The Husband Campaign (Love Inspired Historical Series)

The Husband Campaign (Love Inspired Historical Series)

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by Regina Scott
     
 

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A Marriage of Necessity

The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal—and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents' ire—he must propose. John's ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want—

Overview

A Marriage of Necessity

The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal—and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents' ire—he must propose. John's ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want—except affection.

Amelia sees John's true nature shine through when he cares for his horses. But the brooding aristocrat seems determined to keep her at arm's length. Little by little Amelia will turn Hollyoak Farm into a home, but can she turn a marriage of convenience into a joyful union?

The Master Matchmakers: Wedding bells will ring when downstairs servants play Cupid for upstairs aristocracy

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
04/15/2014
Sick of the London social scene and badly betrayed two years earlier by people he once loved, horse breeder John, Lord Hascot, now lives a solitary life at Hollyoak Farm, with no plans to wed. He finds Lady Amelia Jacoby asleep in an old, derelict stable, and when a storm keeps them there until morning, marriage is their only option. Although their single common interest is their love of horses, they both want to make the marriage work—if they can keep outside interferences and selfish schemes from getting in the way. VERDICT A heroine determined to be a good wife, a hero who must learn to trust again, and a marvelous supporting cast (an outspoken, meddling maid and a malicious, widowed sister-in-law are especially well drawn) make this romantic tale a delightful diversion that should please inspirational fans and Regency purists alike. Scott (The Wife Campaign) lives in Kennewick, WA.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373282586
Publisher:
Love Inspired
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Series:
Love Inspired Historical Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Hollyoak Farm, Peak District, Derbyshire, England

July 1815

Why was the most beautiful woman of his acquaintance sleeping in his stable?

John, Lord Hascot, pushed a lock of rain-slicked dark hair out of his eyes and raised his lantern to peer more closely through the shadows. He hadn't visited the crumbling, thatched-roof outbuilding near the River Bell since he'd first purchased the Derbyshire property five years ago. He and his horse Magnum wouldn't be out this direction now if his horse Contessa hadn't gone missing. Only a chance late-afternoon thunderstorm had driven him to seek shelter.

He hadn't expected to find the place inhabited, and by Lady Amelia Jacoby, daughter of the Marquess of Wesworth, no less. Even if he hadn't recognized the plum-colored riding habit of fine wool, he would have known those elegant features, that pale blond hair. In the light from the lantern, he could see golden lashes fanning her pearly cheeks.

He'd never mastered the rules of London Society, but he was fairly certain they didn't cover how to properly react to a lady found sleeping in the straw. Some might expect him to take Magnum out in the rain from the opposite stall where he'd made his horse comfortable and leave her to her peace. He rejected the idea. For one, he refused to mistreat Magnum. For another, how could he call himself a man and abandon a defenseless woman in a storm?

John snorted. What, was he being chivalrous? He'd thought that habit long broken. He ought to wake her, order her to take her troubles elsewhere. Lady Amelia's concerns were none of his affair.

The storm made the decision for him. Thunder rolled, shaking the stable. With a squeal of fear, a white-coated mare threw up her head from the next stall. With a cry, Lady Amelia jerked upright. It was either comfort her or her horse.

He had more faith in his ability to comfort the horse.

As she climbed to her feet, he handed her the lantern, then turned to the other stall before she could question him.

"Easy," he murmured, moving slowly toward the mare. He kept his muscles loose and his face composed.

Out of the corners of his eyes, he saw Lady Amelia staring at him. He didn't dare take his gaze off the mare. He stroked her withers, murmured assurances in her ears. He could feel the horse relaxing, settling back into the stall.

Turning, he found Lady Amelia's pretty mouth hanging open. Very likely no one had ever favored her horse over her.

Then her eyes widened in recognition. "Lord Has-cot?"

John inclined his head. "Lady Amelia."

Lightening flashed, and she glanced up with a gasp. John came around the wall before thinking better of it.

"Easy," he said, putting a hand on her arm and taking the lantern back from her before she dropped it in the dry straw. "It's just a storm."

She nodded, drawing in a longer breath this time as if trying to settle herself, as well. Odd. He could feel the dampness in the wool of her habit, yet the mare had been dry, and now he noticed a sidesaddle slung over the low wall separating the stalls. Had she seen to her horse's comfort before her own?

"Forgive me," she said. "I shouldn't be so timid. I simply wasn't expecting such a storm. Will it pass soon, do you think?"

