Review – The Earl’s Wagered Bride by Cerise Deland

About the Book:

The Countess of Marsden invites you to her house party! Seven nights and days of frolic, gossip, dancing…and match-making for her three nieces.
Sad, isn’t it, that none of the Craymore sisters wishes to wed?
Exciting, isn’t it, that three war heroes arrive who know precisely what they want for Christmas?
Wonderful, isn’t it, that each might gain the most precious Christmas gift of all?

A lady bets her future.
Miss Marjorie Craymore wants to surprise her two sisters with a wonderful gift this Christmas. A house. A home! One they can call their own. After their father gambled away their dowries and drank away the family reputation, the three young women have lived with their Aunt Gertrude. While that lady’s generosity is most kind, her charity chafes their pride. This Christmas at their aunt’s house party, Marjorie plans to employ the one talent she learned well from her notorious papa. She’ll gamble at cards and dice against every wealthy guest—and win. But she encounters one big problem. The man she’s craved all her life appears on Aunt’s threshold and challenges her. Tested by combat, he’s bolder. Dashing. A distraction. And suddenly too charming to resist.

A gentleman weighs the odds. 
Griffith Harlinger, the war-weary fourth earl of Marsden, returns home from his duties in Paris with the Duke of Wellington to celebrate the joys of the Season. At urgent request of his step-mama, he must stop her niece Marjorie from creating a scandal by fleecing her house guests! Griff’s thrilled to engage the one woman who’s tormented him and beguiled him all his life. So he makes Marjorie a bet she can’t refuse: he’ll play her for enough money to buy the house she wants.
But can he let her win if he loves her too much to let her go?
And who really wins when both want what’s best for those they love?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                The Earl’s Wagered Bride: Christmas Belles, Book 1

My Review:                 

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Marjorie Craymore and her sisters, Delphine and Belinda, were left with nothing when their wastrel father died.  They have since made their home with their Aunt Gertrude, and it grates on all three sisters to rely on her charity.  Though Aunt Gertrude is generous and loving, Marjorie is determined to find the money to buy a small cottage, where the sisters can live independently.  And Marjorie knows just how she’ll accomplish this – she learned a thing or two about gambling from her father, and it seems only fitting that some of the people who fleeced him should pay.  When her aunt’s Christmas houseparty happens, she’ll be sure to have some private card games, which she intends to win, by fair means or foul.

Griffith Harlinger, Earl of Marsden, is happy to be coming home on leave for Christmas.  He is weary of being a soldier and looks forward to seeing his stepmother (who is the sisters’ Aunt Gertrude) and having some wonderful food and enjoying good company.  He brings his two friends, Neville and Alastair, with him to enjoy the holiday.  Both of these men were also soldiers, and suffered injuries from which they are slowly recovering.  All three of these men have histories with the three sisters, and hope to successfully renew their friendships, possibly leading to more permanent relationships.

While Griff’s two friends are determined to win Delphine and Belinda as their wives, Griff only knows that he’s glad to see Marjorie, the woman who has plagued him since they were children, and stayed in his thoughts all the years he spent away.  He doesn’t understand Marjorie’s determination to gamble, as he’s more than willing to provide a home to the Craymore sisters for as long as they need it.

The more time Griff spends with Marjorie, the more he realizes that he doesn’t just desire her, but he wants her for forever.  He proposes a private wager between the two of them, which will give Marjorie her heart’s desire if she should win.  THE EARL’S WAGERED BRIDE is a short and sweet novella which gives a happy ending to all three couples, while focusing on Griff’s and Marjorie’s journey.  It seems only fitting that Christmas, the most joyous time of the year, brings the gift of love and reconciliation to six very deserving people.    ~Rose

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