The Arrangement by Mary Balogh - Romance>Historical Regency
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A mesmerizing story of passionate awakening and redemption, Mary Balogh's new novel unites a war hero consigned to darkness with a remarkable woman who finds her own salvation by showing him the light of love.
Desperate to escape his mother's matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry's intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian's home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.
At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent's proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?
Praise for The Arrangement
"Balogh understands not only the era, with all its nuances, but [also] knows her characters so thoroughly that readers are swept into her stories. There's a natural reserve--a calmness and quiet in her prose--that allows the tenderness of the romance to tug at the reader's heart. This is a beautifully rendered marriage-of-convenience love story that will win a place on keeper shelves."--RT Book Reviews (4-1/2 stars)
"This sexy, touching book revisits the marriage-of-convenience plot, joining two heroic, conflicted characters who are navigating their own versions of darkness and delivering them to the redemptive power of love. Regency best-seller Balogh once again takes a standard romance trope and imbues it with heart, emotional intelligence and flawless authenticity."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"This touching, totally enthralling story overflows with subtle humor, brilliant dialog, breathtaking sensuality, and supporting characters you want to know better."--Library Journal (starred review)
"Balogh can always be depended on to deliver a beautifully written Regency romance with appealing, unusual characters, and the second in her new Survivors' Club series (after The Proposal) is no exception. . . . Future series installments promise more compellingly tormented heroes."--Publishers Weekly
"[A] poignant and thoughtful romance."--Booklist
"A compassionate love story with a unique hero and heroine . . . The dialogue is snappy, and the climax . . . is exciting and helps bring about the blissful ending. . . . The Arrangement [is] a must read."--Fresh Fiction
From the Paperback edition.
Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
When it became clear to Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, that if he stayed at home for the remainder of the spring he would without any doubt at all be betrothed, even married, before summer had properly settled in, he fled. He ran away from home, which was a ridiculous, somewhat lowering way of putting it when he owned the house and was almost twenty-four years old. But the simple fact was that he bolted.
He took with him his valet, Martin Fisk; his traveling carriage and horses; and enough clothes and other necessary belongings to last him a month or two--or six. He really did not know how long he would stay away. He took his violin too after a moment's hesitation. His friends liked to tease him about it and affect horror every time he tucked it beneath his chin, but he thought he played it tolerably well. More important, he liked playing it. It soothed his soul, though he never confided that thought to his friends. Flavian would no doubt make a comment along the lines of its scratching the boot soles of everyone else who happened to be within earshot.
The main trouble with home was that he was afflicted with too many female relatives and not enough male ones--and no assertive males. His grandmother and his mother lived with him, and his three sisters, though married with homes and families of their own, came to stay all too frequently, and often for lengthy spells. Hardly a month went by without at least one of them being in residence for a few days or a week or more. His brothers-in-law, when they came with their wives--which was not every time--tactfully held themselves aloof from Vincent's affairs and allowed their womenfolk to rule his life, even though it was worthy of note that none of them allowed their wives to rule theirs.
It all would have been understandable, even under ordinary circumstances, Vincent supposed grudgingly. He was, after all, everyone's only grandson or only son or only brother--and younger brother at that--and as such was fair game to be protected and cosseted and worried over and planned for. He had inherited his title and fortune just four years ago, at the age of nineteen, from an uncle who had been robust and only forty-six years old when he died and who had had a son as sturdy and fit as he. They had both died violently. Life was a fragile business and so was the inheritance, Vincent's female relatives were fond of observing. It behooved him, therefore, to fill his nursery with an heir and a number of spares as soon as was humanly possible. It was irrelevant that he was still very young and would not even have begun to think of matrimony yet, left to himself. His family knew all they cared to know about living in genteel poverty.
His were not ordinary circumstances, however, and as a result, his relatives clucked about him like a flock of mother hens all intent upon nurturing the same frail chick while somehow avoiding smothering it. His mother had moved to Middlebury Park in Gloucestershire even before he did. She had got it ready for him. His maternal grandmother had let the lease expire on her house in Bath and joined his mother there. And after he moved in, three years ago, his sisters began to find Middlebury the most fascinating place on earth to be. And Vincent need not worry about their husbands feeling neglected, they had collectively assured him. Their husbands understood. The word was always spoken with something like hushed reverence.
In fact, most of what they all said to him was spoken in much the same manner, as though he were some sort of precious but mentally deficient child.
This year they had begun to talk pointedly about marriage. His marriage, that was. Even apart from the...
By: Mary Balogh