Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Wagers of Sin #1
Publication Date: 2/27/18
Sophie Graham had a wonderful life – two loving parents, travel, meeting varied and interesting people – until those parents died of consumption when she was twelve years old. Her grandfather was an awful person who had disowned his son (Sophie’s father) because he married the woman he loved rather than marry as his father wanted. That cold and unfeeling man became Sophie’s guardian. He certainly didn’t want her or anything to do with her so he took her to Miss Upton’s Academy For Young Ladies and left her. He made sure that she understood she was not welcome in his home and would not be coming there for holidays nor would he pay her tuition past the age of eighteen – after eighteen, she would be totally on her own. Sophie made two wonderful friends (Miss Eliza Cross and Lady Georgiana Lucas) at that school and they remained her staunch supporters. Lovely, accomplished and intelligent, Sophie understood quite quickly that the only person she could depend upon to take care of her was herself and she set out to make her fortune and hopefully find a nice decent man with whom to make a family.
You have to admire Sophie because she managed to take care of herself from the time she was twelve. She became strong and independent – and she had a plan. She was going to London as the widow Mrs. Sophie Campbell, and she was going to use her greatest skill to make her fortune. That skill was playing cards and she had learned it at her father’s knee, learning to figure the odds, game rules, etc. She rarely lost. Her goal was to gain a fortune of ten-thousand pounds because that should be enough to help her attract an upstanding gentleman as her suitor. Then, she’d marry and start a family. That plan was going well – she already had four-thousand pounds in her account – but then she lost the biggest bet of her young life!
Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, is weighed down by his responsibilities – to the dukedom, his mother, his brother and even the daughter and widow of his father’s best friend. Once upon a time, he had been a fun-loving and happy young man who laughed and enjoyed his life. Then, his father died after a boating accident and duty called with its stifling weight. Now, all Jack does is work and try to control his brother, Phillip, to keep him from running up massive gambling debts. Jack has become cold and hard as granite – and he has no idea how lonely he is. ** Note here — Jack’s mother is a piece of work. If he controlled her, he wouldn’t have too much trouble in controlling Philip. — Just sayin’ **
Phillip’s favorite place to gamble is the Vega Club because of the ambiance and the presence of the lovely Mrs. Campbell. He loses regularly to Mrs. Campbell, but he also loses to many others at the club. One large loss of Phillip’s is the last straw for Jack. His temper is flaring when he arrives at the Vega Club to pay off Phillip’s debt and finds said brother at the tables when he had just promised to stay away from gambling for a month. Jack is incensed and decides he’ll teach Philip a lesson – then he really loses that temper and wagers himself. He certainly doesn’t expect to win the wager and is aghast when he wins – because he has won the company of the lovely Mrs. Campbell for a week. What in the world is he going to do? Why – he’s going to abscond with her to Alwyn, his favorite home – where they are stranded by a rainstorm. He can’t take her back to London because the roads are impassable and the coach has a broken axle.
Jack and Sophie are in for an emotional ride. Watching two determined, smart and independent people work their way through their budding feelings, trying to stay away from each other and coming to terms with their feelings is nerve-wracking. Can they overcome Jack’s mother and her plotting? Can they curb Phillip’s gambling and his animosity toward Jack? Can they really find their HEA? You’ll just have to read this lovely book to find all of the answers.
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