Review: The Earl's Secret Bargain (Marriage by Deceit #1) by Ruth Ann Nordin

Print Length: 228 pages
Publisher: Wedded Bliss Romances, LLC (July 15, 2014)

From Lord Davenport and Lord Pennella have just made a bet for the hand of Miss Regina Giles. The gentleman she chooses wins the loser’s estate. 

It’s the most daring wager at White’s, and quite possibly the most foolish.

Toby York, the Earl of Davenport, knew it was a mistake to make the wager when Lord Pennella stormed into White’s bragging that he could get any lady he wished. Toby really should have kept his mouth shut. But he didn’t.

And now there are only three things he can do to protect Miss Giles. One, he must get her to choose him instead of Pennella. Two, he must make sure she never finds out about the wager. And three, he must quietly break off the engagement so that she is free to marry a gentleman worthy of her. As long as he doesn’t fall in love with her, there should be no problems.

Too bad things never work out the way they’re planned.


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book fell solidly in the middle of the road for me. There were some good points, and there were some not-so-good points. To begin with, I enjoyed the characters and what they brought to the story. I felt that the opening of the story (where Pennella and Davenport originally make the wager) was a true statement to the life of the ton at that time. They have always been presented as a society who felt they were not only better than everyone else, but were also entitled to certain things that others were not, and the fact that these two lord were willing to wager their estates over the hand of a woman who was being used as nothing more than a pawn was a prime example of that. 

The story started off strong, the chemistry between Lord Davenport and Miss Giles was evident, and even Lord Pannella was interesting in the beginning (I felt he was the polar opposite of Lord Danveport in that he was the complete epitome of a ton member where Lord Davenport was more sincere). 

Unfortunately, near the middle of the story, things began to slowly unravel. I felt that the story became repetitive, and in some areas, downright boring. I think what sealed the deal for me lowering the star rating started when Lord Panella seemingly scampered off with his tail between his legs after being confronted by Miss Giles, and ended when Lord Danveport because jealous and cold towards Miss Giles when she tried to form a friendship with his best friend Orlando.

After the way Lord Panella's character was set up throughout the entire story, his sudden departure seemed completely out of character for him. In fact I spent the rest of the story wondering when he was going to reappear with his next "evil scheme". And as far as Lord Davenport is concerned, after all he had been through with Miss Giles, his behavior seemed overly juvenile. 

Lastly, word of caution to those of you who only read "clean" romances, there are instances of "after-marriage" sexual relations. 


The Earl's Secret Bargain (Marriage by Deceit #1) is available from

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