Annabelle married her husband Thomas knowing that he did not love her and knowing that many would think her unworthy of the honor since she was an untitled, but wealthy American, and he was heir to a dukedom. That does not stop that pain when a vicious cartoon is published that shows her husband with another, very young woman, and two children; insinuating that he married her for her money so he could support his other family. Thomas is horrified at the cartoons and knows he should have told his wife the truth before their marriage; the young woman and oldest child are his children from a previous marriage when he was very young and the baby is supposedly his grandchild. Thomas and Annabelle dance around the issues between them but the problem serves to bring them closer together as they get to know each other better, mostly in the bedroom, and bond over the experience of being gossiped about. Suddenly each of them discover feelings for the other and they both want more than the marriage of convenience they had entered into.
This was another short story but it certainly managed to pack a lot of emotions and problems into so short a space and while I enjoyed the angst and turmoil that accompanied the issues in the story I did feel like some back ground was sacrificed and I am not really a fan of books where the relationship picks up halfway through. I did not feel like Annabelle or Thomas was very developed, perhaps because they already knew each other and thus it was not as necessary. Annabelle was incredibly strong in the face of such a horrible experience and held her own against the gossips and her judgmental father-in-law. Thomas was more difficult to like because of the secrets he had been keeping- especially since it seemed so unnecessary for him to have kept them. The experience definitely brought them closer together and I could see how their former, rather distant relationship had stagnated, while this forced them to discover feelings they had for each other and fall in love. There was a lot of sex for so short a book and it was really hot and spread throughout the book.