Married in Haste

Married in Haste

3.9 415
by Cathy Maxwell

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New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s classic romance Married in Haste is a fan-favorite marriage-of-convenience tale that resonates with unforgettable passion and love.
Brenn Owens, The Earl of Merton, has come to London to choose a bride. A sexy war hero, he has his pick of the season’s debutantes, and once


New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s classic romance Married in Haste is a fan-favorite marriage-of-convenience tale that resonates with unforgettable passion and love.
Brenn Owens, The Earl of Merton, has come to London to choose a bride. A sexy war hero, he has his pick of the season’s debutantes, and once he spies beautiful Tess Hamilton no other will do.
But Tess has a dark secret she’s desperate to hide—she has no choice but to marry quickly before her family’s ruin becomes grist for the gossip mill. She accepts Brenn’s sudden proposal without telling him the truth, but can she really marry him without feeling she’s betrayed him—especially when he offers ecstasy beyond her wildest dreams? And will he see her subterfuge as a lie?
Cathy Maxwell’s Married in Haste is a historical romance to fall in love with.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Marriage , #1
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

London, I814

Tess Hamlin slammed open the door to the ladies' retiring room. "Where is Leah Carrollton?"

The chatter of a half dozen young women dressed in their ball gowns of silks and Indian muslins came to an abrupt halt. The close air smelled of perfume, powder, and candle wax. All eyes turned to the doorway.

Tess smiled, pleased that she had their attention. She walked into the room.

Eyes widened and several pairs of lips formed silent O's but no one answered.

Anne Burnett, Tess's very best friend, gently touched Tess's arm, trying to pull her back. "Please, Tess. This isn't the time or the place. I shouldn't have said anything. Let us go back to the ballroom."

Tess shook Anne's hand away. "I am not going to let her get away with it. Not this time."

She confronted the young women. Many were new to this Season and, since Leah was one of them, her supporters. One or two others there had weathered previous Seasons—although none, not even Anne, had seen as many as Tess.

Not that Tess couldn't have contracted for a husband any number of times over the last several years. Occasionally, a lord or two had made her pause and consider her obligations to marry, but she'd held off. She was an heiress and, without being vain about her looks, she knew men found her attractive. Why else would they have dubbed her "the Incomparable"?

But she wasn't ready to settle down. She enjoyed the stirring of male appreciation when she entered a room. It gave her a feeling of power, a power she'd lose once she was married. Yes, some women claimed marriage gave them new freedom, but Tessdidn't agree. She'd watched too many women grow disillusioned and bored after the heady thrill of the wedding. Their lives were over. Even her brother Neil and his wife Stella went their separate ways.

To her, freedom had to mean something more than the liberty to come and go as she pleased without a chaperone or the opportunity to take on lovers once an heir was born. But she didn't know what the extra "something" was. Life should hold more than socializing and gossip, but what else was there? Until she knew the answer, she wasn't going to trap herself into marriage.

She brought herself back to the moment. The silly girls practically shook in their kid slippers at the thought of incurring her displeasure. She honed in on a tall blonde, Daphne, the oldest daughter of a duke.

"Daphne, do you know where Leah is?"

"N-no, I don't," Daphne squeaked out.Anne shut the door behind her. "Tess, stop this. You are giving the poor girl a fright."

Good, sweet Anne. "If I don't crack the whip every once in a while then we'd all be run over by the likes of a Leah Carrollton."

"Did someone mention my name?" A young woman stepped out from behind a japanned privacy screen. She was a bold, voluptuous beauty with just the right touch of pout to her lower lip to make men dance in constant attendance.

Since the beginning of this year's Season, Tess and Leah had been cast in the roles of competitors, at first more for the contrast in their looks than any real disharmony between them. Tess was a proud red head who stood equal in height to most men. Poems had been written comparing her eyes to the light sparkling off the blue waters of the Mediterranean or the stained glass in Salisbury Cathedral.

Petite Leah's exotic dark eyes and coal-black hair seemed to have the power to mesmerize men. Even the Prince of Wales had succumbed to her charm.

