Returning to England after three years abroad, Henry is determined to make the only woman who captured his heart his wife. But the icy reception he receives from Elizabeth is colder than his home in the Scottish highlands. As past hurts surface and deception runs as thick as blood, so too does a love that will overcome all obstacles, unless a nameless foe, determined with his own path, gets his way and their love never sees the light of day...
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Only an Earl Will Do
By Tamara Gill, Alethea Spiridon
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Tamara Gill
All rights reserved.
Three years later — London
In the arms of Lord Dean, the Earl of Thetford, Elizabeth danced a minuet, enjoying his easy style and competent ability. She looked up at his charming gray hooded eyes, straight nose, and strong jaw. A gentleman as alluring as the music was entrancing. Her new green silk gown slid sensually about her body as they moved around the room and between other couples.
The air smelled of blossoms picked from the hothouse and an alarming amount of different perfumes. She chuckled as he murmured sweet words in her ear that were amusing if nothing else. She allowed his banter to a certain point. He was a sweet man.
Sweet on her.
"The season's already halfway gone, Lady Newland. Are you going back to Dunsleigh or your own home in Wiltshire?"
Elizabeth checked her footing. "Dunsleigh, I think. It's where my family wishes me to go. It's been a while since I visited with them there." She looked away from his disappointed face and watched the other couples dance. Dunsleigh was where her heart was and not her married home and certainly not London. As for the man in her arms, he was nice enough, but neither he nor any other fop who considered himself enamored of her could persuade her to stay or marry again.
"Ah, a shame. Perhaps if you would allow it, I could visit when I'm next in Surrey."
She smiled. "Of course, you are always welcome, my lord. I'm sure my brother would be delighted with a visit. As you know, he's been down at Dunsleigh for quite some time learning all there is about the estate."
"How is your father? I had meant to inquire of his wellbeing."
"The duke is well." She smiled. "Much better, thank you. The doctor's stated he has to slow down, that is all. Josh is stepping up to fill the void, as he should. Father would like to see you, too."
"I have been meaning to call ..."
Elizabeth looked up at him as the dance drew to a close and hoped his final quip didn't mean what she thought it did. She hated having to deny one's proposal, but she would should he ask, just as she would any other.
He left her with her younger sister, Victoria and took himself off toward the card room. Victoria raised her brow and smiled as she caught her attention. "Another one fawning at your feet, I see."
Elizabeth fiddled with her hair. "He believes he is 'the one.' He's even hinted at speaking to Papa for my hand. I'll not marry again. Lord Newland was quite enough."
Victoria frowned. "Surely Lord Newland wasn't that bad. He seemed smitten with you."
She nodded, knowing that under the circumstances she'd married, Lord Newland was a very lucky blessing for her. "I used him, and I know he used me just as much, but it still does not make such matches right. He brought up a boy who was not his own, loved him even. I cannot forgive myself for that."
Victoria clasped her hand, compassion in her gaze. Compassion she did not deserve. "I know it must be hard, but should we know the true fathers of half the ton's children, I think it would be an eye-opening experience. Lord Newland was a happy man. You did that, no one else. Do not torture yourself so. You do not deserve it." Her sister gestured across the room and Elizabeth cringed at who she noted. "So you're not going to marry Lord Riddledale, then? His lordship will never recover from such a blow."
Elizabeth hid a repulsed shudder over Lord Riddledale, who stood pompous and proud across the floor, the ever-present scowl on his face no surprise. No doubt her stepping out with another gentleman other than himself had put him out of countenance. She turned back to her sister. "I cannot summon any remorse for annoying Riddledale. As for Lord Dean, I'll be sorry to hurt him, but no, I will not marry him no matter how much his heart breaks over my decision."
"Could your feelings change in time, do you believe?" Victoria asked.
Elizabeth shook her head. "No."
She swallowed the familiar lump which formed in her throat every time she thought of him, the man she refused to name, even in her own thoughts. "I'm not the loving kind. I don't believe it's healthy to rely on such feeble unstable emotions when someone is entering the marriage state. Men and their need to be adored, looked up to in awe, can go hang. Lord Newland's name protects me now. I have no need to marry again."
