When Leah of Pecham is rescued from a shipwreck by the heroic acts of a stranger, she feels responsible for that man’s fate. The man she knows only as Geoffrey is injured in the melee after securing a spot for Leah on a lifeboat and she feels as if she is to blame. Refusing to believe that Geoffrey has perished in the tragedy, she searches until she finds his badly injured body floating in the wreckage of their ship.
Compelled by both responsibility and care for the man, Leah nurses Geoffrey, vowing to make his last moments comfortable. It is the least she can do for the man who saved her life. The doctors tell her that Geoffrey will surely die. His injuries are many and include a terrible blow to the head and this is unsurvivable. As a last-ditch effort to honor Geoffrey, Leah purchases passage for both of them and then begin the journey to her father’s lands. To her shock, the residents of the small town that has looked after the shipwreck victims assume that she is Geoffrey’s wife, and Leah allows them to believe the lie.
Against all odds, Geoffrey survives the trip and Leah is forced to lie to her father and brother. She rationalizes that her lies will come to no harm and will just allow a good, heroic man a lasting place on her family lands. Plus, arriving home with a husband might help to repair her reputation that was ruined when she ran off with the captain of a smuggling vessel.
As Leah settles into this life of duplicity, she never imagines that the brave stranger might live under her tender care. He begins to heal, though remains unable to tell her family about the lie that simmers between them. Can Leah protect the untruth? Can she protect her heart from the man everyone knows is her husband?
The Ideal Husband, starts off with a bang and the action and emotional intensity never ends. Shari Anton pulled me in with the action and kept me riveted with the depth of emotion between Leah and Geoffrey. She so exquisitely illustrates the subtle chemistry between characters present in gentle caring touches, showing this reader that sexual attraction appears on vastly different levels. The Ideal Husband is a must, both for historical romance fans and anyone who likes their romances brimming with mutual attraction and strong emotion.