Philip – Lord Rawlings – is a duke in need of money. When his father died, there was a stipulation in the will that he had to marry before turning 30 in order to receive his inheritance. Abigail (Abby) is the younger sister of Emma from the book Seduction of Sebastian. You have to read that book to understand the animosity on the part of Abby towards her sister.
Emma and Sebastian are hosting Abby for her season. Abby has set her sights on Phillip, but he is trying to dissuade her of that notice. He does not think he is good enough for her.
At the same time, Emma and Sebastian are trying to help Phillip get married. They feel indebted to him because he helped them get together. Among the ton, Phillip is known as a rake and reprobate. Polite society refuses to associate with him. Since Sebastian is known as the “Angel Duke” beyond reproach, Emma hopes their association can help change his image so that he can marry.
Abby did seem to be immature in the way she tried to manipulate the situation, but she had good intentions. Phillip thought he had nothing to live for, but was trying to fight giving the ton any other reasons to vilify him. Sebastian and Emma proved to be great supporting characters and the kind friends that Philip needs to help him come around. Once he accepts the fact that he is in love, it is easier to embrace Abby’s love for him.
In the prologue, Emma is almost the victim of a sexual assault. That changes her from a fun loving adventurous young girl to a jaded and somewhat bitter person. With some reluctance years later, her parents allow her to have a season in order to find a husband.
Sebastian, also known as “Angel Duke” since his reputation as a buffer proof, is looking for wife. He needs to choose but he is bored with his choices of immature debutantes. He meets and is drawn to Emma. She acknowledges the attraction but does not even feel she is a worthy contender for marriage considering her perceived sordid past. He is a duke that is above reproach and she is supposedly “tainted”.
Side note: it is sad to me that when a woman is a victim of a sexual assault, people still judge her as if she caused it to happen. No woman asks for it. As in Emma’s case, it is usually a mentally twisted man whose desires motivate him to take by force what is not belong to him.
Back to the story…
Emma and Sebastian have a similar goal: get married. They agreed to help each other find spouses. This was funny to me since it is obvious that they want each other. There was plenty of back and forth funny banter between the two of them. I was laughing out loud at Emma’s so-called efforts to try to seduce Sebastian. She was such an innocent that it was cute.
In the end, Sebastian and Emma confront their respective demons and are able to resolve the issues holding them back from acknowledging their love for each other. This was a great story!
Anthony and Ambrose are twin brothers that make it their aim to decide at the beginning of the Season which young lady will receive their attention. It seems that when they pay attention to a certain lady, the resulting ton spotlight make the ladies more eligible and they usually get married by the end of the Season. To make things interesting and to alleviate the boredom, they make a bet that they can make anyone popular, even wallflower like Cordelia.
Cordelia is currently out of favor with the town since she had to work as an indentured servant to pay off her father’s debts. She does not want to be noticed. Hence: wallflower. She is trying to make herself invisible by hiding behind the foliage.
Funny thing about bets and gossiping members of the town, it is a sure way for the person who would be offended (i.e. Cordelia) to find out. And that is precisely what happened. Somewhere along the way Ambrose finds that he has deeper feelings for her than he thought. But all that trash talking he was doing before he came to that realization threatens to ruin their relationship. This is especially true since Cordelia is still insecure about the fact that he has supposedly fallen for her.
I thought that this was a sweet short story. Variations of this story have been done time and time again: man there to make unpopular girl popular falls for said girl. In this version of the common plotline, the twin brothers’ bet adds some humor to the mix. After the couple fall out with one another, I like how Ambrose made it up to Cordelia. Even though it got a little sappy, it was cute. I was laughing at his antics to win Cordelia back.
But I am surprised that in the end Anthony and Ambrose would make another bet. Really? Did they not learn their lesson from the first bet gone wrong? And why did Cordelia endorse it?