Certain individuals might consider Lady Amelia Pembroke a managing sort of female, but truly, most people would be lost without her help. Why, the latest on-dit is that rakish Viscount Sheffield is canceling the fête of the year because he hasn’t time for silly soirees. He doesn’t need time—he needs her!
When a flash of lightning destroys the venue for his family’s annual Christmas ball, Lord Benedict Sheffield intends to enjoy a relaxing holiday for once. But after twelve days of beguiling Lady Amelia’s guerrilla tactics, he’s up to his cravat with tinsel . . . and tumbling head over heels in love
Received from Netgalley in exchange for a review.
This is a short story and a standalone prequel to Erica’s series of The Dukes of War.
Amelia Penbroke is a woman totally in control of her life and that of her brother and his household. She hears that the Lord Sheffield is intent on cancelling the 75th (the 75th!) Christmas Eve ball, for the minor excuse that the traditional place for the ball has been burnt down. She musters all her organisational skills to ensure that the dance goes ahead – for no better reason that it’s her last chance to secure a husband from the right kind of stock.
Lord Sheffield tries to split his time equally between business and pleasure, to the point he has a bit of a reputation for hitting the scandal sheets. However, he is soon confronted with the unmovable force of Amelia Pembroke, whose energy and organisational capabilities are second to none.
Benedict is soon bowled over with Amelia, who in turn realises that sometimes not being in control and able to predict everything is perhaps rather enjoyable and exciting. Within a week, the two of them are in love, and it only takes the Christmas Eve party for them to admit to each other what they really feel.
Most of the story is spent with Amelia pretending that Benedict actually has a choice in what happens that Christmas. In return, Benedict throws in some unexpected curve balls for Amelia (such as the need to kiss her) that shakes her already secure position in life.
As a novella, this is a short story, and the secondary characters were sparse and lightly written (dont know if they appear in other stories). As such, the story is a decent enough standalone story for an otherwise busy time of year. The ‘spice level’ is mild, with the main characters not going beyond the occasional kiss. There is enough of a hint as to Benedict’s previous behaviour as a rake and a cad, and enough examples to show how, at 29 years old, Amelia is well in control of her surroundings. Neither character are portrayed as annoying or necessarily in the wrong, but how they can compliment each other