This time out, I have Kit Donner's The Vengeful Bridegroom (Zebra, received from publisher). Gabriel Westcott has been plotting revenge on Matthew Colgate for a long time, and when the opportunity arises to take that revenge, he grabs it, or rather, her: Gabriel weds Matthew's sister Madeline by posing as the man Matthew intended her to wed in order to win a lot of money on a bet. Even Madelene doesn't know until the deed is done who her husband really is, and then she knows she's got a lot more trouble than her brother losing the family home due to his gambling debts. What she doesn't know, however, is that even aside from his revenge on her brother, Gabriel has wanted her since he saw her on the dueling field after his challenge to her brother last year, despite the stories that circulate about her jilting more than one fiance in recent years. He has an idea that the Madelene the public knows isn't quite the real woman, and he's about to find out for himself all about her, despite her attempts to escape their marriage. Neither realizes at first the danger they're in, either, and she's determined not to open her heart to the wicked man she's found herself married to, no matter how deep the attraction between them, even after there's no possible legal means for an annulment. I wanted to like Madelene more than I actually did. Gabriel is much more a likable character, I thought, though it takes him an exceedingly long time to admit to his feelings. I don't know that I'd call this one a keeper, but it's certainly an enjoyable way to spend an autumn afternoon. I'm borrowing three of Cupid's five arrows for this one.
Until next time, happy reading!