Cassandra Marston wagered a kiss in a card game with the incorrigible rake Lucien Hollier and willingly paid her debt when she lost. But now, desperate for funds, the beautiful lady challenges him again ... and wins! Taking Lucien's money and fleeing into the night, the surprisingly sweet taste of his kiss still on her lips, Cassie is certain she's seen the last of him -- until an untimely carriage accident forces her to feign amnesia, and she hears the rogue call her his wife!
Lucien is delighted to be able to call the bluff of the delectable vixen who bested him, no doubt through questionable methods. Whether she sticks to her "lost memory" charade or admits to a lie, Lucien will get his due! But the bewitching cardsharp is still holding several aces -- and her next sensuous gamble may just win the heart of an irresistible scoundrel.
I loved Denise Domning's medievals and Elizabethans so I couldn't resist trying this book that she wrote as Denise Hampton. It's a regency and the story of Cassie and Lucien. They met on her first season but her father being a gamester prevented him from declaring himself. Now Cassie is a widow and they meet again at a friend's house party.
Unbeknownst to all Cassie, her sister and her father are on the run. The father has lost everything and gambled his youngest daughter to a villain. To prevent her sister from falling into that man's hands Cassie smashed his head and they left him for dead. Since they didn't have any money they took refuge in Cassie's aunt's home planning to sail to America afterwards but, unwilling to tell her aunt that she murdered a man Cassie, and family, are forced to attend the party.
I really liked the characters. Cassie and Lucien are really likeable, despite him having left her with her hopes up a few years ago, and one can't help but wish that they find some common ground. The problem for me was the plot, I couldn't believe that Cassie's father could be that bad and then go completely good and I couldn't believe the lost memory plot as Cassie seemed too sensible to play a game like that. When the truth about why her family is on the run comes out everyone wants to lend a hand in bringing down the villain, and even Lucien has his own score to settle with him. It was a case of too villain to be true...
It's a entertaining and light read with some funny moments but you do have to suspend your disbelief in some of the scenes which made it more of an average read for me than what I'm used to from Domning. I wish she would go back to writing medievals...