Lady Xenobia 'Lady X' India St. Clair wants to start a family and the thing that scares her the most about marriage is the fact another individual, her husband, would be in charge of every aspect of her life--what she could do, whom she could see, where she could go, etc. She is looking for a man who will let her be in charge and won't try to control her.
One letter, however, will put these two in each other's path and change everything:
Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is in high demand not only by the men in society but by the women too. She has spent the past ten years building a career out of refurbishing and reordering the households of London's most elite with the help of her godmother, Lady Adelaide Swift. Over that time, she's received both indecent and respectable proposals from various male members of the ton. She's never been tempted to accept either type of offer. Goodness knows, once she marries, her husband would have total control over all she does and that is a scary endeavor. She'd learned a valuable lesson as a child when she had to rely on her parents for everything. They often forgot to do the little things--like feed her--and she never wishes to be that vulnerable ever again. The whole experience had left her with issues of trust. Now she's decided it's time to face her fears and settle down and start a family. She just needs to find the right man. A man who is malleable and easily manipulated. The one thing I love about Lady X is that she knows her own self worth and has managed to survive on her own terms since the age of 14 or 15 (double check) when her parents left her practically penniless.
Tobias Dautry comes from humble beginnings. He is the bastard son of a Duke and an Opera singer who'd both abandoned him early on in life. He lived a life on the streets for twelve years that very nearly killed him before his father decided to take an interest in his illegitimate offspring. He's grown into the type of man who likes to control all aspects of his life and everyone in it. Being as he's rich as Midas, he usually gets away with it.
While wise in many respects, Tobias' thoughts of women are that they are interchangeable, with the exception of his stepmother, whom he's grown very fond of and whom he feels they broke the mold after she was made. So his requirements for a wife are rather lax in that he only wants three things in a wife--someone who comes from a good family, someone whom he is attracted physically to, and most importantly someone who will never abandon her children as his mother did him. What I don't think he realizes is that he would like a love match like his father and stepmother have. To him, however, it seems like something out of his reach perhaps due to the lack of affection he received as a child. I think his mother's abandonment affected him more than he realizes and he doesn't have a good grasp on how to show his affection.
What I loved about these two is that both thought they knew exactly the kind of individual they wanted to marry, but were both wrong. I liked seeing these two get to know one another over the course of three weeks. They're first impressions of one another were not very high, but through correspondence and meetings they get to know each other in a way they probably wouldn't have otherwise. Each needs someone who will challenge as well as respect them. I enjoyed seeing Tobias realize a woman could do more than warm his bed, she can be someone he could confide in and have valid opinions worth considering. I admit at times I wondered what each was thinking as they did things which had me shaking my head, but in the end everything gets ironed out. Additionally, the grand gesture Tobias makes at the end while incredibly foolhardy was also incredibly romantic and for this reason I gave this book 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scores a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.