The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton, #2)

The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton, #2) - Connie Brockway Fun book! A heroine trying to prove herself to her famous archaeological family, a hero who is the heir to an English fortune but was raised in America on a ranch. That's a combo you don't meet every day!Ginesse Braxton feels as if she doesn't fit into her family. She's the only girl of seven, and her grandfather, father, and brothers all seem to be making their marks and their names in the world of archaeology. Calamity seems to follow Ginesse wherever she goes, and her insatiable curiosity and sense of self mean that she's usually got something to do with it, even if only by accident. That's partly what got her sent home to England - to a finishing school and college. But at college, studying archaeology, Ginesse finds clues to the lost city of Zerzura; but even Professor Lord Tynesborough discounts her theories. So Ginesse decides that she's got to find the lost city herself.On board the ship taking her to Alexandria, Ginesse's cabin-mate, a Miss Mildred Whimplehall, becomes violently sea sick. While Ginesse nurses Miss Whimplehall back to health, she discovers that Miss W is on her way to meet her fiancee, a Colonel Lord Pomfrey, who commands a garrison at Fort Gordon. Fort Gordon is located only 30 miles or so from the site that Ginesse has targeted for Zerzura! So when Miss W decides she can't abide the ship all the way to Alexandria and decides to disembark and take the train from Italy, Ginesse decides to assume Miss W's identity... which will get her to Fort Gordon without spending a cent! So she assures Miss W that she (Ginesse) will wire Col. Pomfrey and send all the appropriate messages for her (Miss W).Unfortunately, Ginesse's luggage is also taken off ship with Miss W's, so she only has the clothes on her back and a few supplies when she arrives in Alexandria. Since Miss W has brash red hair, and Ginesse discovered a bottle of henna in their room, Ginesse has dyed her blonde hair with the henna. It's now a brilliant shade of magenta! Ginesse decides she's got to add a pair of dark glasses to her disguise, since many of the ex-pats in Egypt know her and her family. And while no one's seen her for six years, Ginesse isn't taking any chances.And it's a good thing, too. Because one of the first people Ginesse sees upon disembarking is Haji, the very one who tormented her during childhood. Haji was a pet of her grandfather's, and as a teen, Haji was "assigned" to Ginesse - supposedly to keep her from trouble, but in reality, Haji was her chief tattler and the main reason she was banished from Egypt. She wouldn't have been caught so many times if Haji hadn't ratted on her! Luckily, Ginesse adopts a superior attitude with her disguise, managing to keep Haji on the defensive with her wit.That very wit attracts Jim Owens - the guide sent to fetch Miss W and see her to Fort Gordon. Jim Owens has secrets of his own; he gave up his birthright as eldest son to pursue a life of adventure. Jim's grandmother was ashamed of Jim's American mother - one of the "Buccaneers" who sought English titles for their American fortunes. Jim's uncle owns a ranch - much of the surrounding land belonged to his mother; since her assets became part of the family fortune when she married, Jim's grandmother, Althea, used the threat of foreclosure on his uncle's ranch to blackmail Jim into vanishing. Jim figured his younger half-brother, Jock, would be better off being the heir anyway. As much as Jim liked Jock, he was several years older; Jock was born of the proper English lineage, and he seemed more biddable - someone whom Althea could mold into the perfect heir.So Jim joined the Foreign Legion. And ended up in a battle-against-the-odds, where he was the only one of his regiment to escape alive. Col. Pomfrey found Jim, severely wounded and dying in the dessert, and rescued him. Thus Jim owes Pomfrey a debt of honor - which Pomfrey calls in: Jim is to fetch Miss Whimplehall to Fort Gordon.But Ginesse (as Miss W) and Jim find themselves more than a little attracted to one another. And "Miss W" interferes with Jim's peace of mind; he's constantly having to rescue her from danger and death. Not to mention being abandoned in the middle of the Sahara with no supplies, being sold to slave traders, and then having to face reality at Fort Gordon. Because Col. Pomfrey knows that Ginesse isn't his fiancee, and he knows who she is. SURPRISE! Except that Prof. Lord Tynesborough followed Ginesse and met up with the real Miss W and Ginesse's grandfather. And they all made their way in a grand caravan to Fort Gordon, too.... where Jim's true identity is revealed!===============I really enjoyed this book - it's got great fun in it. Ginesse is only pursuing archaeology because it's "in her blood". Jim makes her see that. But she's also a romantic, dreaming of American cowboys and all sorts of girlish things; Jim does and doesn't fit these fantasies. And Jim doesn't know how to react to Ginesse - after all, she's supposed to be Miss W, and "the other guy's bride" - the other guy being Col. Pomfrey. Jim must pay his debt of honor, but can he do it and remain honorable? Even when Ginesse all but throws herself at him? Her innocence about man-woman relationships means that she doesn't know what happens much beyond kissing... but her instinct and her attraction want so much more.It's ripe that both Ginesse and Jim are reeling from each other's true identity at about the same time. And that Jim wants to "do the right thing", which to him means allowing the better man to wed Ginesse. His lame way of expressing his proposals to Ginesse are touching and laughable.Thankfully, this is a romance, and so all ends well. But the getting there is quite fun!