Victoria threw her a dubious look. "I believe there is nothing purer and good than love, especially if you are fortunate enough to have it in a marriage." Her sister sighed, the sound tinged with sadness. "You promised Papa you would try."
"I am well aware of what I promised Papa, but he did not stipulate marriage is what I should try. I'm friendly and affable. That is enough." Elizabeth clamped her jaw shut. Lashing out further about marriage would not be helpful here, no matter how her temper spiked every time she thought of the Scottish rogue who'd ruined her and left her to face such undoing alone.
Where was Henry when it was time for him to step up and claim responsibility for their actions? New York, that was where, thousands of miles away and with little care he'd left her pregnant while she had to face disgrace, heartache, and a future forever changed because of one careless act.
Tears pricked her eyes at the thought of the life she could have lived, not the one she endured. Her husband had been kind and gentle, but he had not loved her as a husband should love a wife.
"Elizabeth?" Victoria said, nudging her a little. "What are you thinking? I've been talking to you without a word of response."
She shook herself from the depressing thoughts and looked out to the throng of guests, some still arriving and being welcomed by their evening's host. "Nothing of importance. You were saying?"
"Just that our host, Lord McCalter looks mighty pleased with the latest guests who've arrived. The gentlemen are very dashing, I must say."
Elizabeth looked back to the ballroom doors and frowned. She kept her eyes peeled to the group, but the gentlemen turned, placing their backs to the room and obscuring her view.
"It must be because his lordship is Scottish," Victoria said with a decided nod.
Elizabeth's heart sped up and her skin prickled at the mention of Scotland. She sought out the small party again, inwardly cursing herself as a silly fool for doing so. So what if a Scottish man had arrived? So what indeed.
"Why do you believe his lordship is Scottish?" Elizabeth asked at length, curiosity getting the better of her.
"I noticed one of the men had a piece of tartan in his coat pocket. I doubt an Englishman would wear such an article," Victoria stated in all seriousness.
Soon after, Elizabeth and her wayward thoughts were twirled out to dance a quadrille with Lord Stanhope. Then next, a country dance with Lord Riddledale, which annoyed her greatly, as he took the opportunity to berate her over her conduct, which was perfectly proper. She strove not to set his lordship back in his pompous box as he held her stiffly in his arms. Each time she was near the man, her skin wanted to crawl off and run away from the gentleman. Ghastly didn't even come close to how she felt about him.
"There was something in particular I wished to discuss with you, and since I have pointed out my dislike of your conduct this evening, now is the time to talk."
Elizabeth fought not to roll her eyes. Really, the man knew no bounds when it came to decorum. "What is it you wished to discuss?"
He smiled, his crooked, smoke stained teeth making her cringe.
"I have considered our history, the friendship your family has had with my own over the years, and I think you'd make me a suitable wife." He pinned her gaze with his cold eyes. "I wish you to marry me."
It was a statement, not quite a request, and her temper frayed. "You mean to ask if I will marry you."
He glared, the muscle in his jaw clenching in annoyance. "Of course. What do you think I just asked?"
"You stated, not asked." She looked over his shoulder, noting some of the guests' attentions were still fixated toward the door. Pulling out what little manners she had left when it came to Lord Riddledale, she threw him a pitying smile. "I'm honored, tru —"
"At least think about my offer," he said, interrupting her.
She conceded, not wanting to make a scene should he take offense. "Very well. I'll think on your proposal."
He preened like a dandy looking at himself before a mirror as he swept her to a stop, bending to place a light kiss on her glove. He lingered over her hand like a kitten over a bowl of milk. She counted to ten as he took his leave; better that than to slap him with her fan.
"Oh, the insufferable coxcomb. I don't know why our parents keep up an association with that man. And why he would think I would wish to marry him, when I've given him no hint of particular regard, is beyond imagining." Elizabeth glared at his lordship's retreating back.
Victoria sighed. "He hasn't asked you yet," her sister stated, diplomatically.
"He just did. Would you like to congratulate me?" Elizabeth laughed at her sister's mortified visage.
