Beautiful debutante, Leah Carrollton, could have any man she wanted. But the selection found in London ballrooms was dull and unappealing. That is, until she met Devon Marshall, Viscount Huxhold, who was most appealing indeed. Devon shared the same regard for the lovely Leah, and since her family had been pressing her to pick a husband of means to offset their financial situation, Devon seemed perfect. But Leah's brother would not even consider a union between the two, since the Carrollton and Marshall families were old enemies. Leah was forced to end her relationship with Devon, and he left London soon afterward. A distraught Leah exercised poor judgment, and ran off with a notorious scoundrel who ruined her and left her pregnant. She then fled London for the countryside to bear her child alone.
Some months later, while traveling through the English countryside, Devon discovers a very pregnant Leah living in squalor. Before much could be spoken between the two, Leah went into labor. After assisting with the difficult delivery, Devon married her and claimed the child as his own. But old secrets and hurts still exist between the two. Will they be able to get past their problems, and rediscover their love for each other?
I'm beginning to think Cathy Maxwell is a writer whose work I'm just not really drawn to. I found her story in the anthology TWO FOR TEA quite good, so I sought out more of her titles. Next I read THE WEDDING WAGER, which I also found to be very satisfying. But the last two books I've read by her, this one and its prequel MARRIED IN HASTE, were horribly average. This story started off well, and I very much enjoyed the hero saving the heroine from her less than perfect living situation. Then he even went so far as to claim her fatherless child as his own. In fact, the hero of this book is a wonderful, charming, and honorable man, and his character is the best part of this story. Not that I found Leah unlikable; she was just okay. But after they married, the story seemed forced, lost momentum, and ceased to be as interesting. I did finish the book, but overall it just wasn't that special or memorable for me. I have one other novel by this author already in my possession, so I'll probably read it. However, if its not better than these last two, I'm most likely done reading Ms. Maxwell's work.