Publication date: March 30, 2013
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Eleanor Abbington's first meeting with her new step-cousin Nicholas had him steal a kiss from her, a boy who's two years younger than she. Over the years, they've engaged in verbal and fencing battles, the latter's victory reward being a kiss. Eleanor, now at age 24, holds marriage in contempt due to her mother's unhappy marriage. However, her uncle is forcing her to wed his political associates to further his own bills, and she's resigned to that fate. It took Nicholas, who had just come back from the army as a commissioned officer, to help her gain back her determination and fighting spirit, as they tried to thwart her uncle's intentions.
This is an adorable tale of two bickering friends who, as adults, came to see each other as something more. Nicholas had harbored a crush on Eleanor for years, and it was nice to see him act the dependable man despite his young age. What love he didn't find with his stepfather he found with Eleanor, who came to see him as not a boy, but a man, a man she had grown to love.
The ending is a bit abrupt, and I would have liked a more satisfying retribution to the devious uncle, but given its length that's understandable. All in all, this is a quick and delightful read with two wonderful characters (I especially like the opening scene, how cute little Nicholas was in stealing a kiss).
There are also teasers in the back to Erin Knightley's Sealed With a Kiss novels, including Flirting With Fortune.
Rating:: 4.5 tulips