The Offer

The Offer

by Sara Portman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516100507
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/24/2017
Series: Brides of Beadwell , #2
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 32,005
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Sara Portman is an award winning author of historical and contemporary romance. In addition to being named the 2015 winner in the Historical Category of the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest, Sara has been a finalist and winner in several other writing competitions. A daughter of the Midwest, Sara was born in Illinois, grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Ohio. In addition to her writing endeavors, Sara is a wife and mother in a large, blended family. Visit her at www.saraportman.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

February 1818

There were times in which one could be cognizant that one's perspective on a situation was at once both absurd and entirely sensible. As Lucy watched her dearest friend retch violently into a chamber pot, she held back pangs of envy even as she held back her friend's thick, plaited hair.

Lucy did not normally desire to toss up her breakfast, of course, but Emma's uneasy stomach was in fact an unmistakable sign that she was expecting her first child. Envy, as it happened, was an unfamiliar and awkward-fitting cloak for Lucy. She flushed with shame for the feeling, grateful Emma could not see her face and, as dear friends are capable, divine her thoughts.

No matter how much one envied the situation of another person, Lucy reminded herself while handing her friend the damp cloth she held at the ready, one should always be conscious that no situation was entirely free of difficulty. Certainly, this wisdom applied most fittingly at the present. Just as dismal circumstances often held silver linings, so did the sunniest of situations possess the occasional black cloud. Were these black linings?

Perhaps.

Emma was recently married, and to a duke, no less. She was deeply in love with her husband, she was the mistress of a stately manor, and she had recently learned she was expecting the first of likely many children from her marriage.

She was also violently ill on a daily basis, and the illness had not subsided as her pregnancy progressed.

Black linings.

Lucy, by contrast, was unmarried with no prospects and no connections other than the recent elevation of her childhood friend to the rank of duchess. The plans she was currently making for her future meant she would likely never know motherhood. She did, however, feel quite well at the present. She'd only moments ago been contemplating her delicious morning repast. Breakfast at the vicarage with her parents was usually quite simple: strong tea, toast, a boiled egg. The elaborate meals served at the London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Worley had proven one of the great delights of the visit.

Silver linings.

It was as simple as that. She was ashamed to have experienced even a moment of jealousy. For all of Emma's happiness today, she had paid dearly for it, suffering the loss of her parents and the shame of society for a broken engagement. Lucy had never before compared her friend's circumstances, good or bad, to her own situation.

She should feel nothing but joy for her friend's expectant state and empathy for her present discomfort. And she did feel all of those things, but there was a tiny seed of a sinful voice that whispered, This will never be me.

She studiously ignored it.

"Oh, Lucy," Emma croaked. "I am so sorry." She rocked back on her heels and exhaled heavily.

"Do not apologize again," Lucy chided, taking back the cloth. "I shall be horribly offended if you believe we are not dear enough to witness the contents of each other's stomachs."

Emma grimaced toward the metal pot. "Will you help me to bed, Lucy?"

Lucy assisted Emma in rising to her feet and supported her as she walked unsteadily to the stately four-poster bed. Still holding Emma with one arm, Lucy used her free hand to pull back the delicately embroidered coverlet and plump the soft pillow in preparation for her friend.

"You are such a sport to care for me this way," Emma said with a sigh as she lowered herself into the spot Lucy had prepared. "I fear I am building a debt I shall never repay."

"Nonsense." Lucy helped Emma the rest of the way into bed and pulled the coverlet up to her gently rounded middle, smiling as she did so. "It's the reason I'm here, isn't it?" Emma rolled onto her side and drew up her knees. "It was supposed to be a ruse. When I invited you to come, I knew you wouldn't agree unless you thought there was some greater purpose to your visit. I never truly expected to need so much help. I just wanted your company. The sickness was supposed to have ended weeks ago."

Lucy stepped back and stood, arms crossed, assessing her patient. "You are not as sly as you might think. I knew you were planning more for a companion than a nursemaid, but you will accept both graciously or I shall feel horribly manipulated."

Emma placed one hand on her stomach while she sucked in and expelled heavily a deep breath of air. "I daresay it's beginning to pass now." She took two more similarly deep breaths, as though testing this declaration, then rolled gently onto her back again, keeping her knees in their bent position. "Would you mind propping me up a bit? I seem to do better that way than lying flat."

