Title: Wagers Gone Awry
Series & Book #: Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper #1
Author: Collette Cameron
Publisher: Blue Rose Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: Collette Cameron
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?
Even though I read the synopsis before reading this, I was still blown away by Heath and Brooke's wager. Her virtue for a farm? Seriously? Just how important was the farm to her?
I stopped right there and went back to the beginning to start again. The second time through the story, it hit even harder how much Brooke was willingly giving up to keep a roof over the heads of all the Culpepper misses. And while I prayed she won, I was appalled at how Heath went through with their wager. He was a little rough around the edges, wanting nothing to do with their farm that he'd won, but I couldn't believe he didn't back down when she named her price.
I saw things through Heath's eyes. There is no denying that. Maybe it was my mood when I read this. Maybe it was exhaustion. Whatever it was, I just couldn't see the farm meaning so much to Brooke that she'd wager her virginity to a complete stranger, even if said stranger was the new owner and a far better person than her no-good cousin was.
Like I said, the second time through brought the story into focus. Not only did I understand her desperation, I also saw Heath's reluctance. I didn't see that at first, but when I did, I liked him all the more. His guilt wasn't just words put on paper; they were palpable. Ms. Cameron did a wonderful job conveying just how heavily their wager weighed on him.
Redemption came the only way it could yet it was completely befitting the characters and their circumstance. I wasn't surprised by Heath and Brooke's marriage. It was bound to happen given what he felt about their little bet. What did surprise me was the anxiety I felt as the ceremony was performed. I didn't think either of the would run, not at all. I just didn't want her greedy bastard cousin to interrupt it! Although it was amusing to read a ceremony peppered with what was happening abovestairs where he was locked away.
This is the first book in Ms. Cameron's series. It's a great introduction the Culpepper girls as well as their relationship with each other. They might be alike in looks but their personalities are incredibly different, which should make the books to come more than interesting to read.
I can't wait!
Bestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master's in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series, Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini dachshunds.
Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic. You'll always find dogs, birds, quirky--sometimes naughty--humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.
her motto for life? You can't have too mach chocolate, too many books, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She's thinking about adding shoes to that list.