Brought to you by OBS reviewer JoAnne
When Lady Lydia Alfreton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must resort to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager proposed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penhurst. At least Penhurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing-and she’s confident she’ll win.
Penhurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of a ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds-a wager only meant to warn her off gambling.
When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined-or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess. (From the back of book).
Lady Lydia Alfreton loves gambling. So much so, she forgoes other obligations to do so. Even though she is very good at winning, in fact ‘never losing,’ she does this with her brother’s knowledge and his hope that she will lose a great deal and stop it. Yet it appears he has absolutely no power over her to keep her from doing so.
When Lydia is accosted one night at the gambling hall by Algernon Trilby, claiming he has her journal, which Lydia corrects him as having her novel – he tells her that some of the passages may be misconstrued and she could be seen as spy for the French – he tells her that in order for her to retrieve the manuscript, she must pay him ten thousand pounds, which, he says, is what is cost him to purchase it.
But Lydia believes she can solve the problem herself and remembers an old wager she had with Penhurst, and wagers her virginity against winning ten thousand pounds. When she loses, she is stunned; but more than that, she realizes she needs to find a way to avoid the same, while trying to figure out a way to pay her blackmailer at the same time.
When she agrees to meet her blackmailer, the stakes have upped: He attempts to abduct her and wed her, telling her that that being the brother-in-law to an earl would be so much more desirable than his present position, and as her husband he would never allow the manuscript to become public. However, Penhurst has followed them and stops the abduction before it begins.
From here on in we have a battle of wits between Lydia and Penhurst, their growing attraction to each other fairly obvious. While Lydia is fighting her attraction to the man, she is drawn ever closer to him; while Penhurst, for his part, is attempting to keep Lydia from trying to ruin herself, even while she is ignoring those attempts.
This will be a fun read for anyone who is interested in Historicals, and if you have not read Ms. Hunter as yet, it will be a good start.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*