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New Release Review! A SCANDALOUS BARGAIN by Darcy Burke (The Pretenders #2)

A Scandalous Bargain cover

Tricked into marriage five years ago, Thomas Devereaux, Lord Rockbourne is suddenly a widower. Rumors abound that his wife’s death may not have been an accident and given the troubling secrets Thomas keeps buried, even he isn’t entirely sure. But when a woman sees what happened, he agrees to accept her help to disguise the facts in exchange for not divulging her suspicious behavior. Their arrangement grows more complicated under the force of a scorching mutual attraction.

Abandoned by her father—a duke—after the death of her mother—his beloved mistress—Beatrix Linley has fought to become a daughter he could be proud of, that he would regret leaving. She becomes the toast of the Season until her penchant for pilfering pretty things threatens to expose the illicit past she needs desperately to remain hidden. Soon the scandal and darkness both Beatrix and Thomas fear comes to light, compelling them to finally face their demons—and potentially driving them apart forever.

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Beatrix’s story was all I hoped for…and more!

After reading her sister Selina’s story ( A Secret Surrender ), I was excited that Beatrix’s book would be next. What made her tick? Would she be able to stop her habit of making (ahem) acquisitions? What would her reunion with her father be like? Most importantly, what man could possibly be her match, both understanding and deserving her?

While I’m not going to answer the first three questions–you’re going to have to read the book to find out!–I am happy to report that of course Tom ends up being that man. There were a few sticky moments–can a man who is looking for honesty in a relationship really find it with a woman with a history of petty larceny, one whose very name is a falsehood?–but it’s a Darcy Burke book, so of course true love prevails in the end. 🙂

As always, plenty of other characters in the Untouchables universe will make appearances here, and though you don’t have to have read their books to enjoy this one, I do think that reading the first book in this spinoff series (Selina’s, linked above) is a good idea as it will give you a more complete picture of the dynamics and history behind the Selina-Beatrix-Rafe family dynamics. Then once you’ve read the first two books, you’ll be just as ready as I am for Rafe’s story ( A Rogue to Ruin )–can’t wait!

Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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