Feature book: A Scandalous Wager
Lisbeth Carslake, Countess of Blackhurst, has been through so much since her marriage to the notorious Lord Blackhurst. She was so naïve and thought that he loved her, but she soon learned that that was not the case. She was abused and then when her husband is murdered, she is accused of the murder. Although she is acquitted, she is still shunned by her family and the ton. She has had no contact with her family for two years and has become a recluse known to society as the Black Raven. With rumours still being passed around, Lisbeth keeps to herself with just her servants to talk to and her butler and housekeeper who are very supportive to her. There are numerous wagers in the clubs offering money if someone can get close to her but her ever-caring butler stops them from getting into her house.
Oliver Whitely, the Earl of Bellamy, has just returned home from the wars to take over from his brother who died in a tragic riding accident. He comes home to find out that the estate is close to bankrupt owing to his brother investing in a speculation started by Lord Blackhurst. The investment went belly up leaving a lot of people very poor and the Black Raven very wealthy. Oliver has a night on the town and is talked into trying to win one of the wagers to get into the house of the Black Raven. He needs the money badly. He gives it a go but it is freezing sitting on the doorstep of the house waiting to see if he will be allowed in.
Lisbeth has decided that it is time to re-enter society and find her husband’s murderer. But to do this she needs someone to help her and the Earl of Bellamy is her choice. So she finally allows someone to enter her home. Their first meeting will have you smiling. The banter between a drunken Oliver and a very nervous Lisbeth is very amusing but there is a serious side to all of this and Oliver agrees to be Lisbeth’s escort until the end of the season.
Oliver is stunned to find he is so attracted to Lisbeth from their first meeting, as is Lisbeth to Oliver. Lisbeth is very set in her ways thanks to her abusive husband and she must follow her lists to the letter and is always checking the time, which Oliver finds amusing. As their journey through society gets noticed and Oliver is winning more of the wagers, they are getting closer to each other, and Oliver finds it very hard to keep his hands from Lisbeth. Lisbeth is waking up to the fact that passion does not always mean pain. There are many secrets revealed as they work together to find out the truth.
I loved this story from the first page. It will have you laughing and smiling with the banter between Lisbeth and Oliver and as the sensual pull between them grows very nicely throughout the story. As they get closer to the killer, danger also lurks, and the fact that I had no idea who the villain was until it is made known made this one even better. Congrats Ms Samuels on a wonderful debut, which I highly recommend. The characters add so much to the story. I especially loved Oliver’s aunt and I am looking forward to many more stories from you.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.