A CHRISTMAS BABY
Ashford Edward Blackburne, fifth Earl of Blackburne, has to marry and produce an heir by Christmas. Left at the altar for a second time, he and his fellow rogues—the still unmarried ones from Blair’s Rogue series—adjourn to an inn to drink and forget the scandal that will follow his second jilting.
Ash is unaware he’s long dominated the dreams of Larkin McAdams, the innskeeper’s daughter. When her father gambles with the highly inebriated earl, offering his daughter as a consolation prize, Lark ensures that her secret love loses.
The wedding takes place at pistol point, and later, as Ash approaches his bride in her nuptial bed, the frightened girl shoots him and Ash spends his honeymoon recovering from a gunshot wound.
Later, when he’s sober, Ash begins to understand Lark’s fears. Lark loves him more and more and wants to cooperate, but in hilarious encounters she cannot overcome her fear.
These rollicking antics come from the oddities of Lark’s previous life compared to the manners and customs of the peerage she has suddenly entered through marriage. The other rogues and their families arrive for Christmas, making this a splendid addition to a series that is well worth reading on its own. SENSUAL (Oct., 320 pp., $5.99)