This was my first book written by Madeline Hunter and I luckily won it in a Goodreads Giveaway. I would definitely suggest to anyone trying out this author or this series to start with the first book and read up to this one. I have not read the others but I think that I may have enjoyed this book more if I had.
I feel bad for Lydia, in that someone is blackmailing her over a silly novel that she wrote for fun a few years back. She has no idea how the manuscript was taken but it almost makes her look like she's a traitor. She has great luck with gambling however, and decides to try her luck against Penthurst. 10,000 or her innocence. Unfortunately for Lydia, she meets her match because Penthurst has more luck than she.
Penthurst had no intention of keeping the wager and he is only trying to teach her a lesson on gambling. However, he becomes interested in why she is trying to get the money and finds her in some interesting situations. He plays the hero but always seems to become more of an authority figure than anything.
Honestly, I didn't feel the love between the two. At first Lydia hates the man and then learns more and more about the past. She realizes there was more at play then she originally knew. I liked that Lydia was able to look past her initial hatred. They just fell into a very quiet sort of love. I don't know how else to explain it.
It didn't move me in any way. I think that I would have been more into it if I had read from the first book to this one to get to know the characters better.
What I did really enjoy in this book was the mystery to it. Finding out how the manuscript was taken and what happened in the duel that Penthurst was in was exciting. This book was unique mostly because of the character, Lydia. She is so independent and a "woman of the world" that she shuts almost all men out. Because of this she makes some foolish decisions but she learns from them eventually. I also liked how sometimes our first loves blind us to reality. I think every girl goes through this with their first beau.
I will most likely read another book from Madeline Hunter but I wouldn't say she's a must buy for me at this point.