Could she possibly refuse a duke’s hand—in favor of a sardonic, sinful rake?
Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.
No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.
If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.
But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.
Source: finished copy from the publisher, HarperCollins/Avon (thanks!)
Lord Jeremy Roden, recently returned to England from the American war, is holed up at his friend North’s family home recuperating. As he does, he becomes enamored with the eldest Wilde daughter, Lady Boadicea, who goes by Betsy. But he’s in no shape to think about romance or to consider the possibility of a future that doesn’t include making up for his failings across the pond.
Betsy, for her part, has taken great pains to become the perfect example of elegance and class because she’s making up for her mother’s sinful (and public) disgrace. She is out to prove that she is nothing like her passionate, lustful mother who ran off with another man, leaving her children and England forever.
What I love about the Wilde’s series is how very fun the whole clan is. From Aunt Knowe, the surrogate mother, to all of the strays that they’ve taken in and made their own. Betsy is a woman after my own heart. She is smart and funny and, though she’s trying to stay in society’s good graces, she is naturally a rule breaker and marches to the beat of her own drum. I loved everything about her. Betsy didn’t cower or simper, and she knows exactly how to treat Jeremy (not with kid gloves!).
I loved every minute of this book and this series. Jeremy and Betsy are quite fun to read and root for. I am a sucker for a hate-to-love trope and Ms. James does a great service to these characters and the story of PTSD in a time when this kind of trauma was not understood. I’m in love with the Wildes of Lindow Castle!
They moved toward each other as if they were following the steps of a very slow, very grand country dance. One that was danced by kings and queens and countryfolk alike.
When they were beside each other, she squared her shoulders and met his eyes. “I decided to come to you. I hope that is all right.”
“I do believe that you are the bravest woman I’ve ever met,” he replied.
He couldn’t have said anything better; Betsy felt herself begin to glow. “I haven’t been brave to this point, but I have made up my mind to change. I outlawed being nervous, but now I need to outlaw being afraid.” She hesitated. “I have chosen courage, and now I choose happiness.”
“I love you as you are,” he whispered, and then his mouth came down on hers. Her breath caught in her throat because their tongues met as if they kissed every day, every night. He tasted right, which sent a shiver through her whole body, and pushed her against him gently, the way a pebble might roll up a beach when the tide comes in.
One doesn’t fight the tide.