Regency Romance (Non-Austen)
The Marriage Pact
The heir to an earldom has little control over his own fate, but Mr. James Aldridge promised himself one freedom. To marry for affection instead of wealth or connections. Anger flares when he learns his father has struck a deal: in one year, he will be leg-shackled to Miss Celia Colton, the dazzling beauty who had previously caught his eye. Now certain she was simply performing her role in a scheme to catch him as her husband, resentment prompts James to refuse to squander his last months of independence in the company of such a mistress of manipulation. But why can he not wrench his gaze from her at every encounter?
Completely unaware of the pact that has matched her with James, Miss Celia Colton is at a loss to explain why the man she secretly loves has suddenly become cold and critical. Abandoned by James, who had promised to guide her through her debut Season, she fears she will have to navigate the ton with only her grasping mother and distracted cousin as companions. Surrounded by gentlemen merely interested in her dowry, young ladies who view her as unwelcome competition, and, worse yet, James’s icy stares and disdainful manners, her primary concern is to discover the reason for his altered behaviour. How can she make things right between them? Will a love-match be forever out of her reach?