Delaney McFarland is on the hunt for a husband—preferably one who needs her embarrassingly large dowry more than a dutiful wife. After the unspeakable incident at her debut, Delaney knows marrying for love is off the table, but a marriage of convenience—one that leaves her free to live the life she chooses—is the next best thing, never mind what that arrogant, devilishly handsome Mr. Croft thinks. Delaney plans to marry for money . . . or not at all.
Ever since the fiery redhead burst into his life—in a most memorable way—Griffin Croft hasn't been able to get Miss McFarland out of his mind. Now, with the maddening woman determined to hand over her fortune to a rake, Griffin knows he must step in. He must help her. He must not kiss her. But when Griffin's noble intentions flee in a moment of unexpected passion, his true course becomes clear: tame Delaney's wild heart and save her from a fate worse than death . . . a life without love.
Let me start off by saying I've enjoyed Lorret's "Wallflower Weddings" stories quite a bit and I've wanted to know the deal between Delaney & Croft for a while. Between her reaction and her friends reaction I expected something far more scandalous then the...Incident. Admittedly yes it was kind of horrid and I could see how the first few weeks (maybe months) after there would be talk, but Delaney took it much too far.
A year has passed since the Incident and in that time she has successfully managed to NEVER be in Croft's presence at ANY function. This is a point drilled home numerous times throughout. Yet Delaney is CERTAIN absolutely 100% certain that if she so much as looks at him the scandal sheets will be on fire. And this is where the story often lost me. All the characters alternate between believing she's right and tut-tutting her for being ridiculous, often contradicting something they said the chapter before.
And while Delaney is constantly checking the papers for any mention of her and Croft being in the same place at the same time, no one seemed to care but her. Let me repeat that--no one cared but her. So all her machinations are basically for no discernible reason, especially as by avoiding him she was giving rise to far more speculation.
There are also several other plot points which kind of dangle and then drift away. Or in the case of her parents' and their relationship informing upon her, take a sudden 180 turn for weird.
I honestly had no problems with Croft throughout, other then some weird thing about his Uncle being kind of a bully towards him for childhood problems (which kind of came out of left field) he was in general entertaining and loveable. Considering off disjointed Delaney's actions/mannerisms were I wasn't surprised he was confused by her at all.
Delaney's friends make occasional appearances, but this takes place mostly during the same time as WINNING MISS WAKEFIELD, so there's not a whole lot of interacting. OH that was the other thing I was thoroughly frustrated by - Delaney goes on at length that her friends would abandon her if they knew she couldn't so much as do a stitch of needlepoint. These are the same friends that have shown more loyalty to each other then to their suitors on more then one occasion. Hell they show more loyalty to each other then to their own blood relatives! I didn't understand how after a year or more in each other's company she would come to that conclusion.