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There is a saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” No one knows this better than Lady Judith O’Neil. She has to invent a husband, and fast. Collectors are breathing down her ailing grandmother’s neck and the only way to make them stop is to pay them. What money Judith has is tied up in her inheritance and her father has added a stipulation. In order to receive the money she must marry.
Judith’s keen mind develops a plan to fool her father into thinking she has fulfilled his condition. The plan requires outside help though. Her faithful servants will find the perfect man for the job as Judith’s counterfeit husband. She gets the surprise of her life when Andrew Dean stands before her as their choice. Not that he is unattractive. Quite the opposite. Judith knew how the stable hand looked in the buff because she witnessed him bathing earlier in the day. His belligerent treatment of her, however, made him the least perfect man to be her husband. Time is not on her side. Judith must settle for Mr. Dean and hope he can pull off his role convincingly.
She doesn’t have good memories of her step-mother and step-sister. Because of their strained relationship Judith plans to stay long enough to get her money and then head back to Scotland. Again her ideas are thwarted when the visit to England is prolonged. Andrew seems to enjoy the play they are forced to enact and volunteers them to stay with Judith’s step-sister while her parents leave due to medical concerns. Now, Judith is stuck playing the loving wife a bit longer. But when her step-sister decides she wants Andrew for herself, Judith finds her feelings toward Andrew has changed. The lines between truth and fiction blur as Judith plans to turn her charade into reality.
Vows of Deception by Phyllis Campbell is a sensual novel of a woman taking her fate into her own hands during a time it wasn’t the standard. It is not historically accurate, but it is fast-paced and has a well-rounded plot.