Lucy obliged her. "Take care for your stubbornness, Emma. There is no need to push yourself to recover instantly."

Emma flashed Lucy a wide-eyed look of innocent confusion.

Lucy responded with a chiding grimace. "Do not pretend you've no idea what I'm about."

"Oh, be fair, Lucy, you're no less stubborn and independent than I," Emma said, beginning to regain her color as though by force of will.

"But I am not the one applying that trait to defy a present ill state," Lucy said, pulling the bell to have the soiled pot removed. "I've had no less than three letters from your sister-in-law insisting that I be particularly vigilant for your overdeveloped sense of independence."

Emma's eyes lifted heavenward. "It's lovely of Charlotte to be concerned, but she's just as mule headed as the two of us. She says she detests London so much, she will not come until I've provided a niece or nephew to visit, even though we have seen neither her nor Hugh since their wedding."

"With or without a visit, she has very strong opinions on the attention and care you are to receive and I will be quite unable to face her if I fail," Lucy said with a teasing smile.

"You are a tyrannical caregiver, Lucy, and I love you for it. I'm certain I shall be well by dinner. I was reckless to choose cake at tea. I've had a very tenuous relationship with sweet things of any kind. They always look so appealing, but are absolutely certain to turn my stomach of late." She released a wistful sigh. "It really is a wretched tease. I have never craved sweet things before. Now I want them more than ever, but am not allowed to partake without dire consequence."

"It is cruel, isn't it?" Lucy asked, taking a seat in the small chair nearest Emma's bed. "I promise you, once you have delivered this child into the world, you shall have all the cakes and sweet things you desire. For now, I shall kindly request your cook help you avoid temptation."

Emma reached out and placed a warm hand over Lucy's. "I am fortunate in my choice of caregiver, it would seem, even if it was not my intention that you should be called into service."

Lucy clasped her hands in her lap and spoke firmly. "I'm glad you think so, as I've made a decision, Emma, and I will need your help."

Emma's hands paused in the motion of smoothing her coverlet over her lap and she peered at Lucy. "What sort of decision?"

Lucy straightened her shoulders and fortified herself against Emma's disapproval. "A decision about my future," she said, with what she hoped was a convincingly decisive dip of her chin.

"You were always one for making plans, Lucy, so I cannot say I am surprised, but I will caution you, with myself as an example. You cannot always plan what your future will hold." She patted Lucy's hand. "But I am rambling. Go ahead, please. What have you decided?" "I have decided that you have done me a great favor by bringing me to London as your companion. The particular recommendation of the Duchess of Worley will be invaluable in gaining another post as a companion or governess after the baby is born and you are no longer in need of my help."

Emma's distaste for the plan was evident a full breath before the peppering of questions began. "But what need have you of a post? Why would you want to be a governess? Has something happened to your father?" Lucy shook her head. "Perhaps I should not have upset you while you are still recovering. We can discuss this later."

"Nonsense. You cannot make such an announcement and simply leave it alone. We'll discuss it now," Emma said, regaining possession of the full imperiousness that allowed her to appear every bit a duchess when she so desired.

Lucy, who had played with Emma as a girl and helped the woman after tossing up the contents of her stomach mere moments ago, was not so susceptible to the intimidating tone. "Don't play duchess with me," she said, leaning forward in her chair. "I'll have your rooms littered with cakes and see where you are then."

"But why, Lucy?" Emma asked, ignoring the teasing threat. "What has happened? Is your father ill?"

Lucy felt a pang of guilt at the worry that once again depleted the color in her friend's face, when she had only recently recovered it. "My father and mother are both well enough. There is no cause for concern."

"Then whatever has prompted this ... this ... preposterous idea?" Emma lifted her arms and dropped them to the bed again in a huff to punctuate her statement. "Positions as governesses and companions ... these are for women in need of a position — women with no family support. You are not without a home. You are not without friends."

