Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and… and…?
After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.
Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.
So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?
*He starts with flowers. Ladies can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
*He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
*He doesn’t kiss her.
*If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.
*When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown and vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
*And no matter what, he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.. – Goodreads
Poor Clio, she was proposed to one day eight years ago and has heard nothing from him since then. Clio had enough and is going after Piers to break off their engagement. The only thing is that his brother, Rafe, stands in her way and oh do sparks fly between Clio and Rafe. Of course, they are both in denial about it. Clio made it clear that she does not want to be connected to his brother, and Rafe is determined to make the two marry within the month.
To accomplish this, he decides to start wooing her, but in the name of his brother, because the marriage what happens. What neither of them expects of course is to start falling for each other. While they are blatantly honest with each other, the two do not expect to work and bounce ideas off of each other. Rafe loathes that Clio is his brothers. He wants her, but he’s always wanted what his brother has had, Clio is no different.
But it’s more than that! Rafe actually falls in love with Clio and not only does he fall in love with her, but he also starts to woo her. To the point, while listening to this book, I was sighing out loud. I think part of them always knew they cared for the other person, but Piers was constantly in the way. Although he wasn’t in the picture for eight years, Rafe is still aware of the proper boxes that everyone belong in. What Dare does well is write a strong, yet slow burn. It was so so good between Clio and Rafe that it got to the point I wanted to push them together and yell “KISS!”
What I also enjoyed was that Clio and Rafe are two excellent standalone characters. They don’t need each other to survive, but they are so much better with each other. While Clio wants to run her own brewery, what she enjoys is that Rafe doesn’t laugh at her when he finds out. Her family does, they believe that she’s lying to them, but Rafe doesn’t think it’s funny. He sees how much Clio can stand on her own and be her own person. What neither of them wants to believe however is how good they would be together.
One of the things I adore about Dare’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to write humor, snarky humor with realistic banter. It makes me want more of the characters and this period.