I read The Wicked Wager by Anya Wylde and thought I’d give it a shout out. This regency romance has great characters, a delightfully twisted plot, and wonderful wit that made me laugh out loud. That was a refreshing trio for a story set in stuffy, high society, 19th century England.
Lord Richard Hamilton – a gentleman rake who falls for Emma Grey
Miss Emma Grey – a mischievous beauty who hasn’t been courted because of her 3 big, scary brothers.
Duke of Arden – Emma’s uncle
Duchess of Arden – the duke’s wife; a lovely lady, but a bit delusional
Lady Catherine Arden – the duke’s only child from his first wife, and Emma’s cousin
Mr. and Mrs. Barker and their daughter, Prudence – family friends of the duke who come for an extended stay
Lady Babbage – the earl’s spinster sister that lives with him; Catherine’s chaperone
Lord William Raikes – Richard’s best friend; handsome, dark-haired author
First couple paragraphs:
“Bloody blooming roses sprouting out of a fairy’s arse!”
The Honourable Earl of Hamilton whirled around in shock. The dulcet tones had been genteel, while the colourful vocabulary would put his great aunt Agatha in a swoon.
Intrigued, he moved towards the tree from where the sound had originated. He could see the dark shadow of a lady’s skirt in the dim moonlight. He hesitated. It could be a ploy of some young miss out to ensnare a husband.
The wickedly delicious plot (almost as good as a Dairy Queen blizzard)
When Lord Hamilton finally chooses his bride, the lovely Emma Grey, he unwittingly loses his heart to her as well, enough so to do anything to keep her. And when her uncle, the Duke of Arden, orders Emma to put off the wedding for a year and come stay at his estate to think things over, Richard Hamilton refuses to lie down and wait. He wants his bride as soon as possible.
He comes up with a plan–the Wicked wager–and presents it to Emma. It is this: he will disguise himself as the duke’s gardener, compromise Emma by being seen alone with her, and force the duke into rushing them into a marriage to ward off gossip.
Lord Richard has met his match with the duke though. Humbled as one of the servants, he never imagined that compromising a lady could be so difficult. His wild plans go awry and lead to a comedy of errors that involve more and more people, and will make you laugh. Lord Richard is a wonderfully determined character who does not let pesky house guests, a flea bitten mattress, his lovesick best friend, or a black mailer thwart his plans to marry Emma.
I loved each new twist thrown in this story. Lord Richard and Emma are so witty. Just when it looks like Richard might win the wager, someone is murdered, and he becomes one of the suspects. Very inconvenient. His simple plan suddenly becomes very complicated…and risky.
About the Author and Giveaway
Anya Wylde’s first novel was a pleasure to read. She’s locked up in her closet right now finishing her second novel, Penelope, for Christmas. When that book is done, I hope to interview her, but until then, she has graciously agreed to give away a free e-copy of her book, The Wicked Wager, to one lucky commenter (I promise not to let Ginger pick the winner this time; she’s a little distracted by the Christmas tree we just put up this week).
If you are shy and don’t know what to say in your comment, tell me whether you skipped brushing your teeth this morning, or if you are one of the people who raided the Hostess products last week and left none for me. If you did, on both accounts, I promise to still let you have a chance at winning (but you owe me a Zinger). And if your email isn’t linked to your Gravatar, please don’t forget to leave that it in your comment so I can email you if you win. Now leave a comment, and if you don’t win, take a chance on this book. I found her writing very fun.