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A Deceptive Bargain by Laura Beers
My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ Spice Level: 💋💋
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Hiding from the horrors of her past, Miss Martha Haskett is content living her days serving as a lady’s maid to her friend Eliza, the Marchioness of Lansdowne. But then her father, the new Earl of Waterford, shows up, with the shocking news that she is now a titled lady. Further turning her life upside down, he proposes a bargain. She will have a single Season in London, and if she does not marry by the end of the Season, she will be gifted with her dowry and a small estate. Despite her mistrust of her father, Martha accepts his offer, but can’t seem to let go of the anger that has been festering inside of her, or her discomfort with a position in Society where she feels she does not belong.
Dr. Emmett Maddix is tired of the frivolity of the ton and spends his time atoning for his past sins by providing medical care to the poor. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is recruited to be an agent of the Crown. He is assigned to run a charity hospital as a front to collect information about a vicious band of smugglers known as The Cursed Lot, who have managed to overtake the entire town of Gravesend with a reign of murder and oppression.
As Emmett delves further into The Cursed Lot’s domain, he quickly discovers that not everything is what it seems, and it will take far more than one new agent to take down this ruthless gang. While the tangled web of intrigue begins to unravel, Martha and Emmett battle an undeniable but unspoken attraction that grows between them. But before either can be ready to share their hearts, they must overcome their past mistakes, and find their own reasons to keep fighting. With more than just their hearts at stake, surviving the mission will be more difficult than either of them could ever imagine.
This one will rock you to your core. It’s a journey to love through some shocking twists and learning to let go of blame. It’s a really nice change to see the hero be the one to saving someone from the dark they’ve put themselves in. Their relationship was very different and really took time to turn from friendship to love. I had a feeling to what her father was up to but had no clue to what everything was going to be. I didn’t see who was behind everything coming at all or the twist of the bow street runner. I got Musketeer vibes in the one scene and loved it! As always I love scenes with Shadow and her bow and when the others mention their name or her’s. I was holding my breath near the end. I was so excited to see what happened for them afterward.
Martha was shattered because of what she endured and Emmett was the perfect person to help her and understand her. She needed saving from her darkness before it was too late. She was also stronger than she thought and I loved seeing her grow stronger. I cheered when she stood up for herself and used that letter opener. She wasn’t going to let him slip away.
Emmett hasn’t let go of his self-blame fully, but he saw it in her and knew he had to help her. He helped himself by helping her. He was also stronger than he thought because he showed so much restraint in many situations. I loved how he wouldn’t give up on her and didn’t push.
This book could be triggering to some as it deals with rape and trafficking. There are no detailed scenes and it’s only talked about, but trauma and aftereffects play a big part in this story.