Publisher: Lyrical Press
Series: The Husband Hunter Series Book 4
Published: November 5, 2019
Level of Sensuality: Kisses/Sweet
“What is it about you that every time we speak, I end up putting a foot wrong? I am generally considered a man of some address.”
-The Christmas Husband Hunt
In wintry London Charles Davenham, the dashing Viscount Wynford and new Foreign Office spy, enlists the aid of his distant cousin Harriet Swanley, who's fallen in the world from eligible earl's daughter to unpaid caretaker of children and dogs. While Charles works to unmask a dangerous Russian spy, he asks Harriet to help his younger sister Octavia, newly come to town with her copy of The Husband Hunter's Guide to London, to find a husband by Christmas. The Christmas spirit seems deader than a doornail to Charles and Harriet, until Octavia mangles the guidebook's advice and the Russian spy takes too much interest in her. Suddenly, mistletoe, a dog, and the secrets of the past reawaken a long-buried attraction.
An enchanting story just right to put a smile on your face and warm your heart. A man searching for a spy. A governess who has more to offer than just her duties. A distressed young lady after being jilted has two people working together to find her a match. What more can you ask for? In this wonderful 4th installment of the Husband Hunters series, Harriett and Charles begin a slow budding romance that will keep you entertained and only wanting more.
–Lori Dykes, 5-star Amazon review
The door closed behind her. The howling ceased. Charles heard her speak to the dog in a firm and friendly tone, and then the click of the beast’s nails on the tiles as it followed her off.
He remained standing by the weak fire in the frigid room. Perry’s description of Harriet Swanley as the steady unpaid governess to a large and careless family had misled him into thinking she would be the sort of woman no one noticed. He knew he had been introduced to a governess or two among the families of his acquaintance, and he supposed that he’d met such women with civility, but none had made an impression on him.
Lady Harriet Swanley did not fit the category. Instead of the neat and unassuming figure Perry’s words had conjured, Charles had looked up from the cold hearth in the bare room and seen a softly beautiful countenance enlivened by eyes full of barely contained spirit. If he had been pressed to say what struck him about her, he would have to say it was a sense of controlled passion. The coil of her hair at her nape and the unadorned simplicity of her gown did not wholly conceal the riches of her appearance. Her brow was clear and her cheeks smooth as silk with a curve that invited a man’s thumb to stroke. In her gray eyes he caught a silver glint of wit and a sense of the ridiculous.
He was grateful for the interruption provided by the dog. He could recover his wits and determine how to try again.
The door opened, and she stepped inside, her hand on the knob as if she would leave again. “I beg your pardon for the interruption.”
“You’re the dog-minder, too?” he asked. It spoke volumes about her state of absolute dependence on her relations that such tasks fell to her lot.
She laughed. “I suppose I am until Jasper returns from school. But you must not think the dog an imposition.”
She gathered herself. He anticipated another refusal, but he cut her off. “Don’t let me drive you from the fire, Lady Harriet,” he said, extending a hand. “If you stand by the door, you’ll turn into a block of ice.”
After a brief hesitation, she accepted his hand and let herself be led back to a seat. “You mustn’t judge my circumstances by this room. The Luxboroughs are kind, and…”
“Value you just as they ought?” He knew more about her situation than he would admit after a brief interview with Lady Luxborough, who had given him a rather shrewd look but had raised no objection to his request to enlist her governess’s aid.
“I want for nothing,” she said.
“Except, perhaps, independence? I know I’m speaking frankly, but I do need your help if Octavia is not to have her heart broken, or worse.”
“What do you know of broken hearts, Lord Wynford?” Her eyes flashed.
“Nothing,” he admitted.
Her gaze dropped to his boots, which she regarded with apparent fascination. He suspected she did not often look away. If self-control was the key to survival in London, she would be the very one to help Octavia.
“I will help your sister. Let us say that we are renewing our cousinly ties. But you must call me Miss Swanley, you know,” she said briskly. “I have given up being called Lady Harriet.”