"He did, during the dance. I've agreed to think on his offer, but you know I cannot accept him. There's something about him that I do not like, an inner sense that I've always had around him. He makes me feel uneasy."
"I agree wholeheartedly." Victoria stilled beside her, placing her hand on her arm. "Never mind Lord Riddledale, my dear, you have much bigger and definitely more worrisome problems to deal with."
"What do you mean?" Elizabeth turned to look at Victoria and noted the alarm across her features.
"It looks as if the Scottish guests are headed our way."
"Really?" Elizabeth looked toward the doors, and the secure little world she had built up around herself tumbled down. A chill pooled in her chest, rivaling the cold his presence created around her heart. Then anger fired her blood, replacing the chill with molten lava.
How dare he ...
It took all of Elizabeth's breeding to not flay him alive and leave him alone and defenseless in this viperish society. Her hand fisted at her side. It would at least be a fitting end for him, the same in which he'd left her when he'd not returned after the missive they'd sent him, begging him to do so. And by the looks of his superfine coat — cut to perfection around his shoulders, the highly starched cravat and tight-fitting breeches — he'd found his riches in America, and good for him in doing so, but now he could leave.
Elizabeth glared at the earl and his friends as they made steady progress through the throng, women's gazes devouring the tall, well-proportioned man in their midst. In the three years since she'd seen Henry he'd changed. He was no longer the gangly youth of four and twenty, but a man. A man whose eyes no longer held innocence, but rather learning and life. A life without the burden of sired children out of wedlock. A life where one walked away from such problems without remorse.
With heartbreaking missives where the word "strumpet" was used.
She braced herself for the coming introductions, her attention wholly focused on the couple who accompanied him, the people appearing more autocratic than herself when she decided to play the lofty duke's daughter. And over the last three years, Elizabeth had learned to master such a guise well. Thanks to Henry.
Untouchable was unbreakable.
The Elizabeth of old was no more. He would not get a smiling, happy welcome from her if that was what he expected. The day his letter arrived was the day they no longer were friends. And by his stony features, his hardened jaw that looked like it was cut from rock, Lord Muir wasn't pleased to see her again, either.
Well that was just perfect.
Elizabeth focused her attention on the accompanying man and woman, refusing to look any longer at Henry, although she knew by the pricking of her skin that he was watching her.
The gentleman with him was tall, though perhaps an inch shorter than Henry, his frame more athletic compared to Henry's larger shoulders and muscled thighs. The woman was around Elizabeth's own height, ethereal-looking with her golden blond locks pulled up into tight curls atop her crown. Her eyes were a cold, piercing blue. Elizabeth swallowed as the party came to stand before her and Victoria. She smiled her welcome to Lord McCalter, the mask of detachment firmly set on her features.
She would not acknowledge Henry until she absolutely had to, and even then she would not for long. He deserved no such acknowledgment now or ever.
"Lady Victoria, Lady Newland, may I say how happy I am to reunite you with an old friend, Lord Muir, Earl of Muir and of course, his cousins from America, Mr. Richard and Miss Amelia Andrews of New York."
Elizabeth looked back to Victoria and noted her sister's tight smile as Lord McCalter made the introductions.
"Good evening, Lord Muir, Mr. Andrews, Miss Andrews." Although her sister's addresses were welcoming, the strained edge to them wasn't hard to discern.
Elizabeth cursed her inability to stand true to her word and looked at Henry. She flicked a cursory glance his way and noted his perfectly formed cravat, his jaw still angular with a slight shadow of a beard. How uncouth not to shave before a ball. Her attention snapped to his lips, ones she'd once enjoyed kissing, nibbling when toying with each other, which now were pressed into a hard, thin line.
With his glowering at her, her stomach knotted. She ignored the fluttering in her belly, cursing it to Hades. Never would she allow feelings to blossom with any man again, and especially not this man. Ever.
"Good evening." Henry's deep baritone thrummed through her, rich and fulfilling. Damn him and his voice. He even sounded wiser, primal almost, and she shivered.
