Published by Harlequin on September 18, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
From the streets of London......to Venetian high society!A Matches Made in Scandal story: to catch his father's murderer, broodingly arrogant Conte Luca del Pietro requires help from a most unlikely source--Becky Wickes, London's finest cardsharp. Against the decadence of Carnival, Becky's innocence and warmth captivate Luca, but as their chemistry burns hotter, the stakes of their perilous game are getting higher. For Luca is no longer playing for justice--but also to win Becky's heart...
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
His Rags-To-Riches Contessa is the third book in the Matches Made in Scandal Series by Marguerite Kaye and is a Mills & Boon Historical book.
If you have read the previous books in the series you will know about the Procurer. She is a woman of mystery who has made it her job to give second chances to women down on their luck or scandalised etc through no fault of their own. In this case, the woman she is helping is Becky Wickes. Becky is a card sharp, something and thanks to being let down by a man she thought loved her, all of London know what she is. She was caught not only cheating but cheating a member of the royal family and now she is a wanted woman. If they catch her she will be hung. It was a huge surprise to her when the Procurer came knocking at her door in the slums where she was hiding. A happy surprise though when she was offered the chance to go abroad to Venice where her card abilities were much needed by the Procurer’s client. A chance that she jumped at taking.
Conte Luca del Pietro wants revenge on the man that he knows was behind his father’s murder. That man not only killed his father, but he also stole money and treasures belonging to Venice that he and Luca’s father had kept safe in the war and were to restore to Venice when it was safe. To get his vengeance he wants Becky to use her skills to win at cards every time against his enemy and to take him for every penny that he has. He wants to return the money to Venice but also to ruin the man.
Becky agrees to help Luca and so the games begin. In the light of day, she must act as prim, proper Rebecca from England, cousin of Luca’s. In the night she must practice the new card games she must excel at cheating at in order to take on her role as the Queen of Coins. She will be a masked enigma during Carnivale which is the only time gambling is legally allowed in Venice. Playing that part will lead to Luca’s enemy’s downfall.
At times away from Luca’s home, she gets to be herself and spend time with Luca. It’s during those times that they both realise that they are attracted to each other. They also both know that there is no future for them because Luca must marry a woman of means, and after having an heir it is custom to let the wife move on, and for the man to take a mistress. It’s a custom Luca has grown up knowing he will take part in, but one that Becky would never be able to accept. Should they even think of a relationship, even a physical one when Becky needs to be concentrating on the reason she is being paid to be there? Will she be able to go through with ruining a man, one that she can understand far better than Luca. A man with a family? You will have to read and find out the answers yourself!
As always Marguerite Kaye’s ability to describe the settings in her book is superb. From the slums of London to the grandeur of Luca’s house in Venice, to the streets and canals of Venice and it’s beauty during Carnivale…I could picture it all. I could easily imagine myself there. So the scenery is set and then the story takes hold. I was gripped from the very first page. Becky and Luca are fabulous strong characters, and I absolutely adored Luca’s mother. Towards the end I didn’t even dislike the villain of the story, I just felt extreme pity towards him. It takes a good author and storyline to make me not hate the villain! All in all this book was a wonderful read and as always I can’t fault it.