This is the fourth book in the series about 4 Hathaway sisters and 1 brother. Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite authors, and I loved this book lots. My book has a different cover, with white roses, very pretty too.
He is everything she wants to avoid ...
For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters - a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response - and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.
She is not at all what she seems ...
Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine's respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intrguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to seperate them forever - unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires ...
When he was young, Leo lost his fiancée to scarlet fever, and nearly died from it himself, as well as his second sister Win. But he survived, when he begged to be left to die. And insane with grief, he tried to kill himself with liquor, women, even opium. Till his family intervened in the nick of time and send him off to France with his sister, to watch over her recovery.
And there Leo found himself again, and regained his love for architecture, his chosen profession before he inherited the title of Viscount Ramsay and the estate that went with it.
So now, three sisters are married, it is his turn. Due to a strange clause in the titles of the estate, he will have to be married and sire a son within five years of inheriting. Four of those years have passed by, and if Leo failes to meet the requirements, they will loose the house they all so lovingly restored.
So his sisters organise a ball, meant for Leo to find eligible young woman to choose from. But Leo already has his sights set at Catherine Marks, his sisters’ governess and companion. But Cat has secrets of her own, and he is determined to unveil them.
As a young girl, Cat has sent by her dying mother to live with her grandmother and aunt, the mother of the father who left them. When she is fifteen, she finds out they run a brothel, and she is meant to become one of the whores. Frantic to find a means of escape, in her grandmothers desk she finds a letter from the halfbrother she never knew she had, to send for him when ever she needs him. And behold, Harry Rutledge rescues her in the nick of time.
She then is send to a boarding school in Scotland, where she stays for the next four years, and then teaches for another two. The headmistress wants her to start her own life by then, and tells her of the unusual family Hathaway, who are looking for a governess, to teach them the rules of society. So Cat goes, and is happy there, if for the Lord of the Manor who loves to argue with her, criticize her.
But then the time comes for Cat to be acknowledged as Harry’s sister, and to be brought about in public. The worst thing happens, she is recognized by the lecherous lord who purchased her all those years ago, and he wants to have her! But Leo saves her, and he wants to marry her. Not only to keep the mansion in the family, but because he is attracted to her. Although he has sworn never to fall in love again, never to grieve like that again, he cannot stop his feelings for Cat. But can Cat learn to trust a man, to love a man, and believe that this rake has changed his ways?
A good book, fast paced, with some nice love scenes, but one of the stars of the book undoubtedly is the ferret Dodger. I loved to read more about the other members of the family, but the focus is firmly on Leo and Cat. I will wait impatiently for the fifth and final novel in this series. Is there a man out there for Beatrix and all her animals?