This short e-book-only novella tells a second chance at love romance and introduces us to the heroine of Neville's next novel, The Importance of Being Wicked.
Five years ago, Eleanor Hardwick and Max Quinton had a whirlwind romance and one lovely night together. The next morning, she learned that it was the result of a bet Max had made with his friends. She refused his marriage offer, decamped and returned his letters unopened. Now they find themselves in the same neighborhood, she chaperoning her young, headstrong cousin Caro, and he overseeing his ward's property and preparing him to take over the reins when Robert turns 21 in a few weeks. Max is thrilled to see Eleanor again and to have another chance to win her. Eleanor is not so sure.
Max wears his heart on his sleeve and is delightfully besotted. Eleanor, on the other hand, is very closed and cautious, not just about Max, but about the very idea of marriage. Caro and Robert fall in love at first sight and Eleanor and Max have their hands full keeping an eye on the young couple, but it puts them in each other's company and begins to soften up Eleanor.
I liked Max, Eleanor not as much, but the big problem for me is that what keeps Max and Eleanor apart are not one, but two misunderstandings. I have a low threshold for the Big Mis plotline anyway, and to have two of them was a bit much. Thankfully, this is a short story, so they don't last long, but my patience with Eleanor did run a bit thin.
As always, Neville's writing is excellent, with a lot of humorous bits and heartfelt moments, and offers a fun preview of Caro (whose upcoming December book is really very good).
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, October 29, 2012