With This Ring - Celeste Bradley

Series: Worthingtons (Book 3)

THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Elektra Worthington is the lovely middle daughter of the eccentric, impoverished Worthington family. Her beauty means nothing to her except as her currency to return the Worthington name to its former glory. To this end, she will stop at nothing--even if she must kidnap a rich lord in the process. If this lucky gentleman is just returning from a long absence and knows nothing of the Worthington reputation, well, a girl shouldn't look a gift lord in the mouth...right?

 

THE PRICE OF PASSION

Lord Aaron Arbogast, returning to England after a decade-old scandal--of which he was not truly guilty, but instead took the blame out of loyalty to a good friend--is the last of his line. He will someday become the Earl of Arbodean and inherit the estate...if, that is, he can prove to his ailing grandfather that he is a reformed man. Falling for a woman like Miss Worthington could cost him everything. But his desire for her? Priceless..." 

 

Good story about two people who want to do what is best for their families. Elektra feels that it is up to her to marry well and help restore her family's fortunes. She has one man in mind, but when she discovers a recently returned to England lord staying at the same inn she is, one who knows nothing about the reputation of her family, she comes up with the idea to kidnap him. But things don't go quite the way she planned.

 

Aaron has come home after ten years away, ready to make peace with his grandfather. All he has to do is show his grandfather that he's no longer the irresponsible man he used to be. Unfortunately for his plans, his encounter with Elektra has him tempted back to the wild side. 

 

Aaron can't believe he's been kidnapped and is convinced the young woman is quite mad. He convinces her that he's actually his valet, gaining his release. In spite of his reputation, he really is a gentleman, and can't leave Elektra and her cousin to make their way to London alone, so still posing as a servant, he escorts them on their journey. Being a Worthington, nothing Elektra does could be uneventful, and their trip has its challenges. 

 

I liked Aaron. Since being banished ten years earlier, he has put aside his wild ways. He's determined to show his grandfather that he has changed and is capable of taking his rightful place. I liked the way that he took care of his valet when he was taken ill, and enjoyed the conversations between them. I also liked the way that he took care of Elektra the night of the kidnapping. I liked how his protectiveness extended to making sure she and her cousin Bliss made it home safely. What he doesn't expect is to be so attracted to her, and that has him very worried, because getting involved with her could ruin everything. On the journey to London, and after their arrival, he begins to realize that she isn't actually mad, she just has a unique way of carrying out her plans. He sees that she is sacrificing so much for her family, and they are blind to it. There's a great scene where he tries to explain things to her brothers, but they are still oblivious. When Aaron realizes that she has found her way into his heart, he knows he should leave her alone, because his scandalous past isn't going to help her cause. The revelation of who he really is creates more drama, and he has to decide if loving Elektra is worth the problems it may cause.

 

Elektra was quite a character. She had great plans for how she wanted to help her family, but her Worthington impulsiveness had her abandoning those plans to kidnap Aaron. When that didn't turn out the way she wanted, she went back to the original idea, but first she had to get back to London. It was fun to see her work her magic on Aaron to get him to accompany them. There was something about him that made her feel safe. The more time she spends with him, the less she wants to follow through on her original plans. When she realizes that she loves him, she faces the fact that marrying a servant isn't going to help her family, but that they would support her. When the truth of who he is comes out, she feels betrayed, and considers accepting another's proposal.

 

I loved the final scenes, as Aaron makes his decision on what he wants for his future. What he did then was so "Worthington" that it was obvious he would fit right in. I also liked how the truth of the scandal came out. It was great to see how he tried to keep his word about maintaining the secret, but Elektra's ability to understand the male brain (as she reminds him "I have five brothers") has her figuring out the truth. The icing on the cake was facing his grandfather together and how that worked out.

 

The secondary characters were also wonderful. I liked the scenes with Elektra's brother Lysander. He is such a complicated man, dealing with the after effects of the war. I ache for him and his unhappiness. It is going to take a special woman to help him through the darkness and I'm really looking forward to his story. The youngest Worthington, Atalanta (Attie) is still the strangest one of the family. She is very intelligent, but doesn't seem to have a moral compass. She doesn't like the idea of her siblings marrying and moving away and has come up with some harebrained ways to stop it from happening. It is going to be very interesting when it comes time for her story. There is also the ever wonderful Mr. Button and his assistant Cabot, and the wonderful gowns they create for the ladies. Their own story is sweet and heartbreaking as they want the same thing, but fears keep them apart. I hope there will be more of them in future books, and that things will eventually work out.