The Hunt Club series continues. This time with the Earl of Blandon, Michael Carver taking center stage. Beatrice Hawkins, sister-in-law to Michael's friend Ashton Blakely, the Duke of Summerton has been reluctant to marry. Now, her one male relative, Sir Alfred Danbury, who had appeared to have been persuaded to leave Bea in her sister's care, has outrageously betrothed Bea to a nasty piece of work, one Richard Bainbridge, without consulting Bea. Bainbridge's massive wealth and dubious abilities had gained him some cache in Society. He has fingers in a great many pies and it seems tame judges and other officials in his pockets. Bainbridge hates the aristocracy and yet has sort to buy himself a bride from among their members. Previous wives seem to have died, some from natural causes, others not. Whatever, the thing is Bea needs to go into hiding, and as the Ash surmises to Michael, if she can be persuaded to marry before Bainbridge catches up with her, then the courts may favour her marriage over her unasked for betrothal.
Michael agrees to take Bea to the Duke's hunting lodge to avoid a confrontation with Bainbridge, and if necessary convince Bea to marry him for her protection.
Of course Miachael and Bea are drawn to each despite Michael having little use for love and romance.
Oh, and by the way, there's the vile ex mistress Lady Merriweather who can't take the very pointed hint and vanish. 'A woman spurned' and all that ...
I liked Michael and Bea. The early parts of the story were great. For me the story flagged towards the end and was not as tight as it could have been. Maybe there were just too many pieces to tie up. I must say that Lady Merriweather didn't seem that necessary to the story after a certain point.
I never did find out why Bainbridge wanted Beatrice so much. Of course he had such a 'dog in the manager' attitude it's probably just that as far as he was concerned he'd paid for Beatrice and he wanted what he'd bought!