"We had not thought to see you again, Lord Muir, but we're always very pleased to make any acquaintance of yours," Victoria said, her smile directed at Mr. Andrews, who blushed under her sister's polite words.
Elizabeth nodded. "Yes, of course." Her own reply dripped with sarcasm, not that she cared. Henry certainly hadn't cared when she needed him, so there was no way she would start to now. "How was your journey over to England? I hear the crossing can be quite treacherous at times."
Mr. Andrews smiled, and the aristocratic mask eased. "It can be, Lady Newland, but our father runs an import export company out of New York and has vessels of the highest standard at our disposal. Our journey over was never a concern. His biggest worry was if his daughter would return to America come the New Year."
Elizabeth met Victoria's gaze and refused to react to the man's implication. What was he trying to say? Was there an understanding between Miss Andrews and someone ... Miss Andrews looked up at Henry, her coquettish gaze saying without words what gentleman she had in mind.
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes.
"Do you wish to make England your home, Miss Andrews?" Victoria asked.
"No, not at all," Miss Andrews replied. "But I wouldn't be against Scotland or Ireland. I find the people in the north more to my taste."
Elizabeth started at the barely masked insult against those who lived south of the Scottish border. Again Miss Andrews fixed her attention on Henry, and the lady's liking of everything north of the border became clear. Elizabeth cleared her throat, taking her sister's arm. "Well, Miss Andrews, perhaps you could join the society in Edinburgh or Dublin, since those are more to your taste. We would not wish to keep you here if it makes you unhappy."
Henry stepped forward and bowed when Miss Andrews didn't reply but merely glared at Elizabeth's remark. She smiled.
"Lady Newland, would ye care to accompany me for the next dance? I believe it's to be a cotillion."
Elizabeth ignored the longing that the request brought forth in her. She steeled her resolve to remain strong, detached, withheld. "That is kind of you, my lord, but I do not wish to dance. My feet are feeling poorly after my earlier efforts."
"Come, Lady Newland, surely there is one more dance in ye," Lord McCalter said jovially.
Excerpted from Only an Earl Will Do by Tamara Gill, Alethea Spiridon. Copyright © 2016 Tamara Gill. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mixed bag here for me today: reunion tropes I don’t dislike, but anything that mentions, uses or adds a secret baby to the mix is simply my kryptonite. That being said, the multiple elements and convenient resolutions were a bit formulaic for me, although I was curious to see just what would shake out after reading. My first issue was with the glaring grammatical error in the blurb – “who’s” is the contraction of who is, where “whose” is the proper form to indicate possession. That aside, I was reading an eArc version of the story, so I hope that the grammatical errors in the text have been corrected prior to release. Now, editor hat off – and on to the story Growing up in the same household, Elizabeth and Henry were friendly, and as they aged, they fell in love. She’s made a wonderful splash in society, but time in the Americas was Henry’s plans, as he needed to make a fortune to assure their future. What neither knew was Elizabeth was pregnant and on the verge of ruin after he left. Elizabeth was likable, and her honesty with the husband she had to marry to give her child a name was admirable. In truth, neither she nor Henry were particularly thoughtful before her pregnancy, and that element will be picked up again later. A reasonably happy marriage despite circumstances is Elizabeth’s life until her husband passes. Now widowed, with years passed, Henry returns. Of course, the post and failed letters back and fro across the Atlantic left both feeling bereft and betrayed. It just took far too long for them to discover that fact, discuss things rationally and openly and move on. Of course, an obsessed Lord is stepping in to do everything possible to keep them apart - so that did play in. But they do find solutions to the issues. Too many elements – back history for sisters that drops in as hints, moments of intimacy with Elizabeth and her first husband with later passages talking of his impotency, other bits of back and forth that just didn’t add to the story in any meaningful way, added to my bone-deep dislike of secret baby tropes and a rather belated reveal on that front left me overall rather meh about this title, and not sure that I will continue the series. Not great, not horrid – just a middle of the road read that could have been wonderful with more direction and focus. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I really enjoyed Elizabeth and Henry's story! This was a reunion story, which are always some of my favorites. Elizabeth and Henry are split apart by someone interfering in their correspondence. When Henry finally find himself back in England, he is determined to get Elizabeth back. But someone is still trying to make sure that this doesn't happen. Will they ever get their HEA? This was a great start to what I know will be a wonderful series!
