How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)
How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)

How to Live Happily Ever After: The Prequel (Book 7)

Happy Ever Regency Series
Regular price$4.99
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Who said three times is a charm? How about seventeen?

An overlooked spinster finds unexpected love when a charming earl sweeps her off her feet. Will she dare trust fate or fear ruining them both? Discover passion's power in this swoon-worthy tale of risking it all for love.

💛 Opposites attract

💛 Persistent hero

💛 Love against the odds

💛 Slow burn romance

💛 Dashing earl

💛 Wallflower heroine

Miss Agnes Bottombrook accepted long ago that she would never marry. Not even when she was still young did gentlemen see anything in her that would appeal to them. Now, at nine-and-twenty years of age, all hope is lost and Agnes is on the shelf for good.

Or isn’t she?

Out of nowhere, the rakishly handsome—and young, mind you!—Lord Wentford asks Agnes for a dance, shocking not only Agnes but all of London society, most of all, his own mother. Certain that his intentions are far from honorable, Agnes tries her utmost to rebuff the young lord and reveal him as a scoundrel, only seeking her attention to win a bet or wager of some kind.

Unfortunately, Lord Wentford cannot be rebuffed, no matter how hard Agnes tries, forcing her to contemplate the possibility—remote as it might be—that he might truly…care for her.

Or doesn’t he?

Without her consent, Agnes finds herself swept off her feet by her most unexpected and equally persistent suitor, doubting her own sanity when desires she thought she had long since abandoned resurface. But will she dare believe him?

Would she be a fool to do so…or rather not to do so?

Brimming with passion, laughs, and sighs, How to Live Happily Ever After explores classic tropes like enemies to lovers, forbidden love, and opposites attract with wit and flair. Celebrate following one’s heart against the odds to find a joyous, transforming love.


London 1805 (or a variation thereof)

It was her!

Grant Barrett, Earl of Wentford, felt as though he had strayed into a dream as he stood and stared across the ballroom at the woman he would marry.

He had never met her.

He had never spoken to her.

He did not even know her name.

Yet, he knew that it was her.

Her and no other.

Grant had felt it as though a bolt of lightning had struck him hard in the chest, knocking the air from his lungs and pulling his focus from the world around him to settle on her.

Her alone.

It was her!

His heart beat fast against his ribs as his gaze trailed over her lovely features. Her eyes shone in a rare golden hue, complementing the soft waves of her hair despite the few unruly curls that had escaped down her temples. With a wave of her hand, she brushed them away. There was kindness in her gaze, something soft and tender, sweet and almost innocent. Yet, Grant smiled when he saw the determined set of her jaw as well as the hint of steel that came to her eyes as a group of haughty, young debutantes pushed past her with no regard for their surroundings.

With a slight scoff, his siren turned away, rolling her eyes in a way that made Grant’s heart pause in his chest.

“Are you unwell?” Pierce Barrett, his cousin, asked, a touch of concern in his tone. “You seem…” The man’s voice trailed off, confusion added to his voice.

Grant could not spare more than a glance at his cousin before his gaze was drawn inevitably back to the siren across the room. “I’m perfectly fine.”

Standing in a small circle of friends and acquaintances, Grant dimly heard them continue their nonsensical discussion about…one thing or another. He could not recall. It did not matter. All that mattered was her.

And then she turned and her eyes met his.

Grant all but stumbled backward from the impact, his heart almost beating out of his chest. What was it about her? He wondered, afraid to blink for fear she would disappear.

Her gaze narrowed as she found him looking—staring!—at her, a hint of disapproval coming to her face. For a moment, she held his gaze, her chin inching up a fraction before she dropped her eyes and focused her attention elsewhere.

Grant held his breath, feeling the absence of her focus like a cold winter’s day in the heat of summer. Look at me! He whispered silently, his body tense with anticipation.

And then she did.

It was no more than a careful glance, seeking to determine if he was still looking at her, and it quickly vanished. But Grant felt it all the way to his toes!

How was it that he had never seen her before? That he had never noticed her before?

Shaking his head at himself, Grant continued to stare at her, a smile tugging on his lips as he watched her trying not to look at him. Yet, her gaze returned to meet his time and time again. Confusion and something akin to displeasure swirled in those glowing eyes of hers that drew Grant in in an all but irresistible way.

Indeed, she was a siren, and he was helpless against her allure.

“Who is that?” Pierce asked, and Grant could all but hear the frown in his voice.

