodded and glanced at her squealing sister.

He gave the most exaggerated sigh he could muster. “Well, I’m torn. On one hand, I could just keep my secret to myself until you’re no longer angry with me; or I could try to charm my way back into your good graces by letting it slip. Helena,” he called out, grabbing the attention of his other daughter. “What do you think I should do?”

Helena glanced at her younger sister. “Keep the secret.”

Patrick shook his head. “And here I thought I was raising loving little girls,” he muttered. He ran his fingers through his hair. “Well, since I cannot teach sisterly love, perhaps one Miss Juliet Hughes, soon-to-be Lady Drakely, can.”

Kate and Helena blinked at him, both silent.

Right. Yet again he was speaking with words beyond their understanding. “I’m marrying Miss Juliet Hughes on Saturday.”

Immediately, the squealing, shrieking, screaming, and giggling commenced again, this time Kate joining in the celebration. Patrick spotted Celia on the old brown nag she was riding. He’d tell her his news when they were alone. Being the oldest, at nearly ten, she was the only one who actually remembered her mother, which meant she would probably be the only one not happy about the new arrangement. He swallowed. If only things had been different.

Papa,” Helena called, bringing him to present.

Yes?”

Will she like us?”

Patrick blinked at his little girls. Not five seconds ago they were jumping up and down with excitement, and now Helena looked like she was about to swoon. “Of course she’ll like you,” he assured her uneasily. At least he hoped she would. He shook his head. She’d like them. She had her own brood of younger siblings whom she seemed to like, poor manners and all. His girls were no different.

Helena nodded, her eyes still uncertain. “What will we call her?”

What do you want to call her?”

Both Kate and Helena stared blankly at him.

What would you be comfortable calling her?” he rephrased.

Before they could answer, Celia rode up and cleared her throat.

Patrick looked at her, and she gave a pointed look to the mounting block he was sitting on. Tentatively, he stood up, casting her a questioning look as he did so. “Uh…you do realize even with me not sitting on that, you’re still not going to be able to get down without some help?”

I know,” she said airily. “But even if you have to help me down, Harry says it’s good practice to use the mounting box.”

Patrick stared at her, dumbfounded, then chastised himself for even thinking of rolling his eyes at Harry who was reaching up to take Celia by the waist. He lifted her off, then set her on the mounting box.

That was absolutely ridiculous,” Patrick mumbled under his breath.

I heard that,” Celia said while her sisters giggled. Shaking out her skirt in the most unladylike manner possible, Celia looked over at her sisters. “Was there a snake?”

A snake?” Helena asked.

Celia shrugged. “I heard the two of you screaming like banshees, as Lord Sinclair would say, and I thought there was a critter of some sort.”

No critter,” Helena chirped.

Patrick opened his mouth to tell Celia he’d like to speak to her in private, but before even his first word came out, Kate started jumping around exclaiming, “He’s going to marry Miss Juliet! He’s going to marry Miss Juliet!”

Swallowing the lump in his throat, he firmly placed his hand on Kate’s shoulder to signal for her to calm down while he simultaneously scrutinized Celia’s face, looking for some sort of sign. This was not how he wanted her to find out. But he had no one to blame for it except himself. He should have told Celia first. Everyone―except him, apparently―knew a five and eight year-old couldn’t keep a secret if their lives depended on it.

Is it true?” Celia asked, her voice cracking.

Patrick gave a simple nod and swallowed hard. Celia was five when Abigail died. Following her death, Celia had spent several months quiet and distant. Of the three, she might be the most resistant to having a new “mother”. Sinking to his haunches in front of her, his eyes met hers and his fingers came up to cup her chin. “Celia―”

Before he could say another word, her arms wrapped around his neck and she buried her face in the crook of his neck. It took but a moment to realize her body was trembling.

He brought his hand up to rub her back. “It’ll be all right, Celia,” he crooned. “I know you miss your mother, but Miss Hughes isn’t going to replace her. She’s just going to…um…stand in for her,” he finished dully.

Celia’s body slightly jerked and she pulled her head back. “I don’t think there’s a difference,” she said in a tone that was far more even than he expected.

No, I suppose not,” he agreed. “What I meant was―”

It’s all right, Papa. I’m not upset.”

You’re not?” he asked, staring dubiously at the tears that streaked her face, and the memory of the tight embrace she’d just been holding him in flashed in his mind.

She shook her head carelessly, making her long black braids swing around. “No. I want you to marry Juliet.”

Then why are you crying?” he asked. He wiped a tear off her cheek with one long finger, then turned it around to show her the evidence.

Because I’m happy,” she said with a giant grin.

Patrick started. He hadn’t been expecting that response. “Those were happy tears?”

Yes,” she affirmed, nodding wildly.

