Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.
She thinks he’s just plain mad…
Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn’t matter. She doesn’t care that his leg is less than perfect, it’s his personality she can’t abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless …
New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.
I think out of this series, Hugh has to be my favorite hero. I loved and felt for him on what he had to endure due to his injury, how he thought no woman would want him with his mangled leg. Plus he can be a bit grouchy and testy at times, which is different from the other heroes of this series. I guess I like to lean towards the hardened and injured heroes in stories.
Hugh, our hero was wounded in a duel by Daniel after a feud during a card game. Hugh is a genius with numbers, so there was no way that Daniel could of won the game. During the duel, Daniel accidentally shoots Hugh in the thigh, injuring him with a permanent limp, which he has to use a cane because of it. Our heroine is aware of our hero, but doesn’t care a lick for him, actually in all honesty, she detests him. Each time they cross paths, they always tend to bicker. But as each time their paths cross, the bickering tension lessens and they can have an actual civilized conversations. One evening at a party, Hugh sees Sarah dancing and he admires how graceful she is at it. She reminded him of all the things he never could do due to his leg but there at the very moment he would of sold his sole to dance with her.
While attending a wedding party, Sarah is being kind to Hugh, being considerate of his leg, rearranging the table so he’d be more comfortable sitting with his leg and he realizes that he wants her. He couldn’t understand how that was possible as he dislikes her and she him, but oh the feeling was there. Daniel and his rascal ways, pairs Hugh in the Pleinsworth carriage with Sarah, Elizabeth, Harriet, and Frances and this will not be a quiet nor dull carriage ride with them in his company. As they stop at an inn, the younger sisters begin to argue and push, causing Sarah to fall off the carriage step, taking Hugh with her and spraining her ankle in the process. Daniel finds Hugh drinking, and in an extremely black mood due to him not being able to catch Sarah as she fell due to his bummed leg. He would never be able to gather a woman in his arms and carry her away like Daniel had and that bothered him, made him feel like he was less of a man.
Hugh finds Sarah sitting in the hall, resting her leg and tries to apologize to her about her fall from the carriage. He also offers her his cane to walk with and shows her how to use it. Wither easy comrade between them now, they each agree on being friends. Later that evening, due to being injured, Sarah along with Hugh sit out at the sidelines, not participating in the family activities. Suddenly, Hugh gets up and asks her if she wants to dance. With the help of his cane, both him and Sarah manage a waltz together. After this night, their friendship turns flirtatious and they soon start to have feelings for one another.
All things seem rosy for each other until Sarah finds out Hugh’s secret, this bargain that he threatened his father with and causes him and Sarah to have a fight, leaving her crying. Sarah goes to Hugh’s father to ask him to drop the bargain Hugh made him make but his father takes Sarah and ties her up in a room, hoping to lure Hugh in to rescue her and have her reputation ruined and she’d be forced to marry him as he wants Hugh to marry, give him grandsons since his eldest son wont. Hugh’s father takes him to Sarah and ties him up as well, hoping his plan works. Daniel and Marcus learns of the goings on, comes to their rescue Afterwards Hugh gets up the gumption and asks Sarah to marry him.
I absolutely loved this one, a lot more than ANLT and JLH. There was just something special about it, perhaps the grumpy hero whom finely finds a woman whom he loves and loves him in return regardless of his bummed leg. Plus it always makes it interesting when an author starts out the relationship between the hero and heroine as somewhat non pleasant – loathsome perhaps – and then throughout the story, their feelings begin to change and soon they develop feelings for one another. Definitely a must read of this series.