“I haven’t a clue,” Grant answered honestly, his gaze still fixed upon the woman he would marry. He might not know her name, but he knew that.

Dimly, he noticed those in his company turn their attention to the treasure he had only just discovered and, instantly, a possessiveness he had never felt before—jealousy mixed with the fear of losing this treasure to another—surged through his veins, knowing that if they took only one look at her, they would no doubt fall under her spell as swiftly as he had. “Don’t even think about it,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “She’s mine.” Grant drew in a deep breath, knowing that he needed to act before it was too late.

Only a heartbeat later, he found himself moving toward her, his gaze fixed upon hers, noting the way her eyes widened ever so slightly as though in shock. He could see her chest rise and fall with a shuddering breath as though she, too, felt that sizzling energy in the air between them.

How had he never noticed her before?

With his gaze focused across the ballroom, Grant forgot the world around him. He was no longer aware of the many people standing and dancing and chatting nearby. He no longer heard the music drifting through the large ballroom. He no longer cared about anything else but her.

His feet carried him closer, step by step, and then he suddenly stood before her, her hazel eyes looking into his in a way that made him want to reach for her.

She was the one!

“Good evening,” Grant greeted her, longing to hear her voice, to know her thoughts, to—

“Do I have something in my teeth?” his siren asked rather unexpectedly, a sharp edge to her tone.

Grant frowned. Yet, his pulse quickened at the intoxicating sound of her voice. “Not that I’m aware of,” he replied carefully, not even bothering to look. He could not help but think that there was deeper meaning to her question.

“Did someone spill a drink on my dress? Or is there a rip in my hem?” A hint of annoyance lingered in her eyes and, yet, Grant found something utterly endearing in the way she tried her best to be upset with him. He could not help but wonder why.

Never had a woman reacted to him quite like this. In fact, Grant had gotten used to and grown tired of simpering misses, casting coquettish looks in his direction and batting their eyelashes like one would work a fan on a hot day.

Grinning, Grant leaned closer, enjoying the unusual workings of her mind. “Are we speaking the same language? Or is this some kind of code I should be familiar with?”

Although she tried to fight it, laughter spilled from her lips. Yet, it only lasted a mere moment before she turned it into a scoff, rolling her eyes at him as though he had just insulted her.

His gaze narrowed as he tried to read her. She was a mystery, an enigma…and he could not stay away. “You’re upset with me,” he mumbled as his eyes swept over her face. “Or at least you’re trying to be. Do tell, what did I do to deserve this?” Never in his life had a woman done her utmost to dislike him.

He was utterly enthralled!

A moment passed as she regarded him, no doubt considering her answer most carefully. Then she said, “You looked at me.”

Now, it was Grant’s turn to laugh, and he was glad to see that the scowl upon her face softened…even if it happened against her will. “You’re upset because I looked at you?”

His siren nodded. “There’s no sensible reason why you would. Therefore, you must have some ulterior motive, which in turn suggests a devious mind, and I’d rather not associate with devious minds.”

Indeed, she took his breath away! It was not only the enchanting way her eyes looked into his, held his without flinching, but even more so the honesty with which she spoke her mind. There was nothing insincere about her, no pretense or falsity, and Grant felt himself fall for her a little more with each passing heartbeat. “Is no one allowed to look at you? Or does that rule only pertain to me?”

Again, she rolled her eyes at him. “What is it that you want?” she demanded, exasperation in her voice that made Grant wonder. It made her seem vulnerable as though she had been hurt before.

“I want to dance with you,” Grant said earnestly, holding out his hand to her. Indeed, he wanted a lot more, but a dance was a good start. He could not wait to feel her hand in his or his own coming to rest upon her dainty waist. He wanted to feel her warmth. He wanted to feel her close. He wanted…

…Heaven help him, but he wanted her.

For a moment, she stared at his hand before her eyes once more returned to meet his. Something hesitant lingered there and, yet, Grant thought to see a spark of temptation. Only a heartbeat later, she slid her hand into his. “As you wish.”

Instinctively, Grant’s hand closed over hers in an almost possessive manner. He noticed her eyes widening as she drew in a trembling breath. Did she feel it, too?

Grant’s gaze burned into hers as he tugged her closer. He felt her breath against his lips and, for a moment, they lingered, staring at one another, before he pulled her with him onto the dance floor. “As you seem to have an utterly low opinion of me,” he whispered, once more leaning closer, “I want to assure you that I won’t bite, step on your feet or intend to otherwise harm you.” He could not help but tease her for it did something to her eyes that made him weak in the knees.