I really enjoyed this book. It was my first by this author I am excited to read more by her. A lady facing ruin, a Scottish Hero, and a vile villain what more could you ask for! It was a story about a second chance at love! I really loved Henry and Elizabeth- and felt for both of them throughout the book. The author did a good job with the villain and I was surprised at how vile he really was- but she had me guessing as to who it was until the reveal! I really like being introduced to the Worthingham family and hope to read more about them!!
I really enjoyed this book. Right from the prologue, I was drawn into the story. Elizabeth, left with child and receiving no response from the man she loves as he had set sail for America to make his fortune, married another. A young mother and widowed after a short marriage, she quietly is rejoining society. Henry, the father of her child returns and is devastated that Elizabeth did not wait for him. The real mystery begins at that point. Why didn't they receive each others' letters? Could they find love again? Would the really bad guy, Lord Riddledale, carry out his plan to marry Elizabeth? These are the questions that kept me quickly turning the pages until I had the answers. Henry is one of the best heroes ever. With his Scottish brogue and full and tender heart, he was sigh worthy in each scene. Elizabeth's heart was so tortured and she only wanted what was best for her son, not for her own happiness. I definitely recommend this book and hope there will be more in the series as I agree with another reviewer, there are many more stories to tell with the other characters in the book.
Star crossed lovers, a deceitful Lord and heartbreaking secrets make up this romantic story. Elizabeth Worthingham was deeply in love with Henry Andrews. He was the Earl of Muir and her father's ward. They pledged their hearts and became lovers. He went to seek his fortune in America. When Elizabeth needed him the most, he repudiated her. Now he's back in England and furious that she deserted him. What really happened? Who went to such trouble to keep them apart? I enjoyed the drama and the passion. Elizabeth is a woman of courage. She knows what needs to be done and she'll do it. Regardless of the damage to her heart. Her family depends on her discretion. Henry was deeply hurt by her rejection, but he still loves this English lass. Can he convince her to be his? I was caught up in the drama. I couldn't put down Only An Earl Will Do until I had answers. I loved the setting, the romance and the characters. Tamara Gill wrote a complex story filled with love and hate. I do hope we see more of the Worthingham Family. They have more stories to tell.
Another great Regency romance, this time with Lady Elizabeth Worthington and Henry Andrews, Earl of Muir, as the couple that others have thwarted the romance between. Can they discover who interceded to their detriment as they are reunited after three years or will their mutual enemy achieve his own dreams instead? Orphaned, Henry had been brought up in the same household as Elizabeth because her father was his guardian. Whilst there, the two had become close, planning to marry when he returned from America where he went to make his fortune. Unfortunately, soon after he left Elizabeth discovered she was expecting his child. Letters were exchanged, urging him to return but to no avail, he’d have nothing to do with her. Fearing the scandal that would ensue, Elizabeth had married but shortly after her husband died. Now Henry has returned and claims no knowledge of any correspondence between them - and obviously is ignorant of the fact that he has a son. Now, however, an unexpected foe makes his desires known, threatening any chance of reconciliation or romance between the two. Can they overcome their past differences and reignite their romance? Will their enemy succeed in keeping them apart? This is a story where past errors separated the lovers and her hidden pregnancy and deceptions may keep them apart for ever. Their despicable foe will stop at nothing to get Elizabeth to be his wife and the story is packed with angst and turmoil - including a carriage chase - as things come to a head. It is an action packed novel with blackmail, double dealing, deception and love interwoven into a brilliant novel to start a new series. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical romances where the power of love is tested and proves victorious over the nefarious schemes endeavouring to thwart it. