Tired of chasing beautiful widows and fleeing young ladies bent on marriage, the desirable Earl of Granby, Norton Foxhall, decides instead to travel to Winchcombe in search of a stallion to improve his stables. Nearly there, he literally collides with a beautiful young lady sitting astride the perfect stallion. Granby soon learns that the young woman is Catherine Hardwick, daughter of the stallion’s owner. Realizing that Miss Hardwick would not wish her father to find out that she had carelessly careened into him, Granby demands a kiss for his silence. And we all know where one kiss — the right kiss — can lead.
Catherine Hardwick is the indulged only child of Sir Warren Hardwick, a headstrong beauty who has no interest in marriage due to the unhappy marriages of several of her friends. Catherine’s only wish is to remain in Winchcombe and one day take over the running of her father’s stables. Her aunt, however, has other plans for Catherine and has recently convinced Sir Warren that Catherine should travel with her to London for the season to be introduced to worthy eligible young men.
Worried that her father might actually sell the stallion to Lord Granby, Catherine agrees to a season in London even though she it’s the last thing she wants, if her father will give the stallion to her. Never one to deny his daughter, the horse becomes Catherine’s, to the actual delight of Lord Granby who decides that he will acquire the stallion through its seductive new owner. Catherine, though not interested in marriage, nevertheless can’t resist the Earl’s kisses, and they are soon caught in a compromising position. Desirous of protecting Catherine’s reputation, Lord Granby asks for Sir Warren’s permission to marry Catherine. Is it possible for this marriage of convenience to evolve into real love? Or was it just lust all along?
The dialogue between Catherine and Granby is excellent, always letting the reader know where each stands in their feelings towards each other at any particular time. Ms. Waddell’s descriptions set the timeframe and area very well, and it is refreshing to meet a young woman of this era without marriage foremost in her mind. For those readers who love miniseries, He Said No is the second of the “Gentleman’s Club” series, following He Said Yes, with two more forthcoming.