Synopsis: Lady Molly Fairbanks ran off to elope with her father’s assistant, but he deserted her at an inn for Lord Harry Traemore’s mistress. By that point Molly had already decided she didn’t want to marry such an oaf, so she didn’t much mind except she was left with her childhood nemesis. Harry did very much mind because he and five other men were part of a contest created by the Prince Regent in which the man with the “Most Delectable” mistress wins. If Harry doesn’t show up with a companion then, by default, he loses and so he convinces Molly to fill in… but a least likely mistress there never was.
Plot: Harry convinces Molly to be his “mistress in name only” for one week in attempt to win the competition, but she makes for a really poor mistress having been raised in a very strict boarding school. Harry attempts to teach her how to be alluring, but soon realizes that Molly just being herself is alluring to him. Harry has to find a way to win the competition without compromising Molly’s honour and keeping her true identity a secret from the other contenders.
Hook: There have been novels about hiring a member of the demi-monde to pretend an engagement to avoid marriage, but not often do you see one where a lady is pretending to be a courtesan to help a man avoid marriage.
Location: The story takes place is in the English countryside at a “hunting box”, which is actually a three-story manor with many rooms and plenty of servants. It has gardens, fields, lakes, berry bushes, climbing trees, everything you’d expect from a home in the country.
Romance: One of the most interesting love stories is that of childhood enemies falling in love after they have reached adulthood. Molly and Harry have been antagonists since they were young and kept up their antics for eight years. But becoming part of the same team to win Prinny’s contest has thrown them together and realize that they don’t dislike each other as much as they thought.
Quote: “I still hate you,” Molly said. “Just so you know.”
The Verdict: I actually passed over this book for a different novel of the Impossible Bachelors series thinking I wouldn’t care for it, but was quickly proved wrong. I definitely need to acquire the whole collection!