Games of Pleasure by Julia Ross (2005)

HISTORICAL: European Historical Romance
SETTING: England 1828
SERIES: Book Two in the The Wyldshay series
HEROINE: 20ish year old courtesan

Riding home after a rebuffed marriage proposal, Lord Ryderbourne notices a small boat dangerously adrift. Impulsively, he plunges his horse into the sea and saves the boat’s unconscious occupant – a beautiful, bruised, and nearly naked woman.

Hiding a terrible secret, Miracle Heather has no desire to be rescued, especially by a virile young aristocrat. Yet Ryder drags her to shore, wraps her in his cloak, and carries her to a nearby inn, where he insists on taking care of her. A skilled courtesan, she knows of only one way to repay his gallantry, and Ryder is helpless to resist her seduction. The ensuing night of passion shakes them both to the soul, but fearing the pursuers at her heels, she flees before he wakes.

Irresistibly drawn after her, Ryder soon follows, but Miracle cannot risk losing her heart. No honourable future is possible for a duke’s son and a lady of the night. With her life in danger, they agree to travel north together on England’s hidden byways as comrades, not lovers. Yet even as their journey leads them both into the unknown, desire threatens to defeat principle.

1 Review:

This Blog said...

The Romance Reader reviews Games of Pleasure by Julia Ross

Miracle is more than just the stereotypical whore with a heart of gold. Her low-class origins condemned her at a young age to a sordid existence, and she has struggled merely to survive. She’s not unprincipled, just realistic about her prospects. She wants to separate herself from Ryder because she fears what their association can mean for him. Even so, she knows the man he is and cannot help falling in love with him.

I have read other books with a lord-and-beggar-girl plot and remained skeptical to the end. What distinguishes Games of Pleasure is that even with the great disparity of birth and fortune between Ryder and Miracle, I became convinced that these two truly love each other and belong together. Their story is a triumph of character development.
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