A warm chuckle escaped her lips. “Is that so?” Grant reluctantly released her hand as they stood up together and the first notes of the music drifted to his ears. “And is your word to be trusted?” she dared him, a bold challenge lighting up her eyes.

Feigning indignation, Grant gave her a pained look. “You wound me, Miss—” Too late he realized that he had yet to learn her name.

Instead of taking affront, his siren smiled at him rather triumphantly. “Now, you wound me as it seems you do not even know my name.”

“Would you care to enlighten me, Miss…?”

“Agnes Bottombrook,” she said, her words accompanied by a rather displeased eye roll.

Grant could not help but gape at her.

“I’m aware that it is a most unfortunate name.”

Grant grinned at her. “That it is,” he replied daringly, wondering if she would…

Although her gaze narrowed, it was not in displeasure. “I admit that although everyone agrees that it is, no one has ever done so openly. I applaud you, my lord, for your honesty.” Appreciation swung in her voice and, yet, her smile slowly vanished as she suddenly stared at him as though seeing him for the first time, her brows slightly drawn.

“What?” Grant asked bluntly as the dance carried them closer once more. “Your face just darkened. What happened?” He grinned at her. “Did I upset you by looking at you again? Or should I have let you lead?”

Sighing, his siren shook her head at him. “You’re a tease, my lord. I’m not certain I like it.”

Grant chuckled, once more stepping closer than necessary. “Oh, but you love it. Otherwise, I have no doubt you would have already told me so outright.” Indeed, she was outspoken. But, then again, so was he. His gaze sought hers, trying to look deeper. “Allow me to ask, why do you think there is no sensible reason for anyone to look at you?”

A forced chuckle drifted from her lips and, again, she seemed vulnerable. “Because…I’m old, and you’re not.”

Grant frowned at her. “I must say you have a strange way of looking at things.” If she was old, he had failed to notice. Of course, she was not a debutante, but that only spoke in her favor. She was a woman, not a silly girl. She was intelligent and daring, teasing and—it seemed—utterly dauntless. Grant had yet to discover a side of her he did not find alluring!

“I beg your pardon, my lord, but it was not I who made the rules.”


That eye roll met him again. “Do not pretend to be ignorant of society’s rules,” she replied, her voice hard but tinged with sadness. “Ask anyone. There is nothing about me that would recommend me to you, therefore—”

Without thinking, Grant yanked her close, unable to hear another word. “Then they’re wrong,” he growled, shocked and outraged to hear her own low opinion of herself. Was the world populated by fools? How could anyone not see how radiant she was?

A dumbfounded expression came to her face as she stared up at him, her breath coming fast. “You cannot be sincere.” Her eyes searched his. “You’re dancing with me because of a bet, a wager or—”

“I’m dancing with you because I want to,” Grant interrupted, needing her to know the truth, “and anyone who cannot see that must be blind, deaf and dumb because everything you do and say recommends you.”

Her face paled, and Grant gently urged her off the dance floor, offering her a glass of lemonade. “Here, drink this. You look pale.”

She took a careful sip. “Falsities do that.”

Her words felt like a slap in the face. “Falsities?” Grant growled, not angry with her, but with whoever had inspired such self-doubt within her. He moved to step in front of her, his gaze once more seeking hers, feeling himself relax as he found himself once more getting lost in the depth of her eyes. “Believe what you will,” he whispered, a teasing grin tugging on his lips, “but consider yourself warned that any resistance on your part will only strengthen my resolve.”

His siren blinked. “Your resolve? To do what?”

“To marry you.” Grant knew he ought not have said that. It was too much too soon. Yet, he could not bring himself to regret it. It was the truth and, with her, it felt natural to be himself, to speak without restraint and not hold anything back.

Never had he felt like this before.

Her jaw still dropped in shock. “Y-you must be insane,” she stammered, staring at him as though he were an apparition, risen from the ground. “A man like you does not marry a woman like me.”

Grant chuckled, delighted with her reply. After all, she had not said that she did not want to marry him, had she? He leaned closer, noticing the quiver in her jaw. “He does if he knows what’s good for him. Come on, Nessa, take a leap of faith with me.”

“Nessa?” she demanded, still staring at him.

“Do you not like it?” Indeed, the name had flown from his lips without thought. Yet, it fit her. It fit her perfectly.

Nessa swallowed. “I did not say that.”

