Luck is No Lady by Amy Sandas
Time and setting: 1817, London, England
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 352 pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
"You should not have kissed me," she replied breathlessly. "I do a lot of things I shouldn't. It does not mean I won't do them again."
Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she'd live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father's death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London's most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma's shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell's sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game...and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.
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Question Roulette Q&A:
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I am a combination of both. A plotter in the planning stages, though not a strict one, I like to have the story planned out in front of me before I start writing. But once I do, I kind of let things go as they will.
This excerpt is from Emma and Roderick’s first meeting, an anonymous encounter behind the fall of a curtain. In return for promising not to discover her identity, he asks her to assist with his disheveled neckcloth.
Taking another step closer in order to comfortably reach up to his throat, she began to twist and fold the neckcloth into a style she had recreated many times before. Warmth emanated from the stranger and cool night air drifted around her. There was a solid strength to his body as he stood still and accommodating beneath her hands. The sound of his breath began to match the rhythm of her own and the light-headedness she had experienced earlier returned in a rush.
Her fingers fumbled through the familiar movements as what should have been a simple task became weighted with acute expectancy.
By the time she smoothed the edges of the cravat beneath his coat, Emma’s breath was tight and her pulse beat in a frantic rhythm. Craving distance and a safe return of her faculties, she shifted her weight to step back, but her retreat was brought to a halt when he lifted his hands to cup her face.
“One more thing,” he murmured. Then his mouth covered hers.
She had not yet lowered her hands, and they flattened against his chest as she tensed in shock. Her stomach went into a tizzy of uncontrollable flutters, and what remaining sensible thoughts she may have had were sent spiraling from her head.
He pressed his fingertips into the hollow at the base of her skull and propped his thumbs beneath her chin, holding her in place to accept the exquisite pressure of his lips. He took a step closer and his feet stirred the fall of her skirts as his body bumped gently against hers. Then he tilted his head and his mouth softened in unspoken entreaty as if he were asking for something more.
Emma had never been kissed before, and as his mouth moved over hers, she found herself utterly unprepared for the sensations it invoked. She never could have anticipated the delicious heaviness invading her limbs or the tingling that rushed through her blood. When he pulled on her lips, as if trying to draw something from her, her body tightened deep inside with a yearning that came on so swiftly it startled her.
It finally recalled her to her senses—the inexplicable need that overtook all rational thought. Emma was not accustomed to such a complete destruction of mental acuity, and it frightened her.
She tensed the curve of her lower back. The resistance was small, but it was enough, and he lifted his head. Emma fought the urge to run her tongue over her lips. Though he had ended the kiss, he did not step back or release his hands from her face.
“Are you certain you wish to remain unknown to each other?” he whispered darkly. His voice felt like a caress. “We could continue this encounter in a more comfortable location. Somewhere just as private, lit by candlelight.”
“You should not have kissed me,” she replied breathlessly as her thoughts began to reorganize themselves and a raw panic seeped into her bones.
“I do a lot of things I shouldn’t. It does not mean I won’t do them again.”
Her alarm intensified at the thought of him kissing her again. She could not let that happen, not when his first kiss had been so unsettling. A second might be devastating.
This is the first book I have read by Amy Sandas, but it will not be the last. I received an invitation from the publisher to read Luck is No Lady, via Net-Galley, in exchange for an honest review. I am so glad I accepted.
After the death of her father, Emma Chadwick is saddled with a huge gambling debt. She is racing against a deadline to repay the moneylender or else. What or else entails is a mystery to her, but she knows it will be scandalous for her and her two younger sisters, of that she is sure. She takes a position as bookkeeper for the notorious Roderick Bentley.
Roderick needs an honest bookkeeper. When Emma applies, she manages to pinpoint very quickly how his last man swindled him in the test he has devised. He hires her, even knowing she is the woman he had a clandestine meeting with at a recent ball. His attraction to her is keen, but he knows nothing can come of it. After all, Emma is an innocent, even if she has accepted his offer of employment, since, if word ever got out she worked in his establishment, would surely ruin her and her sisters.
Can each of them bury the growing attraction that threatens to ignite, or will they give into the sizzling passion, throwing caution to the wind?
This book is exactly why I love to read historical romance. Between the witty dialogue and the slow build of sexual tension, it is a shining example of what I expect in this genre. The plot is unusual, not even close to other historicals. The pacing is excellent, keeping me entertained from the first page to the last, and is that not why one chooses to read?
I fell in love with the heroine, Emma Chadwick, from the start. She is an intelligent, feisty, independent woman, yet feminine at the same time. Her nurturing characterization came through extraordinarily well, without having her come across as a martyr. I loved the interaction between the sisters tremendously and hope the future books planned in this series involve Portia and Lily as the heroines!
Roderick Bentley is my kind of hero. From an early age, life did not deal him a good set of cards, having been born a bastard son of an earl. However, he did not let that defeat him. He has become a wealthy and successful self-made man. While he skirts the outer edge of society because of his birth and occupation, he does not let that stand in his way either. Although the owner of a gambling club, he is honest and honorable, especially toward Emma.
Luck is No Lady is very well-written and other than a few modern words that sneaked in, it is true to the regency setting. Also, the intrigue in the story is expertly worked in and very believable. While the love scenes are not overly explicit since they focus more on the emotion than the sexual act itself, they are quite sensual and perfect for this book.
If you are looking for an enjoyable historical romance with excellent characters and a unique plot, then you will find Luck is No Lady as delightfully fulfilling as I. I strongly recommend this wonderful regency romance, and I can’t wait for the other books to come out in this remarkable series. Happy reading!