"The idea has been prompted by good sense," Lucy explained pertly. "My father is not ill, but he is aging. He has decided he is no longer able to proceed without the assistance of a curate. That will mean extra cost for wages, not to mention the addition to the household. It is past time I ceased to be a burden to my parents." She swallowed heavily. "And my father will not live forever. He will be gone someday."

My, but it was disturbingly final to say it aloud. She'd thought of it, of course, but when given a voice, it seemed so much more ... imminent.

"Well, all men will someday be gone," Emma declared.

"That was true of your father before you were even born."

"But he is older now," Lucy said with quiet resolve, "and I am grown. I cannot pretend that my future life has not arrived. I am four and twenty this year. My father will be nearly sixty years. One day, my father will be gone and there will be a new vicar, and he will live in the parsonage house with his family. I cannot remain there."

"Of course not. You will be married with a brood of children by then," Emma declared.

That seemed very unlikely to Lucy, as she had received no offers, nor encountered any likely prospects, in all her twenty-four years. Though her parents had not said as much, Lucy knew the decision to employ a curate changed their situation considerably. The expenditure would gradually whittle away any funds set aside for supporting Lucy or her mother once her father was gone. How could Lucy in good conscience accept a dowry of any amount if it left less for her mother in the event of her father's death?

She did not burden Emma with these details, but instead said, "Perhaps," with a shrug of her shoulders. "Taking a position as a companion or a governess does not prevent me from marrying someday, it simply provides a safeguard against the possibility that I do not."

Emma speared Lucy with a dubious expression. "You are not likely to meet any eligible gentlemen from a position caring for children too young or ladies too feeble to be out in society."

Lucy laughed. "I am no less likely to meet a man as a governess than I am hiding away in Beadwell, where all the gentlemen are either far too young or far too old."

Emma sighed, but she did not dispute Lucy's rationale. Both women knew well there were no eligible men of any station in the little village.

There was a knock on the door followed by the entry of a maid who, at Lucy's nod toward the offending pot, hurried to collect it and left the room with a promise to return shortly with a clean replacement.

"Still," Emma said once the maid had gone. "I repeat my point. All men will someday be gone. What has created the present urgency?"

"It is not so much urgency, as opportunity," Lucy explained. "Serving as companion to a duchess during her confinement will serve as a very high reference. Especially," she added, her eyes wide with meaning, "if I may rely upon said duchess to make a few useful introductions to those families who may be in need."

Emma sighed. "I'll grant your rationale is not entirely illogical. Still, I find I don't want to go along with it. Any of it. In fact, at the moment, I rather dislike this penchant of yours for forward planning."

Lucy stood and placed closed fists on her hips. "Must I remind you again you are being stubborn?"

"But I am stubborn for good cause, Lucy," Emma said from her bed, not in the least quelled by having to look up from her supine position. "I understand your desire to take responsibility for your future, but I don't believe you've sufficiently thought this through."

"But I have," Lucy insisted. "My circumstances are exactly the sort that lead a woman to take a position of employment. I am gently bred, but of little means. My prospects for marriage are slim, but I am respectable and well read. I've benefited from lessons alongside the daughter of an earl," she said with a pointed look toward Emma. "I am capable of conducting myself properly with the highest levels of society, and I play both the pianoforte and harp." Lucy lifted her chin. "When viewed objectively, I have excellent qualifications."

Lucy waited for Emma to rise to their debate, but she did not.

Instead Emma gazed up at her with such sorrow, Lucy could have just as well announced the death of a beloved mutual friend. "I beg you to reconsider. It is a lonely position in which to be in any household, Lucy. You will be neither family nor staff. Do you really want to take all your dinners on trays sent to your room and be left to yourself for long stretches of time when the family have no need of you?"

"I believe most women in service would consider long stretches of time to themselves a rather luxurious perquisite," Lucy pointed out.

Emma shook her head, having none of Lucy's rationalizations. "What a waste of your endearing personality, Lucy, to be shut up in a room and no one upon whom to bestow it."

"But you make it sound as though I shall be caged," Lucy said on a laugh. "I'm sure if I've the benefit of free time, I shall be allowed to leave my room." She put one hand to her mouth and whispered loudly, "They may even task a maid to walk me now and then. Pets do benefit, I understand, from the fresh air."