The quick recitation sounded breathless. He couldn't blame her if she was nervous. Very likely he wasn't the most comforting sight to a well-bred young lady. He didn't bother with navy coats and cream trousers when working. His tan greatcoat covered a rough tweed jacket and chamois breeches that were more practical for a horse farm. And he'd been told more than once that his black hair and angular features could be intimidating. Particularly when he scowled.

He could feel himself scowling.

"Summer rains generally pass quickly in the peaks," he told her. "Best to wait it out."

She nodded, then hurried to the other stall. "Did you hear that, Belle?" she murmured, stroking the mare's mane. "We'll just wait a moment, and then we'll be able to go back to Lord Danning's. There's my sweet girl."

She talked to her horse as if the mare was a person. She might be the only one besides him who treated a horse like a friend, but that didn't mean she wasn't the typical Society miss, self-absorbed, fixed on marrying the finest. She would have no use for a country baron, which was all for the best.

"Why are you here, Lady Amelia?" he asked, locating a nail in the beam above his head and hanging the lantern from it.

Her hand fell away from Belle, but she didn't look at him. "I was caught in the rain and sought shelter."

In an old building that contained only straw left over from the last cutting? And she stated the fact carefully, as if unwilling to offer more information. Yet he wanted more. He wanted to understand her as he understood his horses. "Where is your groom?"

She met his gaze, arching delicate brows more golden than the hair gathered in a bun behind her head. "I haven't needed a groom when riding since I was five, sir."

Neither had he. Yet the rules were different for women. That much he knew. "Even so far from Lord Danning's lodge?" he argued. "He's still hosting that house party, isn't he?"

"Yes," she said, so faintly he had to move closer to be certain. "Yes," she repeated with more conviction, as if to forestall other questions. "We visited your farm early in the stay, so I expect the party to last another week."

He could not help remembering that visit. He didn't care for people who came to visit his farm merely to ogle the horses, with no true concern for the animals' well-being. That sort of visitor reminded him of the shallow Society he had left behind when he'd exiled himself to Hollyoak Farm two years ago. Then he'd wanted only to escape, away from the woman he'd loved, away from the brother who'd betrayed him. But he'd known Whitfield Calder, Earl of Danning, since they'd been boys together at Eton. Calder understood the value of a good horse, and something about his friend's note requesting a visit had hinted of despair. John knew something of despair. He could not be the agent to visit it upon another, nor would he walk away without attempting to resolve it. So he'd agreed to the visit, and five women and four men had descended upon him, expecting entertainment. He was never entertaining.

His guests, to his surprise, had been. Over the years, he'd learned to watch people, to know what he might expect from them, to be prepared to respond. A man who insisted on riding with spurs was often a man who mistreated his horses. There was never enough gold for John to sell to him. And a lady who fluttered her lashes and smiled behind her fan was to be avoided at all costs. She was too much like the woman who'd preferred his brother to him.

Lord Danning's lady visitors were not like that. Two were older wives, one with a doting husband in tow. The other three were clearly eligible misses, and unless he was off his game, their quarry was the earl himself. Indeed, Danning seemed to have his hands full with an outspoken redhead.

And choosing the redhead, John had thought at the time, was a mistake. He knew bloodlines-strength in the limbs and a loyal heart-would tell in a person's behavior, and it was clear to him which lady had those traits in abundance.

Lady Amelia Jacoby.

She'd been so far above the others that John could only wonder why she was even part of the group. He wondered the same thing now. Had she set her heart on marrying Danning and been so crushed when he preferred another that she'd run away? The drops he saw glistening on her cheeks now that he was closer could as easily be from tears as rain. Why else would a woman who had everything-family, wealth, beauty- cry herself to sleep?

"Has Lord Danning made his decision, then?" John asked.

She drew herself up. "I am no gossip, sir. You would have to ask the earl that question."

She might not be a gossip, but she had answered the question. The stiffness in her shoulders said Danning had chosen a bride, and it wasn't her. Why should that fact please him?

Thunder rumbled again, drawing nearer. She set about soothing Belle once more. John glanced at the big stallion across the way, and Magnum raised his head as if with pride. He trusted John to care for him, whatever happened. And John would never let him down.

At the moment, however, he could do nothing more for the horse. John knew Magnum had eaten plenty earlier that day, for rich pastures surrounded the farm. As soon as the rain let up, John could send Lady Amelia on her way and take Magnum back to the main stables and bed. With any luck, the others would have found Contessa by now. He had never met a horse who knew more ways to escape a fenced pasture, or one more determined to do so. Normally his men kept an eye on her, but a new groom had been preoccupied with learning his duties, and the mare had slipped away.

