Em Taylor has written a creative historical romance with memorable characters. Sarah is an unusual heroine, because she is crippled. I wondered if she could possibly be the independent romance heroine I enjoy, but I needn’t have worried. Taylor does an amazing job giving Sarah all the strength and independence she needs to parry with the hero. Nathaniel is a heartwarming hero, who recognizes Sarah’s vulnerabilities due to her injury, but doesn’t stifle her. They both have their own demons to overcome and they are able to help each other. The romance is fantastic and the antagonist surprising. Taylor keeps the storyline moving with some mystery and danger, and “A Desperate Wager” is a romance I will return to often.
After a night of heavy drinking, Nathaniel, Duke of Kirkbourne finds he has lost a wager, and now must marry Lady Sarah Brackingham. A man of honor Nathaniel visits the Brackingham home and realizes Sarah is crippled from a riding injury. Not being able to find a way out of the wager the two marry, and travel to his country estate. Sarah may be crippled, but she is also passionate and kind, and Nathaniel realizes their marriage just might work. But when someone starts trying to kill them Nathaniel and Sarah must protect each other to protect their marriage.
Nathaniel Spencer, the Fourteenth Duke of Kirkbourne wakes up with an almighty hangover and a wager note in his pocket stating he has agreed to marry the Earl of Brackingham’s daughter. And he can’t even remember ever meeting the chit. Clearly his drinking has got out of hand.
Lady Sarah Steele is horrified when her father announces that the Duke of Kirkbourne has agreed to marry her and even more horrified that her father wagered her hand in a game of cards. Not only that, but the earl has not told the duke of the riding accident that left Sarah paralysed when she was sixteen. But he’s dying and she knows he wants to see her settled before the inevitable happens.
Despite Nate’s drinking and Sarah’s possible complicity in the earl’s plan, they agree to marry. But when accidents start to happen, the newly-weds must deal not only with the fact they are practically strangers, but they must find out who is trying to kill one or both of them. Nate’s drink problem and Sarah’s disability are only a couple of the hurdles they must face to find lasting love.