Bride by Mistake
by Anne Gracie
Published January 3, 2012 by Berkley
For nearly a decade, Isabella has waited like a princess locked in a tower, dreaming of her handsome, dark-eyed prince. Her dreams are shattered when Luke reveals himself not as a prince, but an autocratic soldier, expecting her unquestioning obedience, which is something Isabella's fiercely independent nature will not tolerate.
And while Luke and Isabella’s fiery personalities clash at every turn, they remain bound to their vows, never expecting that the passionate fury they share could become passion of a different kind…
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We finally learn the tale of Luke Ripton, the most reckless of the Devil Riders. His time as a Lieutenant in the war has left scars, both emotional and physical. He seems to fling himself through each new day with little concern for his well being. His friends and family are naturally worried for him. You can imagine their great shock (and a little hope) when they learn that he has been married for eight years(!) and he must travel to Spain to collect his bride.
Isabella was fleeing from a terrible fate when she met Luke for the first time. Gallant and strong, he swept in like a knight in shining armor to save her. He married her to give her the protection of his name and then promptly left her on her Aunt’s convent doorstep.
The reunion of Luke and Isabella does not go the way either imagined it to. Luke really wants an annulment so that he can search for a proper wife, and Isabella has been dreaming of the day her husband will come for her for eight long years. As they travel across Spain with a deadline looming, they are forced into tight quarters and intimate situations. Luke and Isabella realize they are not the same people who first met so long ago, but they just might be able to fall in love with the people they are now.
Luke is the perfect damaged, troubled hero. I spent many chapters waiting for him to finally open up to someone and cheered loudly when he received the closure he so desperately needed. Isabella is headstrong and resilient, but she’s carrying around a childhood shame that weighs heavily on her. She too has a chance for closure and finally forgives herself for her past mistake.
This was a slightly different twist on Anne Gracie’s other Devil Riders stories, as it took place almost entirely out of England. I really enjoyed Luke and Isabella’s story, with its sweet romance, igniting passion, and dangerous adventure. I would have liked to see a bit more of them interacting with his family and friends in England, but the Epilogue was more than satisfactory.