Now lightning set shadows in sharp relief, and he saw Lady Amelia shudder. "You would be wise to sit down," he advised.

She glanced about as if trying to determine where. What, did she think stables came with gilded chairs or cushioned benches? To John's mind the most likely spot to sit was on an old grain bin along the back wall. She must have reached the same conclusion, for she went to settle her skirts about her on the bin as if ready to pour tea.

"Won't you join me, my lord?" she asked, patting the other side of the wooden slats.

She was only being polite. He could not conceive that she would truly wish his company. But he moved closer and convinced himself to sit beside her. Through the musty scent of earth and straw came the incongruous perfume of orange blossoms. Was that the scent of her hair? Surely it was poor manners to bury his nose in the silky-looking tresses as if they were a feed sack. Yet some part of him was tempted to do just that.

"I didn't realize this was your property," she said by way of conversation. "How far do your holdings stretch?"

It was an expected topic, and a gentleman was supposed to prose on at great length, he was certain. He didn't prose. "Far enough to provide food and a good run," he replied.

"I'm sure that must be very gratifying for your horses," she said. "What brought you out in the storm, my lord?"

Thunder boomed, and she shuddered again. In fact, he could feel her least movement, the moment she yawned behind her hand, the shiver that went through her. Was she cold? Hungry?

Whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me.

The remembered verse demanded his attention. But he couldn't believe the Lord would answer a prayer half formed. He hadn't answered any of John's prayers since before his brother had died.

Still, John pulled his greatcoat from his shoulders and draped it around her.

"Oh, Lord Hascot, I couldn't," she protested.

"Take it," John insisted. "I must see to my horse."

He slid off the box and started forward, but he couldn't help glancing back at her. Her fingers, as long and elegant as the rest of her, clutched at the wool as she pulled it closer. Her sigh of thanks was as soft as a kitten's.

Something inside him melted.

John lifted his head, turned his back on her and forced himself to march to Magnum's stall. His horse eyed him.

"Don't start," John said. He sank onto the straw and put his back against the stone wall. Drawing up his knees, he crossed his arms over the top of his chamois breeches.

He didn't have to speak with Lady Amelia, tend to her like a nursery maid. He'd play the gentleman and protect her, but nothing more. He'd already had his heart carved from his chest by a beautiful woman who'd claimed allegiance. He wasn't about to offer the knife to another, even the lovely Lady Amelia.

*
• *

Amelia didn't remember falling asleep. Certainly, she knew it her duty to keep Lord Hascot company, though he had abandoned hers. She tossed out a few polite questions, all of which were met with terse responses from the other stall. She might have thought she had offended him, only he'd been as short with everyone else when she'd visited his farm with Lord Danning a few days ago. Apparently Lord Hascot did not like people nearly as much as he liked his horses.

But one moment she'd been yawning on the grain bin, and the next she was waking up on a bed of straw. She frowned at the change and couldn't help wondering how she'd reached this spot.

Then the day's events rushed back at her. She'd been at Fern Lodge keeping Mr. Calder busy so her new friend Henrietta Stokely-Trent could chaperone her other new friend Ruby Hollingsford on an outing with their host, Lord Danning. She thought she'd done rather well to follow Mr. Calder's instructions and affix a creature of feather and horsehair he called a fly onto a brass hook and toss it into the river by way of a long, jointed pole. But Mr. Calder had forsaken his fishing lesson to search for Henrietta, and Amelia had been disappointed with herself for failing to keep him occupied and away from the courting couple.

Her disappointment was nothing to how her mother had reacted.

"And why are you keeping company with Mr. Calder in any regard?" she'd demanded after she'd found Amelia changing into her riding habit with the idea of going after the group. "He is the son of a second son, a nobody. We came here for Danning."

Her mother had come for Danning. Lady Wesworth had decided the wealthy earl held promise for her daughter. Amelia had had hopes Lord Danning might have the makings of a good husband. He was kind, considerate and affable, everything her father was not. It had been rather exciting to be one of three women invited to a house party to determine which was best suited to be his bride. But it was quickly evident that he favored Ruby Hollingsford, and why not? Ruby was outspoken, fearless, bold.

Everything Amelia was not.

But some of Ruby's boldness must have rubbed off, for Amelia had answered her mother, "I do not intend to marry Lord Danning. If I marry, I will marry for love."

Her mother had puffed up like a thundercloud gathering. It was truly a fearsome sight, and one Amelia had witnessed only a few times in her life and never with good results.

"Your father will have something to say about that," her mother had threatened.

