For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family’s fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that—until the firm’s representative turns out to be a very desirable widow.
Lady Miranda Garrett expected a man of Win’s reputation to be flirtatious, even charming. But the awkward truth is that she finds him thoroughly irresistible. While Miranda resides at Millworth to oversee the work, Win occupies her days, her dreams…and soon, her bed. For the first time, the wicked Win has fallen in love. And what began as a scandalous proposition may yet become a very different proposal…
We met Lord Stillwell in a previous novella and I really loved him. He was really a great guy and while this novel showed us a different side of him and some not so charming characteristics, I still thought he was great.
Miranda is a widow and is also a business woman. After her husband died she took over his architectural firm and started running it – but her family has no idea. She actually is the architect herself – as she was when her husband was alive and he took credit for her work. She was fine with that as she knew they’d probably lose business if people knew a woman was doing the work. When Lord Stillwell’s family home, Fairborough, burns Miranda’s firm is contracted to put it back to its former glory. Miranda ends up staying at the home with the Fairborough clan but that puts Miranda and Winfield in close proximity together. They go from annoying the heck out of each other to becoming friends to becoming much more.
There are issues, however that the two must work through. Winfield knows some of Miranda’s secrets and he wants Miranda to trust him enough to tell him what they are – even though he already knows. Just like a man! lol Miranda plans on telling Win everything but hasn’t found the right time. In the meantime his family and her family are hard at work trying to put the two of them together and it makes for some interesting conversations.
I think what I liked most about this book was that it focused on the romance and the issues between the two people. Issues that “normal” (rather than fictional) people would have – trust, honesty, secrets, annoyances – there wasn’t any kidnapping or getting hurt or the like to make the other suddenly know that they loved the other. It was all the struggle between the two and I really enjoyed that. The couple knew how to banter with the best of them and while at times it was a bit much for the most part I really liked Win and Miranda’s conversation. When they finally decided that they were going to move from friends to…more (whatever that ended up being) it was wonderful. They actually talked about it and decided yes, that’s what they wanted to do. There was no moving forward and hoping the other was on the same page. Here it is:
He huffed and got out of the cab, then turned to her. “I shall see you in a few minutes then.”
“I shall linger in the entry and arrange an accidental meeting. And thank you for keeping my confidence.”
“Of course.” He nodded. “But I must confess, I thought what you wished to keep from your family was, well, us.”
“I didn’t know there was an us.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Yes.” She sighed. “I did.”
“Perhaps it’s time we did something about that.”
“Possibly decide what exactly ‘us’ entails?”
“Possibly.” She paused. “You do realize, once we speak aloud of this, of us, there can be no going back.”
He nodded. “No one is more aware of that than I am.”
“We stand to risk what we have. And I must confess, I value the time we spend together and the friendship we have forged.”
“As do I, but it’s not enough, is it?
She stared at him. “No, it isn’t.”
“We can’t continue on this way. Or rather I don’t wish to.
I would hope that you don’t wish to either.” His voice softened. “I want more. Do you?”
She nodded slowly. “Yes, I do.”
Oh, so good! I love that they’re up front with each other in this instance.
Anyway, there is a bit of a dust up when Win wants to take the relationship further and Miranda has some views about that that Win doesn’t really agree with. Then there’re issues with Miranda’s firm and a silent partner and such that while interesting was a bit unnecessary, imho. I think it took too much of the focus away from Win and Miranda and I didn’t care for that.
In the end I thought it was a really good story and well worth the read. I hope there will be more books in this series and look forward to reading them if there are.
Rating: 4 out of 5