Wagers Gone Awry Sale! 99¢
March 21-27th Only
WAGERS GONE AWRY(CONUNDRUMS OF THE MISSES CULPEPPER SERIES)
Epic Finalist 2016 Historical Category
International Digital Awards-Historical 4th Place
The Night Owl Review’s Top Pick
InD’Tale Magazine’s Crown of Excellence
The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Nominee
Brooke Culpepper resigned herself to spinsterhood when she turned down the only marriage proposal she’d likely ever receive to care for her family. After her father dies, a distant cousin inherits the estate and becomes their guardian but permits Brooke to act in his stead.
Heath, Earl of Ravensdale is none-too-pleased to discover five young women call the dairy farm he won and intends to sell, their home. Desperate, pauper poor, and with nowhere to go, Brooke proposes a wager. His stakes? The farm. Hers? Her virtue. The land holds no interest for Heath, but Brooke does and he accepts her challenge.
Brooke loses, and her devastation is compounded when the cousin arrives, intending to haul the Culpepper misses off to London. Heath astounds himself and proposes in order to apply for guardianship of the other girls.
Does Brooke dare marry the handsome stranger who’d been bent on compromising her? Will Heath regret his impulsive gesture, or will unexpected love flourish?
This book can be read as a stand-alone, but is part of the Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper series.
Here are my terms, my lord, and they are not negotiable.” She shut her eyes for a second before snapping them open. She launched her battle plan. “Should I lose, I will accompany you to London as your mistress, but you will allow everyone else to remain here, including the servants. You will bestow generous marriage settlements on the four girls, and arrange for sponsors for their come outs as well as permit Esherton to retain the proceeds from the dairy and farm.”
Heath folded his arms. Came up with that too damn quick for his liking. “Is that all?”
“No.” She scowled and pushed her wayward hair behind her ear again. “Mabry will carry on as overseer, and you will permit me to hire a respectable woman of quality to act as a companion to my sister and cousins, both here and when they are in London. An annual allowance to further the estate’s recovery wouldn’t be amiss either.”
She paused, appearing deep in thought, her brows drawn together. “Oh, and I shall be permitted at least two extended visits to Esherton Green annually.”
Heath should have suspected Brooke wouldn’t acquiesce without a skirmish. He didn’t half mind her terms except keeping the blasted farm stipulation. But if he didn’t have to manage the place, he would concede the point.
“And if you win?” He braced himself for her demands.
Your ballocks fried to a crisp.
“If I win the wager, you sign over to me, free and clear, the lands you won from Sheridan.”
That’s all she wanted? No bulging purse, new wardrobe, household furnishings … or the hundred other things she and the others lacked?
She extended her hand. “Agreed?”
Heath clasped her roughened palm. It fit neatly within his grasp, as if it had been molded to nestle there. “Yes, the instant you win.”
He wouldn’t allow her the victory. They had yet to decide on what game to play, but it mattered not. He didn’t lose at the tables. He might not be able to read worth a damn, but he remembered every playing card dealt.
Across the expanse of deep green, three figures separated from the house and moved toward the barns. Leventhorpe and two of the other Culpepper misses. At this distance, which two he couldn’t discern. “What’s your pleasure?”
“Excuse me?” Her back to the house, Brooke squinted up at him from where she squatted beside the dog, now lying with is feet in the air, eyes closed, enjoying a tummy rub.
“My pleasure?” She almost choked on the words. “Awfully confident you’ll be the vanquisher, aren’t you? Pride goeth before a fall, my lord.”
He chuckled. Never short on pithy remarks, was she? “What game of cards do you prefer?”
Her chagrin transformed to cunningness. A shrewd smile bent her mouth. “I never agreed to a card game.”