Emma pressed her lips together and shook her head. "Do not tease, Lucy. My concerns are for your happiness. I only mean to caution you of the consequences of your choice."

Lucy sat again. "And so you have, dear. And I am grateful for it, but I have been considering this with great care. It truly is the most sensible thing for me to do. You have provided me with an opportunity too convenient to dismiss."

Emma pouted. "I would much rather spend this time in London introducing you to eligible gentlemen."

Lucy laughed again. "Aren't we disregarding a rather obvious impediment to your sponsoring any debutantes this coming season?" She glanced meaningfully at the recently replaced chamber pot.

Emma scrunched her lips together. "Well the timing is poor, I'll grant you. , but Aunt Agatha could do it." She shrugged her shoulders. "And I would be there to ... advise you."

Lucy laughed. "But you had a horrid debut season!" She sat down next to her friend. "Emma, your willingness to disregard all obstacles in pursuit of my happiness is why you are the very best sort of friend." She smiled, dreading Emma's disappointment. "You know this cannot work. Presenting me at society events full of lords and ladies will not make me any more likely to be married than I am today. I am not a worthy match for the sort of society you and the duke keep. I will be tolerated as your friend, but will otherwise be entirely out of place. That is all. No one would be queueing up to pay calls or make offers to me."

Emma opened her mouth, but Lucy stilled her friend's objection with a hand on her shoulder. "Besides," Lucy said, "Aren't well-bred ladies supposed to retire to their country houses when they're increasing?"

