Elizabeth Ashburton & Rowland Manning
Historical - British Regency
Elizabeth Ashburton lives behind a charming, happy façade in an effort to forget her former life. But when she is forced to confront the devil from her past, her friends in the dowager duchess’s widows club can not save her, and Elizabeth turns to the last man on earth willing to help her…
The extraordinarily powerful Rowland Manning has never pretended to be anything but a bastard, in every way imaginable. Through innate grit and determination, he built an astonishing empire and he’ll do anything and everything to save it. Yet, the one thing he secretly craves . . . something even he cannot name, can never be purchased with his kingdom of riches.
Each has something to win. Each has something to lose. Only love will determine if the price of redemption and sacrifice is too high. (author's website)
Elizabeth Asbhurton has a secret. She is also running from someone who really wants to marry her, but he happens to be someone she cannot trust, so she runs into the arms of Mr. Rowland Manning (tall, dark, and handsome - why would you not run into his arms?).
I don't really remember the back-story with Rowland, but apparently he has done some low, scum-like things in previous books: something along the lines of kidnapping someone and trying to hold her ransom...from his legitimate, half-brother. But then, you find out Rowland's past and you realize why he is the way that he is.
One thing that was really interesting was Rowland's dislike of food and of hunger, in general. When Elizabeth runs into his arms, he covers for her and demands that she repay her debt by temporarily working as a housekeeper and cook in his home. Rowland works hard and spares little time and resources for unimportant things like food. She sees this and cooks him (and his men) sumptuous meals, forcing him to eat it as he tries to deny it.
It's pretty much representative of the love he feels for her.
But in the end, all of the nastiness gets solved and Elizabeth gets him, despite having sacrificed herself (in having plans to marry untrustworthy man to save Rowland).
Aw! Happily ever afters are awesome!
Bottom line: Good read. Alice recommends!