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is one of those book which draw you in right from the beginning and you simple can't help but fall in love with the story. Lady Elizabeth and Henry both are interesting characters. And they fit together perfectly. It is a must read historical romance which I'd recommend to all those who enjoy historical fiction. Henry left for America in search of his Uncle and a fortune to save his estate. He wants to be rich before he proposes to Lady Elizabeth. He doesn't want her money to save him. It is important to him and he thinks that Elizabeth understands. But apparently she couldn't wait to get married. It took her only a short time to find herself a groom. Now that Henry is back he has no idea how to deal with this new situation. On one hand he still loves her but on the other hand he feels betrayed.... Elizabeth cannot believe that Henry still wants to be reacquainted after the way he had treated her in the past. Leaving her behind and refusing to marry her. She hates him and doesn't feel like forgiving him any time soon... But the more they talked the more is revealed. They have both been played. There is someone else who has wronged them both. Henry is determined to find out who because no matter how hard he tries he still loves her and wants her to forgive him so that they can be together again... What he doesn't know is one secret she is keeping from him. That one secret might ruin any chance they have to be together, for good. Right now he is trying to redeem himself but when the truth unravels will he be able to forgive her? It's an intriguing story about romance, betrayal. and second chance love. I found it quite entertaining and hope that other readers do too. Happy reading! :)
I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. Elizabeth has done something so bad that her sisters have no prospects. Luckily, her father knows of someone who needs a wife. Henry hopes his uncle will help him learn how to make money so he can go back to England and marry Elizabeth. Two years later Henry is back home to marry Elizabeth. He has found out that she married shortly after his ship sailed. She didn't wait for him like she promised. When they finally agree to talk, she believes Henry when he said he had no letters from her family. What happened to all those letters? Who would benefit from those letters?
'Only an Earl Will Do' by Tamara Gill is book one in the "To Marry a Rogue" series. This is the story of Lady Elizabeth and Henry. Elizabeth's father was Henry Guardian until he came of age. During the time he stayed with Elizabeth and her family they grew to care for one another. They had talked of marriage and did have 'anticipate their vows'...shortly after that Henry convinced her that it would be best that he go to America to make his fortune before he married her. Even though Henry has a Scottish Title the money with the title was gone and Henry didn't want to be taken by the town as a fortune hunter. But shortly after he left Elizabeth found that she was pregnant. When her family sent Henry a letter who was now in America to tell him he needed to return another letter was sent back saying he would not marry her and the letter said a few hurtful things. So her family set her up to marry a man that had an accident who needed a wife to maintain his title. Now years later Henry is back in London appearing to be upset with Elizabeth for marring and not waiting for him as she promised. Elizabeth too is upset still about the letter he supposedly sent. But once they calm down enough to talk they figure out that someone interfered with their relationship and that he didn't get her letter nor did she get his...and that someone sent the first letter back to break them up. Now Elizabeth is facing another born out of the original issue. Henry son has been giving another man's name and she knows if it gets out either to him or the town her son life will be greatly hurt. This book hooked me in fast and I could not put it down...I had to read it through the night. I love the mystery of who was behind the misunderstanding. I also liked the secondary people also in this story. Cannot wait to read more of this series! I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Only an Earl will Do was a fun, engaging, and sensual read. I really enjoyed the premise of how Elizabeth and Henry loved each other and was ripped apart by a vile scheming stalker, the worry of a secret pregnancy/baby, and Henry working to make Elizabeth love him again. I enjoyed the dynamics of the story, and the chemistry between Henry and Elizabeth was wonderful indeed. The pacing was great and I was hooked into reading throughout the night until I reached the end. The only thing I had an issue with was how little Elizabeth saw her son. He was hardly mentioned and barely featured yet he was such an integral part of the story. Overall a good read.