The subsequent argument had so overset Amelia that she'd run for the stable at Fern Lodge, called for Belle and ridden as far and as fast as she could, seeking only escape.

Escape from a mother who could not understand.

Escape from a father who could not care.

Escape from expectations she could not meet.

Only when she'd felt the rain cooling her tears had she sought shelter, which was where Lord Hascot had found her.

She sat up, and his greatcoat slid down her form. "Lord Hascot?" she asked, climbing to her feet and tucking her riding train up over one arm.

Meet the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published in 1998, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She and her husband of over 25 years reside in southeast Washington State.

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The Husband Campaign 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Read!
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS This is book 3 in the series. I have read the first book also and liked both books. It is a clean read. Historical romance, even a Christian book. It has plenty of drama, likeable characters, horses. The plot John finds Lady Amelia asleep in his barn waiting out a rainstorm. Since they were alone for a time her family demands they marry. Before they are comfortable in their marriage they end up with guests who want some things from them. The story keeps your interest. You care about John and Amelia and want them to be happy. You also wonder at what the others want besides making trouble for them. Lady Amelia is not close to her family and she wants to marry for love but her father wants her to marry for his benefit and not what is best for her. Lord Hascot raises horses and he refuses to sell a horse if he does not trust them to take care of them. He also refuses to sale them to military. The pace is slow building up to the story. Letting us get to know the characters and life in the England. The setting is England countryside of Dovecote Dale 1815. This is a fast read that leaves you with a smile. I was given this ebook to read and in exchange asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley and Harlequin. publication: April 1st 2014 by Harlequin Love Inspired Historical 288 pages ISBN:0373282583
GHott More than 1 year ago
Hott Synopsis:     Lady Amelia Jacoby is tired of feeling trapped. So it shocks no one more than her that after a thrill at finally being free from her parents ill-advised attempts at finding her a husband that she finds herself ruined and married. Amelia can’t figure out why God would put someone on earth as unlovable as she; yet, she must be as no one, not even her parents, has ever loved her. Is her ruination something He designed or just stupidity on her part. Amelia can’t seem to make up her mind – especially when her new “family” drops in for a visit. Hott Review: Adorable! I really enjoyed this finale to The Master Matchmakers Series. It was really a lot of fun and quite realistic. It drew me right in and wouldn’t let me go until we had to part. More… Author: Regina Scott Source: Regina Scott Grade: A Ages: 14+ Steam: YA Series: The Master Matchmakers #3
weatherlover1 More than 1 year ago
Highly Recommend!  Amelia was running from a fight with her mother and ended up in the stable of John’s farm. He finds her and she spends the night sleeping in the stable with him keeping watch. The only way that Amelia’s reputation will remain intact is for John to propose. At first Amelia thinks she finds a way to avoid marring John but her parents get their way and she is soon wed to a man who does not love her. She hopes to run his house and with time win his heart.      This is the third and last book in this series. I very much enjoyed this book. What I liked: Amelia so wanted her father to love her. Yet he marries her off for his own gain. Even though her situation is frustrating she remains positive and works to get to know her husband and make her marriage work. John see’s through her father’s antics and wants to do right by Amelia but he struggles with his past. He has closed off his heart due to another woman’s rejection. I thought both main characters did a good job of working through their trials. What I did not like: This book was very well written and nothing really bothered me in this book.      Overall this was a good book. There was some suspense in this book though a little predictable. I also liked how the horses were written about in this book. Made for some funny moments. This book can be read as a stand alone but I highly recommend going back and reading the series from the beginning.
Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“The Husband Campaign” by Regina Scott is the third and final book in her 'The Master Matchmakers' series and frankly I think I am going to miss the little matchmakers personally. This was a wonderful book to finish off the series, but it is also a great stand alone book should the prior books not been read. Here is a story that brings two hurt souls together to somehow heal them and make something so beautiful. Things in this era of course can make things so complicated all for the sense of reputation and this story shows how those complications have effects when two people are forced into a marriage that neither wants all because they got caught in the same shelter from the raging storm outside. This shows how with a little work, prayer, and trying to figure things out, that things can go from uncomfortable to friendship to something so much more. Things are not easy in this book with a nosy busybody who just loves to gossip, trouble comes calling with some huge troublemakers, and a villain who should be ashamed of themselves frankly. I have to say though that the troublemakers who were intent on causing problems only managed to do just the opposite for they help bring things to light in the story. I loved the determination of the hero and heroine, especially the heroine. This story is full of movement for the story is constantly moving forward, for I sure didn't feel as if there was any lagging parts. With both John and Amelia their story is constantly moving forward with a few steps backwards in the process. Their back-stories are revealed which makes the reader understand a lot more about why they are the way they are. I loved watching the healing that took place in the manner that it took place for it was not done in a matter of a few paragraphs or even a few pages, but through the whole book. I hope that all who read this book enjoys it as much as I did.
