The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
Miranda Clifford has spent the entirety of her twenty-nine years toeing the line of respectability with the utmost care. Her spinster aunts have always insisted that their family’s shaky status in the lower echelons of England’s gentry make any hint of scandal a disastrous event, to be avoided at any cost. Miranda would not have listened so carefully had she not wanted so badly to ensure her baby brother, Roderick, have every advantage available to a young man with a sizeable fortune. With Roderick nearly grown and capable of managing his own life and prospects, Miranda is left feeling not only useless, but adrift.
London’s infamous gambling king has a secret. Not born a commoner, he is in fact the second son of a ducal house. Necessity makes Lord Julian Delbraith leave the comfortable existence of one of his station, to take up the reins of an empire built on the losses of London’s gambling population. Now twelve years later, the Delbraith family fortunes are secure, the estate shored up, the ducal responsibilities turned over to Julian’s nephew, and Julian’s feeling adrift. What could possibly be next for a man known to most as the gambling king?
Thinking she is protecting her brother from associating with a man of the blackest character, Miranda confronts Julian and asks him to sever the connection. Intrigued, Julian discovers he is determined to show Miranda he is more than he appears. When her brother is abducted, Julian steps in to help, and Miranda finds out he is nothing like what she imagined. Thrown together by circumstance, two people lost in life will discover more possibilities in their combined future than they ever would have had alone.
Though the pace of this novel seems sometimes slow, it delivers a truly satisfying story in return. Both Julian and Miranda are shown in great detail. Readers will experience every up and down as these two lovers struggle to put circumstances, social restraints and respectabilities behind them. In the end, readers will root for the triumph of love over societal preconceptions that trap everyone.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More