Jack (Jaded Gentlemen #4) by Grace Burrowes
Synopsis: Sir John Dewey Fanning (Jack to his familiars) is magistrate in a corner of Oxfordshire plagued by one incident of petty mischief after another. To add to his aggravation, his matchmaking mama is due for a prolonged visit, just when his domestic staff is at sixes and sevens.
Jack turns to Miss Madeline Hennessey both to organize his household and to serve as his mother’s temporary companion, despite the fact that he’s long harbored feelings for the ever-competent (and lovely!) Miss Hennessey. Madeline reluctantly accepts the position, and proximity leads to investigations of an amorous nature. Can Jack stop the crime spree and steal Madeline’s heart, too?
Review: Jack is a war veteran from the wars in India and he has scars and secrets that even his mother doesn’t know about. Madeline is in the line of service and has worked for Axel Belmont for 10 years, ever since his first wife saved her from an abusive situation. She also has secrets and two stubborn and independent aunts. Jack’s mother is coming to call for the holidays and he knows he needs someone to take his house in-hand to make sure it is ready for his very judgemental mother, and he needs a woman’s companion for the time she will be staying with him. So he seeks out Axel and Abby for their aid in finding someone who can fit that need. Madeline has become more of a friend to the Belmonts even though she still works for them and they jump at the chance to through these two friends of theirs together in hopes that sparks fly. She isn’t too keen on moving to Jack’s home or going into service to him, even for a short amount of time, but she cannot say no to extra money to help take care of her elderly aunts. Sparks do fly right as the mother finally arrives (worse timing ever) and Jack’s mother has come with a surprise… wait for it…a prospective wife for Jack. Jack’s brother Jeremy has also come along and Jack leaves Jeremy, his mother, Miss DeWitt, and Madeline alone in order to work on his magistrate duties (when in reality, he is using a small crime spree as an excuse to avoid his mother’s matchmaking schemes). Things heat up, especially in an herbal closet one night between Jack and Madeline, and Jack decides that if he is going to marry, it is going to be to Madeline. Secrets are revealed, trust and love are fought for, and in the end, Jack wins the girl. And Jeremy ends up with a wife too. It was an enjoyable read, not really my favorite, but there was nothing wrong with the story either. There is no emotional turmoil in this one, and the conflict is pretty mild mannered but enjoyable.