Emma sniffed. "Not this well-bred lady. John is anxious to take his seat in the House of Lords and do what good he can in furthering the reform agenda. And I am not keen to be apart from him. I can be perfectly respectable remaining here, in London. Besides," she said, displaying the first bright smile since she'd become ill that morning, "I've discovered the benefit of my rank is that I am less likely to be deemed 'not respectable' and much more likely to be considered merely peculiar."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The Offer"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Sara Portman.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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The Offer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
georgia1 More than 1 year ago
As with Sara Porter's first book in this series, The Offer was an engaging, delightful read that kept my interest until the very end. This is a story of two different people brought together by circumstances.,each looking for their place in life and survival. Lucy Betancourt, daughter of a vicar, is staying with her best friend, Emma, the Duchess or Worley, for her confinement. Looking ahead, Lucy determines she will need to find a post as a governess once Emma's baby is born. She is practical, in that she may never wed due to having no settlement or titled background to recommend her. In steps Bexford Brantword, the Duke of Worley's cousin and this is were the fun begins! Bex is down on his luck and heavily in debt and is the last person Lucy should feel any affection. But circumstances throw them together and they form a friendship. Bex finds Lucy refreshing for her honesty and she makes him determined to succeed and get himself out of his situation. The author brings the characters alive with great dialogue, witty conversations and humor. I found myself cheering for Bex and Lucy to find their way and come together.. This is a must read and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. Keep your eye on this author because she will be in the spotlight with her delightful stories! I received a copy of this book from NetGallery for an honest review
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Lucy is the best friend of a duchess. Emma might be happily married to a duke, but Lucy doesn't see marriage in her own future. She has no dowry, her parents simply aren't wealthy enough for her to be a good match. They're getting older and she wants to support them by going into service instead. Emma is having a baby, so Lucy leaves Beadwell to be with her in London. While she's there she can look for employment as a governess or companion. She doesn't expect to find love, but when she meets Bex she knows she won't be able to face her fate without at least having experienced some romance. Bex isn't marriage material. He's poor, his father has acquired such a huge amount of debt that he doesn't have ways to make money in the near future either and he feels he doesn't have any useful skills to do something about it. However, Bex has his pride and keeps trying to make a fortune on his own, instead of accepting handouts like his father. When he meets Lucy he's intrigued, but he knows he has nothing to offer her. Staying away from her proves to be impossible though, especially when she makes him an offer he can't refuse. Will Bex be able to find a way out of his dire situation, so he can be worthy of the woman of his dreams after all? The Offer is a fantastic romantic story. I loved Lucy, she's bold, clever and fierce. She isn't afraid to go after what she wants and that's something I greatly admired about her. She has a clear view of what her future should look like and I kept hoping she'd find herself in a better situation than the one she envisions. She's always positive and is sweet and attentive. She's a perfect match for the troubled and conscientious Bex. For Lucy Bex means adventure and there's so much chemistry between them that sparks fly every time they meet. I loved their fabulous connection and couldn't turn the pages of their story quickly enough to find out if they'd get their happily ever after. Sara Portman has a wonderful descriptive writing style. I love how she makes the time she writes about come to life. I really enjoyed reading about the gorgeous dresses, the impressive buildings and the beautiful music. She skillfully captures the exact right atmosphere, which is one of the biggest strengths of her stories. I loved every single sentence of The Offer, it's such a charming enchanting story. I was mesmerized by this amazing book and think it's an absolute must-read.
McM0mmy-PW More than 1 year ago
Lucy was the perfect innocent young lady to Bex's "bad boy"! He was constantly warning her that he wasn't good enough for her, but she knew better! I did have to wipe my eyes near the end, but it was worth it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Kat Wiley More than 1 year ago
Super Read Sara Portman! The Offer is the 2nd book in the Brides Of Beadwell series. It started out a tad slow but when it picked up, it went flying and I could not put this book down. Like any good romance novel that I read, I expect the novel to be good and steamy and Sara did not disappoint! Her characters came alive and her descriptions were to the point. This book has it all, humor, lies, deception, saints, sinners, rogue, gambling, pregnancy, deceit, investments, new friends, old friends, scandal, penniless, controlling, hatred, secrets and of course love. I highly recommend this book. So travel back in time to 1818 London, with Mr. Bextley Branton and Miss Lucy Betancourt. ***This book was gifted to me and I am voluntarily reviewing.
Ladygael More than 1 year ago
She’s practical. He’s a risk-taker. Through a case of mistaken identity, the meeting of Lucy Betancourt and Bex Brantwood is an awkwardly vulnerable exchange. Both having connections to the Duke of Worley and his wife, they find themselves in the same social circles. Their honest conversations quickly put them on a path of friendship. (I love when you’re drawn into the characters right away.) But independent Lucy and determined Bex each face challenges of station and circumstance affecting their futures. Yet, somehow these opposites are matched in spirit, humor and heart. And then there is the offer. This is a wonderful story of the surprise of love. A quick read and hard to put down, I loved the journey of this endearing couple. I am reviewing this book from a courtesy copy I received via NetGalley.
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
The Offer by Sara Portman is Book Two in the "Brides of Beadwell" series. This is the story of Lucy Betancourt and Bex Brantwood. Lucy is having to face that her life is now going to turn into that of a life of servitude. Lucy father is a again vicar and she without a suitor...there is no other real outcome for her. But Lucy is staying and help her friend Emma, the Duchess of Worley to help get her through her troubling pregnancy. Emma happens to mention that she may know someone who is looking for help. Lucy happens upon Bex at the house and thinks he is the person that Emma was talking about. Bex is not sure what Lucy is offering at first but his coffers are bare so he can't keep or marry a women...but it does lead to a first kiss and friendship. This was a sweet romance that you are just waiting to see how these two ended up together.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