Patrick blinked. Celia was so much like Abigail it was almost frightening. Abigail was the biggest watering pot he’d ever met. She cried when she was happy, she cried when she was sad, she cried when she was tired or overwhelmed. There was rarely a circumstance that didn’t result in tears from her. He shook his head. At least these were happy tears. He could handle happy tears. “So you’re happy?” he asked like a simpleton.

All three of his daughters stared strangely at him. “Yes,” Celia said loudly.

Patrick winced. “You don’t have to talk so loud. I’m right here.”

Oh, I’m sorry. I just thought you were getting to be like Lord Rutherford, you know the one who holds the horn up to his ear.”

I know who he is,” Patrick remarked testily, standing.

Celia shrugged and fingered the end of one of her long braids. “I’m very happy for you,” she said at last. “And I think you’ll really like Juliet.”

A slow smile spread across Patrick’s lips as a picture of that beautiful creature he’d seen reclining on that sofa flashed in his mind. He may not wish for another woman to love, but this woman had all the necessary qualifications for what he was certain would make him a good wife, and the girls a good mother. Besides her abundant beauty, she was educated at one of the finest schools in England. The fact that her father didn’t seem to turn a hair at Patrick’s arrangement for the marriage, was all the assurance he needed she was biddable―and beddable, too. A sobering chill ran down his spine at the mere thought of the repercussions of sharing her bed. Perhaps she wasn’t beddable, after all.

Papa!” Kate yelled, catching his attention.

He cleared his throat. “Yes.”

Can we go visit Juliet today?”

Not today. Miss Hughes will be very busy the rest of the week.”

Oh,” Kate said glumly.

Not to worry,” Patrick said, scooping her up and holding her against his chest. “Once we marry you’ll get to spend all the time you want with her.”

I will?” she squealed.

Chuckling, Patrick ruffled her hair. “Of course you will. You’ll probably spend so much time with her you’ll sneak out and try to avoid her.”

No, I won’t,” Kate declared, shaking her head for emphasis. “I could spend all day with her.”

That’s very good to know since you will be spending all day with her,” Patrick said easily. “See, in addition to being my new wife, she’s also going to be your new governess.”

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, His Brother's Bride, His Contract Bride, His Jilted Bride, His Yankee Bride, Intentions of the Earl, Liberty for Paul, Officer Series, Officer Series, Reader Questions, Scandalous Sisters Series, The Officer and the Bostoner, The Officer and the Southerner

Which Book is WHOSE???

Two years ago, I never really anticipated this, but being emailed every few days to inquire about a reading order, really isn’t a bad thing. However, I wanted to post this here for those who are wondering, so they don’t have to wait on my response.

First, I should mention that The Officer Series isn’t really connected to my other books so they can be read first or last, it doesn’t really matter.

Now, for the others, I’d strongly suggest to read them in the order I wrote and published them. Why? Because though two of them are prequels, I was able to write in events/activities that are described in the earlier books without any sort of explanation other than “that’s just the way it is/was.”

So if you’re new to me, I’d suggest you read them like this:


SCANDALOUS SISTERS SERIES (First)

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

GROOM SERIES (Second)

Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES (Third)

HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride

His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride

 

Now, if you are one who MUST read things in chronological order, I’d say to read them like this:

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES

HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride

 

SCANDALOUS SISTERS SERIES

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

GROOM SERIES (Second)

Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES

His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride

 

His Contract Bride and His Yankee Bride are prequels that are about the parents of the siblings/cousins in the other books.

 

I know just listing it out doesn’t really “help” everyone, so if you’re more of a visual person, I’ve attempted to make a family tree as best I could on here.

BANKS FAMILY TREE!

Edward & Regina—His Contract Bride

Alex & Caroline
Her Sudden Groom

Elijah & Amelia
His Jilted Bride

Henry & Laura

His Brother’s Bride

Edwina & Sir Wallace

Her Imperfect Groom

John & Carolina—His Yankee Bride

Brooke & Andrew

Intentions of the Earl

Madison & Benjamin

To Win His Wayward Wife

Liberty & Paul

Liberty for Paul

(Naturally born Banks family members are in bold. Also, I’d strongly suggest NOT reading them in this particular order, I write it out this way so you could see birth order.)

Two books that I’ve written that aren’t part of the Officer Series are NOT listed in this family tree–Her Reluctant Groom, which is about Alex’s friend Marcus. His parents, however, are witnessed in action in His Contract Bride. Also, Her Secondhand Groom is also not a “Banks book”. It’s about Marcus’ other friend–Patrick. When I first got the idea for the Groom Series, Marcus was to be the main “connection” between the heroes. They were both friends with him. But when I got Sudden and fell in love with Edward (and of course John threw a curveball at me when he mentioned that the circumstances surrounding his and Carolina’s marriage were not up for discussion), I decided I needed to write about them. This was also the case with the whacky Sir Wallace in Reluctant. I loved him INSTANTLY and knew almost immediately who would be the perfect heroine for this imperfect groom.

Clear as mud?