28 April 2013

Beauty and the Blacksmith (Spindle Cove #3.5)

Summary from Goodreads:

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects...

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman. At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords. The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes. By birth and fortune, they couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?

Diana is the reason the Highwood ladies came to Spindle Cove in the first place: to cure her asthma so she can return to London and snare a suitably rich, titled husband. Since they've been there, though, blue-stocking Minerva has snared repentant rake/rich viscount Colin Sandhurst (see the hilarious and hot second Spindle Cove novel, A Week to be Wicked) and Diana has fallen hopelessly in love/lust with the Spindle Cove blacksmith. If Mrs. Highwood knew that was the reason Diana was always having things mended at the forge - so she can ogle Aaron's sweaty muscles - she just might expire. Aaron Dawes has dating issues. Having grown up in Spindle Cove with two sisters and all their friends, fixing all their broken items, well, he sees the available women of his class as sisters, too. Not very conducive to finding a future wife. Diana, though, is clean and fresh and beautiful...and a lady. Ladies do not marry blacksmiths. Ever. Ever, ever, ever. Until one day, Aaron takes a chance and calls Diana on her frequent visits to the forge. Pushing Diana just that little bit cracks open her resolve - she has always been the golden child, doing what her mother wants, but this time she's going to do what she wants.

Beauty and the Blacksmith is a lovely, sweet, fan-yo'self novella timed just right to tide eager Spindle Cove readers over until the publication of Any Duchess Will Do at the end of May. I had always wondered who Diana might get for her hero because she seemed to like Spindle Cove a great deal and her mother's plans not quite so much. And Aaron, like Corporal Thorne, is a bit of fresh air - not a nobleman, not a rake, just a good guy trying to get by in the world so you can't help but be in his corner from page one. The romance moves very quickly in this novella but Dare didn't skimp on the signature Spindle Cove humor. Diana's run-in with the eel was hilarious and the whole Mr. Evermoore running gag helped sew up the plot perfectly.

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