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
The Master Matchmaker series combines elements of the Regency era and a lovely setting in England's Peak District with the delightful premise of servants doing all they can to see the bachelors they work for happily married. Regina does a great job, not only with historical detail and setting, but characterization and plot as well. Each story can technically stand alone, as previous characters are only mentioned, but reading the stories in order gives a much richer reading experience. The whole series is very enjoyable, but The Husband Campaign just might be my favorite because I liked the characters of John and Amelia so much.  John is seemingly shy and has reacted to past hurt by withdrawing emotionally, putting his attention and affection into raising horses - yet he is tender, caring, and honorable. While I've never been around horses, I can understand John's feelings for these beautiful creatures, for "no horse had ever spurned his friendship, lied to his face or stabbed him in the back." Anyone who loves animals will connect with John's refusal to sell his foals to people he feels will not treat them with respect. Amelia is a sweet, yet determined young lady - hurt by parents who desire that she marry a wealthy, titled gentleman who would bring further acclaim to their family name. "Bringing the appropriate son-in-law into the family is the one consolation for having a daughter," were her father's cruel words. It is so much fun to watch the quiet attraction between John and Amelia grow into something much more.  Regina is quite good at injecting subtle humor, which often kept a smile on my face as I read - for instance, Amelia's initial thought about John:  "Apparently Lord Hascot did not like people nearly as much as he liked his horses." And there were tender scenes as well, one of my favorites being when Amelia sings to calm an injured horse.   It was evident that both John and Amelia had a strong faith and that prayer came naturally, which is something I always like to see. Also touching was the way they completely accepted each other as they were, which should speak to all of us. Love Inspired Historicals are enjoyable, feel-good reads, and I've always thought that Regina's writing stands out in this line. I recommend The Husband Campaign, as well as the whole series, to those who enjoy inspirational romance. 5-star rating in comparison to others in the Love Inspired line. Thank you to Regina Scott for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
The Husband Campaign by Regina Scott The Master Matchmakers Book 3 John, Lord Hascot has only one love in his heart, his horses. He was fooled and his heart broken several years ago and he won't allow it to happen again, ever. And he won't be forced to marry. Or will he? Lady Amelia Jacoby didn't know love. Her parents had nothing to spare for her as they held themselves in such high regards. She wasn't the son her father wanted, so that left finding the perfect son-in-law to pawn her off on. And even though Lord Hascot may not have a high standing in the ton, his horses do. And one does not fight and win against her father's decisions. Amelia hoped to marry for love, it was not to be. One slight mishap and she finds herself married to a man who has no love to give. She's a fighter though and goes on a campaign to win her husband. When a gossipy neighbor puts doubts into her mind and unexpected visitors show up, it seems that her marriage may truly be doomed. With prayer and faith in God, these two can only hope that He will bring them into a happy ending. Be sure to read what the mischievous matchmakers were up to in book one, The Courting Campaign and book two, The Wife Campaign. Wonderful series. **Received through NetGalley for review
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
The Husband Campaign is the third and final book in The Master Matchmakers series. I have read all of the books in the series, so it was especially fun to read John and Amelia’s tale. However, this book can definitely stand alone and there will be no confusion if you have not read the first two books in the series. This is a marriage of convenience story, which is one of the plots I really enjoy. I think the author did a wonderful job, especially in letting us feel Amelia’s emotions in this book. We get to see that she really has a sweet nature, and has only ever truly desired to be loved for the person she is. Amelia never truly received the love she needed from her parents. We feel her emotional highs and lows as she tries to break through to a husband who does not show emotion well. I thought that the characters both exhibit much growth throughout the book. As the story progressed, they both learned more about themselves, each other, and their eyes were opened to God’s design for their lives in the end. I received a complimentary copy of The Husband Campaign in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Barb00 More than 1 year ago
The Husband Campaign is one of my favorite books being the storyline is about a marriage of necessity. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book with each chapter getting better and totally holding my attention. Each character had their own unusual personality and the author was able to bring humor and mystery into this novel. It's a fascinating book showing some people may never change their life, but we can change ours. The Husband Campaign by Regina Scott is a well-written book that I highly recommend to read. I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for my honest review. This review is one hundred percent my opinion.