Lady Elizabeth Worthingham has a secret. She fell in love with Henry Andrews, Earl of Muir and they anticipated a wedding night before Henry left London to go to America to build a fortune. Once Henry was gone, she found out she had another secret to keep – she was with child. Her father, the Duke of Penworth wrote to Henry in America asking him to return home immediately. The return response that they received was anything but expected – signed by Henry and his uncle the letter called her a strumpet and his uncle said he would never let his nephew marry her. Her parents’ solution, she would marry the Marcus, the Viscount Newland. He had a riding accident as a child and it left him “simple minded” and without marriage prospects. Elizabeth and Marcus agree to be married and he fell in love with baby Samuel as soon as he was born. He was happy to raise the boy as his child and heir. Unfortunately, Marcus died leaving Elizabeth a young widow who was happily well off and not needing to remarry. Back in London for the Season, Lord Muir has returned from America and can only think about marrying the girl he left behind. He couldn’t understand why she hadn’t written or answered any of the letters he sent but he still loved her. Also in London is one of their neighbors, Marquis Riddledale and he is obsessed with marrying Elizabeth; so obsessed that he will go to the trouble of blackmailing her family when compliments and flowers don’t appear to be working. Elizabeth and Henry quickly find that someone had intercepted their letters and written the false letter that set her marriage in motion. While they try to find out who (ultimately they learn it was Lord Riddledale) they become close again. There is only one secret between them – Elizabeth hasn’t told Henry about her (and his) son, Samuel. As the two struggle to defeat Lord Riddledale and recapture the love they once had, the whole Worthingham family is drawn into the plans to be rid of Riddledale once and for all. Unfortunately, as he becomes more desparate, he becomes more dangerous. Will Elizabeth be forced to marry him or will she finally find her happily ever after with Henry. I will leave that to the reader to find out. I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. I enjoyed the story but did have a problem with the timeline. Henry was gone 2 years. In that time, Elizabeth found out she was pregnant, married, had the baby, became a widow and is already out of mourning (I assume since she is in London for the season). There were also some formatting issues that I assume will be corrected before the final printing. Neither of these issue was enough for me to reduce my rating.
England - 1805 Lady Elizabeth Worthingham is the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Penworth and is pregnant with the child of Henry Andrews, the Earl of Muir. Henry had once been the ward of the Duke of Penworth. An old rivalry between the Duke and Henry’s uncle has resulted in Henry being sent to America and not being allowed to marry Elizabeth. Her parents worry that when this situation is discovered, Elizabeth and her sisters will be ruined. Henry had sworn that he will return for Elizabeth when he has earned enough money to save his estate. Monies were squandered by his grandfather from gambling. Even though Elizabeth wrote Henry about her condition, she has never heard from him. Therefore, she thinks that everything he had said to her were just lies. Elizabeth’s parents are anxious for her to marry Viscount Marcus Newland. He had been left somewhat brain damaged after a fall from his horse and no other woman will have him. So, Elizabeth agrees. London - 1807 Elizabeth is now a widow and many men are anxious to make her their wife. But she is not interested in marrying again. She is not interested in marrying again and has her son, Samuel to care for. One man in particular, Lord Riddledale, is pushing her to marry him but she is disgusted by him. One evening at a ball, Elizabeth encounters Henry, now age 26. He has worked hard in America and amassed a great fortune. He is visiting with his cousins from America. One of his cousins, Amelia, is a lovely young woman who obviously has her eye on Henry. The encounter between Elizabeth and Henry is cold. He cannot understand why she married shortly after he left when she had promised to wait for him and she cannot understand why she never heard from him. Evidently, something happened to their correspondence to one another. In addition, Lord Riddledale’s pursuit of Elizabeth has become overbearing and he begins to blackmail her. Even though he continues to press his suit, Elizabeth rebuffs him. That is when Henry takes matters into his own hands. What happened to the correspondence between Elizabeth and Henry? What will Henry do when he finds that he has a son? This was a good story and the plot was well thought out. However, there were several areas in which certain facts did not match up. One thing in one area of the book and it was changed in another part. That was confusing. I liked Henry and I couldn’t understand why Elizabeth withheld knowledge of little Samuel from his rightful father. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Elizabeth has faced her share of heartache and shame in the name of love. Now she is determined to redeem herself and spare her heart by entering into a marriage of convenience. There's just one problem. The man who destroyed her hopes and dreams has returned to lay claim to what he left behind. Her! Only an Earl will do is steamy battle of wills that had me on the edge of my seat and praying for a reconciliation. It's emotional, playful and excellently crafted.