One year ago, Lady Camille Pryce left her haughty fiancé at the altar—for good reason. Not only was the marriage arranged before she could even walk, her betrothed was too smug to exert himself to meet her! Now, disowned, with no husband or family to support her, she’s left with one option: go to work in the notorious Tantalus Club…
A gentleman’s gaming house run by a woman, the Tantalus is no place for a proper lady; so, to save face, her jilted fiancé must retrieve her. But banned from the club, he’s forced to employ his ne’er-do-well cousin instead. A handsome, experienced rogue, Keating Blackwood is the perfect man to lure Camille away. But the moment they meet, Keating instead wants to save her…for himself. Impossible? Perhaps. But if Camille can make the ultimate player lay his cards on the table—and risk his heart—all bets are off…
For most of the past year Camille Pryce has worked at the Tantalus Club in London. The club is owned and operated by a woman and all women work there in all capacities. Camille is a hostess in one of the dining rooms and she likes her job. She’s extremely happy to have a roof over her head and feel like she’s doing something other than suffering through. You see she was engaged to a man when she was three days old (the “man” was only 7 years old) and she’d always known that she was to marry Lord Fenton. She was a romantic and longed during her growing up years to be contacted by Lord Fenton but her wedding day arrived and the man hadn’t even spoken to her. She decided when she was about to walk down the aisle that spending her life with a man that couldn’t be bothered to contact her in 21 years wasn’t something she wanted.
Lord Fenton contacts his cousin, Keating Blackwood, to do him the favor of getting his fiancé back to the altar. Fenton will pay Keating 10,000 pounds to do it. Keating truly doesn’t want to complete the task but he needs the money desperately. Keating is a complete scandal in his own right. Six years earlier he had had an affair with a married woman and the husband had come looking to kill Keating. Keating had killed the man in self-defense but he had left London to become a gentleman farmer. He had become a completely different person than he once was but he was still one of the biggest scandals around. This was actually a bonus in gaining entry into the Tantalus Club and seeking out Camille in order to convince her to marry Fenton.
Camille and Keating become friends and eventually fall in love. Keating doesn’t want Camille to marry Fenton and Camille doesn’t want to, but they each have their own reasons for ignoring their feelings and following through with the marriage.
I have to say I’ve become such a fan of Suzanne Enoch’s. Something about her sense of romance and friendship speaks to me every time I read one of her books and I love that.
This story was different in that Keating wasn’t a Duke or an Earl and he certainly wasn’t rich. He was struggling to survive and try to make amends for the wrongs that he had done. His guilt ate at him on a regular basis and this made him think that he didn’t deserve anything more than he had. It sounds kind of like a defeatist attitude but guilt can do strange things to a body. Despite all he’d done I really liked the man. He was thoughtful and attentive to Camille as well as her friends and I liked that about him. Yes, he was trying to get Camille to marry Fenton so he did have an ulterior motive but he certainly didn’t have to be kind to her friend.
Camille was young. She was an idealist and a romantic. Frankly she hadn’t seen enough of life to make great decisions but I just couldn’t fault her for wanting more out of a marriage and running on the day of her wedding. Should she have spoken up before the actual day before she decided that it wasn’t something she wanted? Sure, but after meeting her parents (who had basically disowned her) later in the book I could see how she wouldn’t be able to stand up for herself before. She had made some bad decisions but had definitely paid for her actions in a way she never expected. I had to admire her for standing up for what she believed in.
I loved the pair together and very much admired the two of them willing to do things they didn’t want to do for love. Would I have done the same? Probably not but it was incredibly romantic to read about it. The story is a good, emotional read. Book one in the series was great and I can’t wait to read the next story in this series.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place