When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Wagers of Sin #3
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Robert Churchill-Gray, the Marquess of Westmorland is an unabashed rake, but when he spends a wild night with his friends at the Vega Club and ends up winning the deed to a house owned by Sir Charles Winston, his life changes in ways that he could not even begin to comprehend!
Sir Charles spreads it about the Rob cheated and those rumors make it to his mother, who insists that Rob make things right! Rob has no intention of keeping the house, but is annoyed that Winston is blackening his name, he decides to return the deed to Winton’s wife and make it known what her husband did!! But when he is just a few miles from the house, he is attacked and violently beaten.
Lady Georgiana Lucas is visiting her friend Kitty, Lady Winston in Derbyshire when the letter comes from Sir Charles saying that there was some trouble in town and that if the Marquess of Westmorland shows up at the house, they are not to let him in!! Georgiana can only imagine what kind of trouble the marquess has caused, she is not acquainted with him, but she doesn’t like him because she has overheard him making cutting and snide remarks about herself and her friends, and she has even given him the nickname the malicious marquess. Bored of being cooped up in the house, Georgiana goes out riding and when she finds a man unconscious on the road, beaten beyond recognition, she refuses to leave him and brings him back to the house. It isn’t until he has been cleaned up a bit, that she recognizes him, she knows that Kitty has a vicious streak and worries he will die if he doesn’t get help, so she lies and says he is her betrothed Viscount Sterling. She immediately regrets her lie and worries what will happen when he wakes and tries to kick them out of the house!
But when Rob wakes, he has no memory of who he is or why he was in Derbyshire, he believes that Georgiana is his betrothed and thinks he is lucky to have such a wonderful fiancée. Georgiana wants to tell him the truth, but worries that it might cause a setback, but when his brother comes looking for him, she knows her time is up and she must tell him the truth.
Rob overhears her conversation with his brother – and his memory comes rushing back. He is upset to realize that Georgiana has lied to him, but is even more upset to realize she is not his betrothed. The next day she explains everything and they form a plan to have him leave without revealing who he is – he still doesn’t remember why he was in Derbyshire, his brother Tom has told him what happened, but he doesn’t know why he decided to go to the house in the first place. He also wonders why he and his friend Heathcote were gambling so deep, something tickles in the back of his mind that he and Heath were gambling as part of a mission to help Heath’s uncle, but these things are just not clear. They all agree it would be best for Rob to return to his family home and Georgiana will return to London. He doesn’t want things to end, but she is engaged and is not willing to jilt Viscount Sterling.
Georgiana has come to care for Rob, but she has loved Viscount Sterling her whole life – hasn’t she? When she returns to London, she begins to question her feelings for Sterling and his devotion for her.
Rob can’t seem to forget about Georgiana and wonders if he gave up too easily. When his father encourages him to follow his heart, he goes back to London, but the road to HEA is never easy and these two have more going against them than most couples…
This is a nicely paced, well written story with very likeable characters, witty banter, warm love scenes, a truly vile villain, long suffering chaperones, great secondary characters and cameos with Sophie and Wade as well as Lord Phillip, my only real complaint is that I did feel like the villain got off a little too easily. But overall, I enjoyed this story and would be happy to recommend. This is the third book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone without issue.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher.*