A Scandalous Bargain by Darcy Burke
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Pretenders #2
Publication Date: 11/10/20
Number of Pages: 278
What a delightful way to begin the journey toward your HEA – dressed as a man, spying on a duke, hidden, perched in a tree, in a man’s garden, witnessing a death. OH! My! Yep, that is how our couple meets in this well-paced, page-turner of a tale. The writing is excellent and the characters are delightful. I fully expected to be annoyed by Beatrix because she annoyed me in the last book, but I really liked her in this one.
In the previous book in the series, A Secret Surrender, we met Beatrix and her ‘siblings’ and learned their backgrounds. You’ll see those siblings in this book, but you don’t have to read that book in order to enjoy this one. This book isn’t as steamy as the first, but it is just as romantic – and the hero is great!
Beatrix Linley is on a mission – a mission she fully intends to complete. It is the only reason she and her ‘sister’, Selena, are in London – the only reason she’s having a season. Both Beatrix and Selena have sacrificed a lot to make this all happen – and now that Selena has found love and happiness, Beatrix is fully focused on her mission. You see, Beatrix is the by-blow of the Duke of Ramsgate. He was fully involved in her life until she was eleven, then he abandoned her. She wants that relationship back – and she’s sure he does too if she can only have a successful season and prove that she is worthy. Then, she witnesses something that could bring it all down if she tells what she has seen.
Thomas Devereaux, Viscount Rockbourne, has been in the worst of marriages for the last five years. His wife is unfaithful and a shrewish drunkard. The ONLY good thing to come from that is his daughter, Regan. She is the light of his life and he loves her above all else. He had walked out onto his balcony to get a respite from his wife’s haranguing when she followed him out – coming at him with a penknife in her hand. He stepped aside to avoid being stabbed – and she ended up going over the balcony to her death. His mother-in-law won’t let it go as an accident – and Bow Street conducts an investigation. They are actually believing he murdered his wife. Oh! My! His shrewish wife is still winning even in death!
Rockbourne and Beatrix were attracted from the moment they saw each other – but both wanted to deny it because it wasn’t the right time for either of them. Especially not Thomas with his wife’s death so recent. I loved his honesty with Beatrix – and his protectiveness. I loved her bravery and willingness to sacrifice. Definitely, two great main characters, and I was so very happy to see their HEA.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can happily recommend it. BTW – for fans of this author’s other series, we get to visit with characters from a couple of them in this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.