Just realised another reason why James and Cassie’s story is in my mind today- the manor house we visited yesterday would be perfect for James’ home- old money, large and comfortable but not too flashy, close to London. That guy I saw drive through the gates in an Audi TT could have been James!
Now I wish I’d thought to take photos… spent ages searching the net and can’t find any. It wasn’t at all like this, this is Dudmaston, a manor house a long way away owned by the National Trust, but the photo captures the general feeling- mellow old brick hung with climbing plants, small multi-paned windows, gravelled drive, lawned grounds sweeping down from the house-
The catering firm Cassie works for does an important business dinner here for James, that’s how they meet. But its a crisis time for him- he has unexpectedly inherited the family wealth after the sudden death of both his father and his older brother. He rises to the challenge and gives up his playboy motor-racing life to take control of the family business interests, but unknown to him, there is an enemy within the company who will stop at nothing to prevent this. James has to convince the investors and the board of directors that he has settled down, let go of his wild hard-living past. He needs a wife. The fates drop Cassie right in front of him. She is far from perfect for the role of Lady of the Manor- a struggling artist, working nights as a waitress so she can follow her creative dreams; with a past that contains a secret that could destroy her. Yet Cassie finds herself agreeing to his demand that she become his wife for a year. She knows it is a totally unsuitable arrangement, but it will give each of them what they think they most want. Just two problems- how can she bear to walk away from James when the year is up, and what will she do when the worst nightmares of her past step out to ruin her present? Can she face her secret demons and find the courage to choose love?
Meanwhile, James’ attraction to the beautiful, unconventional Cassie deepens. Can passion be part of a relationship that is meant to be purely a business contract? And if that passion becomes love, will the choices he is forced to make put all he is fighting for in his business at risk?