book 2 in the brides of beadwell series, the offer, picks up the story of emma's best friend lucy betancourt. lucy is the daughter of a humble vicar, possesses no fortune and doesn't expect to marry. but she also doesn't want to be a burden on her friends and family. she believes that her best way forward is to seek a position as a governess. when she mistakenly assumes that bexley brantwood is the earl of ashby, a comedy of errors ensues. she believes that she's speaking to him about a possible governess in his household, while bex thinks she's propositioning him. when they realize that it’s all a misunderstanding they keep it to themselves. but the sliver of attraction remains. if bex were a man with prospects, perhaps he could follow his impulse to flirt and tease and kiss lily. but he’s not. he’s so far from eligible that an alliance between him and lily would actually be disastrous. he’s trying so hard to make money on his own so as to not have to rely on the duke’s charity and it’s not going well. lily and bex are clearly attracted to one another, the more time they spend together the deeper their feelings are. but their position is untenable. he has no money and no prospects. she has no dowry and her only prospects involve going into the servant class. innovation and creativity are the only things that will get them out of their mess. but challenging society’s expectations and strictures is no small thing. love is worth it though. **the offer will publish on october 24, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical press) in exchange for my honest review.
candy-b More than 1 year ago
Lucy Betancourt is a vicar's daughter, who is visiting her friend, the Duchess of Worley. She has no marriage prospects and no special skills .Bexley Brantwood at one time had a possibility of becoming a duke, but the real duke showed up, so he was just a Mr. He had no skills and no income. A compelling story of friendship and love, Lucy has decided to be a companion or governess and take the pressure off her father, who is getting old. The descriptions are very good and they help you to be part of the story. The characters are funny, loving and compassionate, unless you talk about his dad. He is a despicable creature. There are some twists and turns to this tale, Sara Portman, in her usual expertise, has made it into a wonderful book that is well written, even paced and moves smoothly. It keeps your interest and you have trouble putting it down. I received this ARC from Net Galley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1818 Lucy Betancourt is the daughter of a vicar. She realizes that her father is not well and knows she may soon need to find work to care for herself as she will probably never marry. Currently, she is staying with her friend, Emma, the Duchess of Worley, who is expecting and has been ill through most of her pregnancy. She is happy to serve as a companion to Emma. She has just informed Emma that she will seek a job as a governess after Emma’s baby is born. Emma mentions a friend who is looking for a governess and has been invited to dinner that night. When Emma goes downstairs to retrieve a book she has been reading, she encounters a man who introduces himself as Bex Brantwood. Thinking he is the man in need of a governess, Lucy brazenly introduces herself and tells the man she would like the job. Lucy realizes she has mistaken him for someone else and he is also unsure as to what she is really offering him. Unfortunately, he is not the wealthy man she assumes him to be and can offer her nothing. Her protests make him assume she is asking to be his mistress. When the misunderstanding comes out, Lucy is embarrassed and flees. Bex is cousin to the Duke of Worley and has discovered that his father asked for a meeting with the Duke to request funds. The Duke had been missing for some years and Bex’s father thought he would inherit the dukedom, spending all of their family money setting himself up with the ton. Now, Bex and his father are penniless. However, Bex has his honor and will not allow his father to bring him down. He plans to make his own way in life. This is just an OK story. It dragged in many areas with endless verbiage about the businesses Bex wants to invest in and all the ways the businesses make their end product. Boring! I simply did not care for the characters either. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
HeyerF4n More than 1 year ago
Delightfully Entertaining Story. This is the second book I have read by this author and she is rapidly becoming a firm favourite of mine. Due to mistaken identity, and a subsequent conversation that was at cross purposes, Miss Lucy Betancourt and Mr Bexley Brantwood share a most inappropriate kiss. One would think that such an inauspicious beginning would lead to embarrassment at subsequent meetings but instead it allows them to disregard normal rules of behaviour, and rather than exchanging polite inanities, they are instead honest with each other and develop a friendship. I loved the characters, the writing style, the humour and the fact that neither the hero or heroine were titled and I enjoyed how the author resolved Bex’s lack of funds. A highly recommended read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
The Offer by Sara Portman The Brides of Beadwell #2 Can you remember your first kiss? I bet it was not given to you by a stranger but what if it had been and the memory of it lingered in your mind? Well, such was the case for Lucy Betancourt, friend of a duchess and Bex Brantwood, giver of that first kiss. The two thoroughly enjoyed that kiss but both realized nothing could come of it because Lucy was headed from her father’s vicarage to a position of service and Bex was in grave debt with few options out of his dilemma. So…a kiss is just a kiss…or so the song says…but…not always. As Lucy and Bex spend time together they find they are compatible and friendship develops. They speak openly and enjoy the company of one another. They work separately toward achieving their individual goals. And yet…I could feel them both wanting more but not knowing how to go about getting it. I kept wondering just how the author would manage a HEA for this couple without title or money so kept reading and wondering and hoping…just as no doubt did the hero and heroine of the story. I won’t say more about the how but will say it was a well-crafted story unlike most historical romances I read. I liked Lucy and Bex and was delighted with the way this book ended. I see there is a book three and am eager to read it…soon…I can honestly recommend both books in this series and hope you will read and enjoy them, too. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books-Lyrical Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4.5 Stars