To Seduce a Bride by Nicole Jordan
My favorite of Nicole Jordan's The Courtship Wars series, so far, is book three, To Seduce a Bride (2008), about Lily, the youngest of the three Loring sisters.
Lily has absolutely no desire to live within the rules of polite society, including maintaining that she'll never marry. She wants to travel, and Arabella's husband, Marcus, has given her enough of a fortune to actually pursue that goal.
But Lily meets Heath, the Marquis of Claybourne, at Arabella and Marcus' wedding, complete with a delightful interlude in the stables. Heath's determined to court her in order to see if they would be compatible as a married couple. And Lily adamantly refuses and flees, ensuring his pursuit.
Running to family friend Fanny, who makes her way as a paramour and madame, leaves an opening for Heath and Lily to engage in a challenge, judged by two older former mistresses. If Heath earns enough points, awarded by the judges for his romantic gestures, he's guaranteed the opportunity to woo Lily for a quarter. Let the games begin. . . .
Side characters like Fanny, the two former mistresses, and a noblewoman intent on, and successful at, matchmaking for the Loring sisters, make The Courtship Wars that much more interesting to read. All of the women in the series are strong and independent, struggling to make their way the best they can with the assistance of each other. The relationships between sisters and female friends ring true, and those important relationships are often ignored in romance novels.
Again, you can learn more about the series and Jordan's numerous other books at the author's site here.
My overall personal rating of To Seduce a Bride is a B+.