“Well, then what is your answer?”

“My answer? I…” With her eyes still wide, she took a step back. “You cannot be serious, my lord, and I refuse to be made a fool of.”

Unwilling to let her slip away, Grant moved closer, his gaze not veering from hers as he fought the urge to reach for her. “Call me Grant. And yes, I’ve never been more serious in my life.”

Her breathing came fast. “I don’t believe you.”

“Care to make a wager?” he asked with a grin, loving the way he got under her skin. After all, she did the same to him!

A scowl fell over her face. “I’ve grown tired of this game. I—”

“I shall call on you tomorrow.”

Nessa scoffed, disbelief in her voice. “You won’t.”

Grant moved closer still until he felt her breath fan over his lips. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Nessa.” His gaze fell from hers and briefly touched upon her lips.

She swallowed, a shuddering breath leaving her lips. “I won’t marry you,” she stammered as though needing to remind herself.

Grant grinned at her. “Yes, you will.”

Frowning, she shook her head at him. “Why on earth would I? I—”

“Because you want to,” Grant interrupted her. “You want me as much as I want you.”

Robbed of speech, Nessa stared at him. She seemed to be swaying toward him ever so slightly.

“Until tomorrow,” Grant whispered and then turned and walked away, knowing that he would cause a scandal if he remained near her only a moment longer. He could only hope that he was not mistaken because the thought of living even a single day without her was pure torture.

She was the one!

And he had finally found her!

Now, how to procure her hand in marriage?

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What readers say...


This is an absolutely charming story with loads of humor and loveable characters.

Peggy Collins

A delightful, lighthearted romance that warms the heart.

Lori Dykes
Amazon Review

I loved this sweet regency romance and am glad I now know how Grant and Nessa met and fell in love. Adored the kitchen scene!!! Recommended for lovers of Austen, clean & sweet regency romances and sassy heroines.

Ilona Nurmela
Amazon Review


BREE WOLF is a USA Today bestselling author and award-winning word wizard, who is rarely seen without a book in hand or fingers glued to the keyboard.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
Gail Kovach
OK, But Not My Favorite

I enjoyed this book, but it's not one of my favorites. A different storyline from the debutante attending the ball to find a husband. The kitchen scene seemed out of character and time with a regency book.

OK, But Not My Favorite

I enjoyed this book, but it's not one of my favorites. A different storyline from the debutante attending the ball to find a husband. The kitchen scene seemed out of character and time with a regency book.

Cynthia Hurt
The 17th proposal was the charm!

Agnes, affectionately remained Nessa by Grant, Lord Wentford, finally accepted his proposal after just a week of getting to know him on a more personal level. Yes, she had noticed him form afar, but being 29 and not quite in the same social sphere, she thought herself beneath his notice.

That is until he laid eyes on her and he immediately knew she was the one for him. He was relentless in his pursuit of Nessa, visiting her daily, getting in her space, and asking for her hand in marriage.

My favorite scene was in the kitchen when they both made a tart. And then ended up have a flour fight! Very touching and I'm glad her mind finally realized what her heart was saying all along.

Now to continue their story in How to Wake a Sleeping Lady!

Kathy Douglas

I love this sweet, clean romance with wonderful characters. Grant sees Agnes across the room at a ball and falls instantly in love with her. He knows in his heart that she is the woman for him for eternity. Agnes is an older spinster held in contempt by the ton. According to the ton, she has no recommended quality. Grant is an Earl and used to getting his way so he is stubbornly persistent in his pursuit of Agnes. Agnes on the other hand is terrified that Grant is not serious. She fears that he is pursuing her to win some sort of wager. Grant's mother and her friend, mother to Lady Elizabeth are determined that Grant and Elizabeth will make the perfect match. A DELIGHTFUL story!

Sahar Husseini
Love at First Sight

Some people believe that love at first sight is a myth, but it is more than the stuff of fairytales; it is real. When Grant sees Nessa, he knows she is the one, but now, he must convince her of it. The odds are against him. She believes him a cad. Surely, he is not interested in her, a spinster. Surely, there must be a wager in the works. Then, there is his mother, determined to marry him off to someone of her own choosing. Can Grant convince Nessa to marry him? Can he defy his tyrant mother? This is a delightful story that you can read in one sitting. Even though it is listed as the seventh book in the series, it is best read before the first book. This story does not end on a cliffhanger, but Grant and Nessa’s story continues in “How to Wake a Sleeping Lady,” a lovely and touching tale.

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