In between these two rivals stood Anne with her soft, curling brown hair, heart-shaped face, and trusting eyes. Tess didn't understand why everyone didn't see what a noble, wonderful person Anne was. Anne preferred staying in the background and easily forgave slights from others. Why, she was so kind, she'd even forgiven that odious gossip Deland Godwin. Years ago when she was first presented to Society, he'd branded her a "toad eater," the term used to describe a woman without any means of support other than reliance upon the whims and goodwill of her relatives.

Well, she'd not be ill-treated this time. She had Tess to champion her.

Leah made her way to a washstand to wash her hands. Her gaze met Tess's in the large mirror hanging on the wall. "Did you wish something, Miss Hamlin?"

"It's nothing—" Anne started but Tess cut her off.

"You know what you've done. The question is, do you dare own up to it in front of the others?"

Leah accepted a linen towel from the maid as she drawled lazily, "I haven't any idea what you are talking about." She moved away from the mirror toward the door. "Now, if you will excuse me, I am promised for the next dance."

Tess stepped right in her path. "Mr. Hardiston." All her anger could be summed up in that one name.

Leah stopped. Her lips curved into a smile. "Archie?"

Tess almost growled with anger. "You know he was Anne's."

"I know no such thing. Had he made an offer?" Leah looked to Anne, whose face had gone pale.

Her expression gave Tess a stab of guilt but she forged ahead, speaking for Anne. "He was going to."

"But he hadn't, had he?" Leah said.

"His mother had talked to Anne's aunt."

"But he had yet to speak his thoughts," Leah reiterated, raising her voice so that all in the room could be privy to what was being said. "Had he?" she asked Anne directly.

Meet the Author

Cathy Maxwell spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. She lives in beautiful Virginia with children, horses, dogs, and cats.

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Married in Haste 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 415 reviews.
ZebraNookReader More than 1 year ago
Fabulous!! This whole series is marvelous. Each had is own story but yet they were linked in a subtle way. Tess, Leah, and Anne each provide a their own meaning of womanhood as they shed their girlish innocent. The story line surrounding each woman and her man is genius and artfully done.
Susan_in_AZ More than 1 year ago
So worth it! Cathy Maxwell has taken a Victorian-era premise and turned it inside out to explore the ramifications. To whit: Lady Tess is an overeducated "ape leader"; a determined spinster who thinks she can live forever with her brother. Meanwhile, the brother and his wife want Tess OUT OF THE HOUSE, ALREADY! Lord Brenn Owen, a war hero with a limp, some PTSD, and a new-to-him estate and no money needs a rich wife. On a whim, he proposes to Lady Tess. Her brother insists she accept. Is that it? Not by a long shot. We get a conniving brother, a spoiled sister-in-law who spends more money than the Queen, a "lost" fortune, and a bumpy path for Brenn and Tess to their respective HEAs. This was lots of fun for me to read, you will probably like it as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These are BOOK reviews. Not a chat room. I only found two of these reviews helpful. Reporting all of you. On the other hand, I love these kind of books nd what I've read so far seems pleasing. Excited to read the rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do authors think they need to throw in "steamy sex" to sell a book? If it can't stand on its own, I have to rethink whether this is a good author, or whether there are just a lot of people who are reading the book only for the sex scenes (which again, doesn't make it a good book).....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want a quick read, this isn't bad. There isn't much depth or history to it. The few romance scenes are pretty explicit. But it's sweet romance that I tread in a few hours.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sweet love story, a little too steamy in places and predictable. Not bad but not memorable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very captivating book with unexpected twists. Romance and passion throughout. Hope you enjoy it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The charaters were lively and spirited. If you like to read a good historical romance for a week-end read add this to your must read list!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read for a relaxing afternoon or two
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story! I stayed up past 1:00 am to finish it! Can' t wait for her next story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I usually don't care for the Free Friday books, today's choice was a wonderful surprise! I was so eager for a happy resolution that I read it all in one sitting. A very pleasant surprise and a new author to add to my "to read" list!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Basrd on false values of Regency ers. This enjoyable proves Shakespeares claim:all is well that ends well.
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You people should just read this novel yourselves and write your own review on this novel. I really enjoyed reading this novel very much. ShelleyMA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For some reason id started the book, put it down, and weeks later just finished it. Still loved it.
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