The Price of Desire
Zebra, Sep 2008, $6.99
In 1823 Alastair Cole owes Viscount Griffin Wright-Jones 1000 pounds due tomorrow; he does not have the money to make remittance in less than twelve hours so he pleads for four days. As quid pro quo collateral the Viscount claims the family emerald ring Cole wears; to be returned with a prompt payment.
Two men, Mr. Fairley and Mr. Varah come to collect Mrs. Cole; unaware that Olivia is his sister not his wife. They deliver her to Griffin who tells them they paid their debt in full. Griffin realizes she is either Alistair’s cousin or sister when he offered her in remittance of his debt. Even now the idiot is back at the gaming hells having learned nothing. He is a bit surprised as to how calm the very tall willowy woman is when he presents the facts to her. Her bravery is obvious and soon she demands to deal in his gambling hell. As they fall in love, they become entangled in a dangerous game in which the bet is your life.
The lead pairing make for an enjoyable Regency romance as their banter is delightful fun to follow. Readers will admire the unsinkable Olivia as she displays strong conviction and courage throughout. Griffin is somewhat mysterious and on the surface seems hard yet Olivia sees inside to his soul especially when he does not force her into his bed as the payment allows him. Much of the rest of the Ton are hedonistic losers who will leave readers wondering how the sun failed to set on the British Empire prior to Victoria’s ascendancy.