Luck is no Lady by Amy Sandas
Overview by Publisher:
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.
This is a great book! It reminded me so much of Lisa Kleypas’ Dreaming of You, featuring her favourite character, Derek Craven. If you have read that book, then you will definitely enjoy this one!
Roderick is the owner of a gambling club. He was born on the wrong side of the blanket, but has managed to find his way in life. He needs a new book keeper and is surprised to find himself hiring the alluring Emma. He doesn’t know why she needs the job, since he is aware that she is a member of the ton, but he gives it to her anyway.
Emma is in dire straights. Her father left her with gambling debts. She needs to pay for them in order to secure matches for her sisters. I felt the despair and desperation that Emma experienced. It must have been so challenging to solve the problems her father left her – typically a man’s problem in the Regency era. I admired her for looking for employment to solve the problem.
Emma and Roderick have met before. They both were avoiding unscrupulous suitors and hid together behind the same curtain in a parlour. They shared some intimate moments the closeness caused, including a sweet kiss. Emma is certain her identity is concealed from Roderick, but he is well aware that his new book keeper is none other than his companion in the dark.
Emma and Roderick get to know each other while working together. They are most definitely attracted to each other and slowly, they get to know each other. Emma has declared herself a spinster and is only looking to secure her sisters, but she can’t help but feel the deep, pulsing attraction to Roderick.
They dance around each other, in the club and at society events that Roderick crashes to see her. I loved the slow burn between the two. There is one scene where they play cards and wager intimacies with each other that was just so hot! The author really knows how to draw the tension between the characters – a fine dance between lustful awareness and caution.
Setting makes such a strong mark on a story. I loved the environment that was the club. The goings on during the day were so instrumental to getting to know Roderick and how Emma fit into his life. In the evening, the club pulsed with the energy of the men of the ton.
This book works for a lot of reasons, mostly because of the well development of the relationship between Emma and Roderick. While he may stalk her to events in the ton to watch her, the time they spend together at the club solidifies their relationship. He respects Emma’s intuition and abilities. Emma gets to see the man behind the rumours and the club. That is one of the most important elements of a successful story – the conversations and intimacy between the characters. Any Sandas takes two characters that could be considered outcasts and creates a story that has great passion and characters.