Published by Berkley, Signet on March 1, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
When Lady Esme Byron happens upon a gorgeous naked man sleeping beside a secluded country lake, she can’t resist the impulse to sketch him. But when her highly improper drawing is mistakenly revealed at a party, she finds her once-pristine reputation in tatters.
Gabriel, Lord Northcote, may be a notorious rakehell, but he is still stunned to find himself accused of despoiling a duke’s sister—especially since he's never set eyes on her. When Esme’s six irate brothers demand a hurried trip down the aisle, he has no choice but to comply. He thinks he can forget about his inconvenient bride but Esme Byron is no ordinary woman and Gabriel is about to learn just how unforgettable she can be.
It’s only fitting that my first review of 2016 be a Historical Romance since it was the first adult genre I jumped into 20 years ago. Also, if there is a genre that takes you away from the real world. . . it’s this one. This book was definitely a great escape.
Lady Esme Byron, spirited girl that she is, sketches a very naked Gabriel, Lord Northcote, and unfortunately the sketch is seen by her very powerful and overprotective brothers. This means that wedding bells are in her future whether she likes it or not.
Gabriel, on the other hand, is innocent in all of this but doesn’t have a choice in the matter either. The Byrons are too strong and wealthy for him to fight and come out winning, so he agrees to marry Esme.
Beyond the normal reservations one would have about being forced into marriage, Gabriel’s lack of familial love plays a big part in his distrust of everyone. Esme is the complete opposite, coming from a large family that loved her beyond measurement.
He is her first in everything. Esme eventually loves her husband and, at first, expresses it without reservation. It’s not as easy for Gabriel, especially since his only family is the root of his distrust and the darkness that he’s carried with him his entire life. As young as Esme is, she is refreshingly mature and strong in her fight to save her marriage.
This is the second book in the Rakes of Cavendish Square series but my first read from this author. Tracy Anne Warren did a great job of introducing the secondary characters and making them interesting without being overbearing. This made Happily Bedded Bliss a great standalone, as well as making me curious enough about these characters to go back and meet them in their own stories.