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Hell will freeze over before Miss Philomena Aubrey willingly marries the insufferable Honorable Luther Whyte. Her mother had angled Mina’s quite hefty dowry in front of the vicar and secured him, but Mina still resisted. When Mrs. Aubrey threatens to force her into the marriage, Mina’s father hides his daughter with a friend of his as he leaves for an extended business trip.
A wounded war hero, burdened by guilt after inadvertently sending his French fiancée to death, Lord James Darling keeps his family as far away from his tormented heart as possible. But as he keeps bumping into his mother’s new lady’s maid, he grows suspicious—is she a spy?—and sets out to expose her, only to find himself mesmerized by her feistiness and her warm heart.
Thirteen years ago, at her senior prom, Gillian Crane did the unthinkable – she became drunk for the first time and lost her virginity to an unknown man. Later, when she found out she was pregnant, her unloving, unyielding mother threw her out and told her never to return.
Gillian succeeds in building a new life for herself in New York City, vowing never to see her childhood home again. But when she learns her mother is dying, she drags her twelve-year-old daughter back to hell on earth, also known as Barnesville. Once again caught in small town life amongst old friends and enemies, her past comes back to haunt her, turning her world upside down as the question still remains. Who is the father of her child?
When her domineering fiancé cheats on her, pastry chef Kate Sweet trades the city for her hometown of Barnesville and works as a waitress in her parents' diner. Lonely and insecure, she tries to start over but instead runs into Michael Hart, the boyfriend who sent her away after he was paralyzed in a tractor accident. All her old feelings for him return in full, but Michael is just about to get married to someone else — her old rival for everything back in their school days.
Michael is drawn to Kate again but resents that she left him. He doesn’t remember how pain and painkillers changed his behavior and made him so sorry for himself he literally ordered her to go.
Now she must decide whose happiness is more important, his, now that he has a fiancée, or hers…with him. How can it be both?
Lady Penelope de Vere has been in love with Rake for as long as she can remember, daydreaming over him constantly. But as her debut in the ton comes closer, she decides to finally let go of her silly childhood dream and accept someone else's wish to court her, someone who appreciates a quiet, book-filled life as she does. She wants marriage and, despite all the hints she throws his way, Rake only wants a mistress...she thinks. Lord Richard Darling has known Penny since she was a child and not once thought of her as anything but his niece's best friend and a very convenient scone-fetcher. That is, not until he happens upon her swimming in the lake at Chester Park dressed only in her thin chemise. A most eligible bachelor with a libertine reputation, he suddenly finds the girl he's always appreciated has turned into a woman he could love forever. So why won't she accept his proposal?