Love is a gamble: if you take a chance and show your cards, you could end up with a broken heart. But if there’s one thing I love about romance, it’s that even when the odds are against you and it seems like the house always wins, there’s a happily ever after right around the corner.
If you love romances with a bit of danger, high stakes, and lots of conflict, then I’d wager you should check out these novels where bets between lovers are front and center:
How the Marquess Was Won, by Julie Ann Long
Julian Spencer (also known as Lord Ice) has developed a discerning taste for the fineries in life, including women. He’s made a wager with himself that in order to save his family’s legacy he will marry Lisbeth Redmond and take control of her fortune. It’s a good plan…and one that will unravel completely when he meets Phoebe Vale, Lisbeth’s paid companion. The Marquess’ reputation is on the line, and he is not a betting man—but will he put everything on the line for a woman he barely knows?
Then Came You (The Gamblers #1), by Lisa Kleypas
Lily Lawson is a rule-breaker without a care for her reputation in society. But she does care about her younger sister, and resolves to do anything she can to prevent her marriage to Lord Wolverton, a man she is certain will bring her harm. It’s a gamble, but if she can distract Alex from her sister by putting herself in his way, it’s a risk she’s willing to take. But Alex finds himself tempted by Lily, and the fire between them soon turns to passion…
The Rake (Lessons in Love #1), by Suzanne Enoch
The first in a series about three women vowing vengeance against London’s most rebellious rogues…but find their own hearts are on the betting table. After losing her heart—and her innocence—to the rogue Viscount Dare because of a silly bet, Georgina Halley is determined to bring him down. The best way to do that is to make him fall in love with her—but is it only a game, or could she be risking herself yet again?
The Prince’s Bride (The Royal Trilogy #3), by Julianne Maclean
Veronique Montagne needs to kidnap a Prince in order to erase her father’s debts from gambling. But Prince Nicholas of Petersbourg may be more of a challenge than she can handle, especially when he proposes a marriage of convenience. To save her family’s legacy, Veronique would bet even her own heart….but if she loses that to Nicholas, and he betrays her, she will have nothing left.
Knaves’ Wager, by Loretta Chase
This one’s a classic! Julian Wyndhurst is the Marquess of Brandon who returns to London to help prevent a family emergency: his cousin Robert is about to marry his mistress, which could ruin their reputation. Julian tries to get his cousin out of the arrangement, but finds himself in a wager instead: if he can seduce the widow Lilith Davenant, the mistress will leave, and more importantly, leave Robert’s reputation intact. Can Julian seduce the one woman who seems intent on living a life without passion in time to save his cousin….or will he find himself tempted by her in ways he could not have imagined, his reputation be damned?
What are your favorite romance novels featuring sexy bets and wagers?