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The Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society by @merrybond is a Best Books of '22 pick #regency #giveaway



Title: The Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society, 1806 Season


Author: Meredith Bond


Genre: Sweet Regency Romance


Book Blurb:


The 1806 Season begins with a card game to remember.

A HAND FOR THE DUKE Can the Ladies of the Wagering Whist Society help an impoverished modiste win the hand of a sought-after Duke? Tina Rowan wants nothing more than to be free of her past, but can an ill-dressed duke be the one to help this modiste? With her help, the Duke of Warwick can introduce his sister to society, but he may just lose his heart in the process. It will take the combined efforts of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society to see this difficult hand well played. JACK OF DIAMONDS Lydia Sheffield is the darling of every party but she’s got a secret lurking within her—one that will keep her from ever taking a risk on love. Lord John Welles has a secret of his own, but Miss Sheffield has discovered it, noticing what no one else has but there is a price for her silence: a fake engagement for the season. Can John discover Lydia’s secret in time to save his own heart from breaking? It will take the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society to help John win his diamond. THE GAMES SHE PLAYED Diana and her father race horses, but when a heart-attack fells him a physician is needed. The charming lord doctor is so very distracting while Diana is trying to make good on a bet her father made. Lord Colburne only wants to saves lives. The possibility of winning the heart of one of his patients just adds to his determination. Delve into the world of Regency horseracing and medicine in this sweet romance where it will take the efforts of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society to ensure a healthy outcome.


Excerpt:


The same seven women who’d attended Tina’s gathering had been invited to join the Whist Society. With little to do while Tina had discussed dresses with individual ladies and taken measurements, some of the other women had sat down with a deck of cards and proceeded to play a hand of whist. They had enjoyed themselves so much that when Claire, Lady Blakemore had suggested forming such a group, everyone had agreed the idea had merit. Now, even a week later, clearly they were still interested.


Christianne welcomed all the women into her drawing room. Once everyone had been served a cup of tea and offered a piece of cake, she looked around for a moment just to confirm the impression she had come away with after their last gathering.


She’d felt an unusual camaraderie among the ladies, and indeed, even today as she watched, Lady Sorrell and Lady Moreton seemed to be deep in conversation over some serious topic. The two youngest ladies, Miss Sheffield, and Miss Hemshawe, were giggling together, and the three older ladies Mrs. Aldridge, Claire, and the duchess seemed to be comparing notes regarding this season’s crop of girls making their debut. She wasn’t certain about how well the duchess and Mrs. Aldridge were getting along. No matter what one said, the other seemed to have an opposing opinion. Claire was doing a fine job of mediating until she caught Christianne’s eye and gave her such an exasperated look that Christianne laughed and called for everyone’s attention.


“Ladies, thank you all for coming this afternoon. I assume that you are here because you’re interested in joining the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society.” She paused as many of the ladies agreed, either verbally or with a simple nod of her head. “And as I always believe in giving credit where it is due, I must thank Lady Blakemore for coming up with this idea the last time we all gathered together.”


Claire returned Christianne’s nod and gave everyone else a polite smile.


“Since there are precisely eight of us, this works out very well. We’ll be able to form two tables.”


“How often do you expect we should meet, Lady Norman?” Lady Sorell asked.


“Yes, that’s an excellent question,” Lady Moreton agreed. She was usually very quiet, but Christianne was happy to see that she felt comfortable enough in this company to speak up.


“Would once a week be too often?” Christianne asked. “We could make it every other week, but then I worry we would forget or become confused as to whether it was an on week or an off.”


“No, every week would be much easier to manage,” the duchess proclaimed.


“And if for some reason someone can’t come?” Miss Hemshawe asked.


“You’ll be forced to partner with me the following week and believe me, you don’t want that!” Miss Sheffield said bursting into giggles.


A few other ladies also laughed, although the duchess and Claire merely shook their heads with condescending smiles at the girl’s silliness.


“If any are missing, we will rotate people in with each hand,” Christianne proposed.


“Scoring will be a little tricky, but it’s possible,” Claire agreed.


So far, everyone was in accord. This was definitely an auspicious beginning.


“Speaking of scoring, you named the group the Wagering Whist Society. Is there to be wagering?” Mrs. Aldridge asked, stroking her little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It was always within her easy reach if not actually in her lap.


“I was thinking that it would make the game more exciting if there was,” Christianne said.


“I only have my quarterly pin money, although sometimes it is supplemented with winnings from a race or two,” Miss Hemshawe said, unabashed to admit that her disposable income was limited.



“We don’t have to wager for money,” Lady Sorell offered. “We could simply keep track of points.”


“But then how does one win?” Miss Hemshawe asked. “Someone must.”


“And what does one win?” Miss Sheffield asked immediately afterward.



“What are we wagering? What are we playing for?” Mrs. Aldridge asked.


“Well, most commonly one wagers a penny or a ha’penny a point,” Christianne said.


“But if we’re not going to be playing for money since that would be difficult for some of us…” Miss Hemshawe started to ask. She didn’t need to finish her question.


It was quiet for a few minutes while everyone considered this.


The Duchess of Kendell broke the silence with a whisper.


“Secrets.”


“What?” Claire said, spinning around to face the duchess.


The lady looked up from her hands clasped tightly in her lap, which had been her focus when she’d spoken. “We all have them. I propose that we wager our secrets—with the understanding that they will not go beyond this group. No gossiping. No spreading of tales. Not a hint to anyone—not even husbands, mothers, or sisters.”


“That’s a very high price to pay for losing a card game,” Miss Sheffield said, her usual smile faltering just a touch.


“It is an extremely high price to pay,” Mrs. Aldridge agreed.


“But it won’t damage anyone’s purse,” Miss Hemshawe said, considering it.


“Only your reputation,” Claire added. She was one to speak. She was well known for her impeccable reputation. She and Christianne had been friends for years, and yet Christianne had no notion if Claire even had a secret.


“No, not if it doesn’t go beyond this group,” the duchess explained.


“It could still damage you within the group,” Lady Sorell said.


“Yes, that is true,” Duchess Kendell agreed.


“It certainly demands a great deal of trust in each other,” Lady Moreton commented.


“That’s the thing. If we swap partners every game, we will each have an equal chance to win or lose. It balances the play,” the duchess began.


“Which means that at some point, if we continue to play for long enough, each one of us will lose at some point,” Lady Sorell finished for her.


“Precisely.” The duchess nodded.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?


This is the first three books—the complete first season—of the award-winning Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society series.


Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:


Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win. Runs December 27 – January 5, 2023. Winner will be drawn on January 6, 2023.



Author Biography:


Meredith Bond's books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won't soon forget.


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