Society shuns Belinda Presleigh when her mother's scheme results in a forced marriage offer from the Earl of Berrington, the man she loves in secret. Three nights of passion on the road while traveling with her new husband who has softened somewhat toward her, leave Belinda totally unprepared for the violent and dangerous rejection she encounters from his family at his home, Winterhill.
At the age of 13, when trespassing on woods adjacent to her family's land, Belinda Presleigh sees Lord Richard Berrington, who has just come home from the war, swimming naked in a stream. From that moment on she can see no one but him and locks this painful love in her heart, knowing that exposure would only bring ridicule. She knows she cannot compete with the beautiful girls to whom he is attracted. Her mother, though, having lost her eldest daughter to pneumonia, has hopes of regaining her lost social status through Belinda, and plots to place Lord Berrington in a compromising situation with Belinda, forcing him to an offer of marriage. Belinda realizes her mother's plot too late, and yet, when forced to decide her future, it is not her mother's insistence that convinces her to accept an offer of marriage she knows has been forced on the earl, but the realization that this is the only chance at happiness she will ever have, for she cannot envision a life in which she will never see Richard Berrington again. Publisher's URL: http://booklocker.com/books/380.html
Belinda, who had been unable to close her eyes, had during the last few minutes, started to doze off. She now froze as the door opened and Lord Berrington walked into the bedroom. The room shrank in size with his presence, a presence that overwhelmed Belinda with its maleness and authority.
In the dim candlelight she followed his progress as he tossed his coat over a chair and filled two goblets with wine. He came over where Belinda lay, her body as tense and straight as a board. She was trembling from head to foot.
"Drink this," Berrington ordered. "It will ease the tension in you. I don't know what you have been told about this night, but it's obvious you were terrorized by their words. Forget what you've been told. This business is very much like learning to swim. The best thing is to plunge right into it. It won't be as bad as you imagine, I assure you. Drink your wine, now.
Free excerpt(First 4 chapters) at booklocker.com:
historicalromancewriters.com, Marilyn Rondeau, RIO REVIEWER
This was my first novel by Gloria Gay and I will look forward to more offerings by her.
This novel was somewhat of a Cinderella story with not a wicked step-mother but rather, the mother from hell. Shunned and mostly forgotten her first 13 years of life in lieu of an older sisters beauty, Belinda came to believe herself to be unattractive and not worthy. But, she had a secret love for the neighboring Earl of Berrington, since she first saw him at the age of 13.
Enter the pushy ambitious mother who tricks both into a compromising position and a forced offer of marriage. With such a start and the Earl thinking Belinda part of the scheme, this was not a match made in heaven. Not only a bad start but Belinda is then left, after a few days of the marriage consummation, with the "jealous" sister-in-law whose pettiness is nothing short of torture. Trying to maintain his fury at having been tricked into the marriage, Richard, Earl of Berrington, must fight his arousal of the mouse he is now married to.
This was a very nice story, that moved swiftly and I enjoyed very much. A very delightful read.
ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEW-Susan Mobley
FORCED OFFER left me with mixed emotions. While it succeeded at whetting my appetite for another story focused on specific secondary characters, there are some historical inaccuracies and the hero and heroine would have benefited from a more in-depth characterization.
aromancereview.com - Debbie
From newcomer Gloria Gay, Forced Offer is another wonderful addition to her growing booklist.
This is a very enchanting story of love, for better or for worse. I loved this story. Ms. Gay’s stories are getting better and better with each one. I predict that she has a very bright future in the romance genre. This is a definite keeper to your romance library.