Self-made shipping magnate Joseph Chance never planned on falling in love. He simply needed financing for a new business venture and a marriage of convenience provides it. Then he meets Tessa St. Croix, his future bride, and is instantly smitten. But when the angelic beauty reveals a life-changing secret on their wedding night, Joseph thinks maybe some dreams shouldn’t come true. He leaves England, reconciling himself to a detached, convenient marriage after all.
Eleven months later, Tessa Chance has built a new life for herself in the heart of London. She’s learned her new husband's business and is determined to support herself and her responsibilities. When Joseph returns to London unexpectedly, nothing is as he imagined. His estranged wife has become the one person who can help him secure his company’s future, and her allure can tempt him still. Determined and hopeful, Tessa jumps at the chance to prove herself and justify the secret that tore them apart.
Although bruised pride and broken hearts lie between them, Joseph and Tessa realize the love they once felt has never truly left. If they can learn to forgive each other, they’ll soon discover the truest love can heal all wounds.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties.
She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area. Visit Charis at www.CharisMichaels.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Taking an unconventional bride, one of the group of three young women who advertised for husbands in return for a healthy dowry and transport to London, there to be left alone to make their own lives unencumbered by singledom, children or a husband, this is Tessa’s story. Unlike her friends, Tessa’s life has been a relatively carefree journey, schooled to present a pretty face and be ‘tempting’ to whichever highly titled man should offer for her: one would not be wrong in assuming that she is flighty, superficial and a bit of a tease. But, when a flirtation turns to an attack, and Tessa finds herself pregnant, unwed and knowing she’ll be disowned and turned out, the advertisement brings her an option. Joseph Chance, pseudo-son to an earl with a head for business, a solid partnership built to import guano as fertilizer, handsome, educated and instantly smitten with Tessa’s laugh, beauty and seemingly open nature, he asks for her hand unaware of her history. A wedding night where the lies of omission and determination to fly down the aisle have finally taken a toll, Tessa comes clean and tells Joseph of the pregnancy. Instantly he’s angered by her lack of honesty, and more questions aren’t asked. He doesn’t know that she was attacked, he believes every shining moment of her personality was a ‘construct’, meant only to give her child a name. As per their agreement, for Joseph is nothing if a gentleman to his very toes, she’s deposited in London at the Belgravia townhome belonging to the Aunt and Uncle of her friend Willa, Tessa must reconcile the trauma of her pregnancy, the anger from her husband, and the shattering of her hopes for the future. Internalizing the trauma and blaming herself and her flirtatious behavior as the reason she was attacked, and part of the reason that although the agreement of her marriage meant they were to go their separate ways, Joseph’s utter silence. She and her friends get information on pregnancy, delivery and child-rearing, and are doing a marvelous job. But, Tessa also knows that her father, the one who has now disowned her, could provide giant obstacles to Joseph and his partners’ ability to dock and offload their cargo – so she teaches herself, with plenty of trips, questions, notes and hours, how to find new docking space, a crew to offload, warehousing, tariffs and even transportation to customers – all being ready when, earlier than expected, Joseph is back with the ship and cargo. What a clever switch and pairing here – to take Tessa – to the manor born, and Joseph, son of a domestic but hard work and loyal service rewarded with education, friendship and a position of family in an earl’s household, similar to one of the earl’s sons, they are both people with expectations that don’t match what they actually can do or be. Tessa was quick, clever, smart and determined – and all of that helped to make her ‘famous’ as a great eligible in society and at her home in Suffolk. But, that sort of constant effort needed to delight and charm takes intelligence, and she quickly parlayed her intelligence into a way to make a living for her and the child. Joseph, from his upbringing could aspire to valet, but his loyalty, intelligence, quick wit and determination all brought him wealth, and the importing scheme that he and his friends have devised will bring much more. He’s spent months holding a grudge against Tessa for her ‘deception’, but the key here is he cares. Cares for her beyond any reasonable