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Publisher's Summary

"Bella's mouth fell open in astonishment. She'd never seen two men kiss, and had never heard of such a thing, but a warming prickle between her thighs told her she approved wholeheartedly."

When young, 18th-century lady Bella Rushdale finds herself fiercely attracted to handsome landowner Lucerne Marlinscar, she does not expect the rival for her affections to be another man. However, the handsome and decadent Marquis Pennerley has desired Lucerne for years, and when they are brought together at the remote Lauwine Hall for a country party on the Yorkshire Moors, he intends to claim him. This leads to a passionate struggle for dominance, at the risk of scandal, between the highly sexed Bella and the debauched aristocrat. Ultimately it will be Lucerne who will choose the outcome, and his decision will be bound to upset somebody's plans.

©2007 Madelynne Ellis; (P)2007 Virgin Books Ltd

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  • Overall

Risque Period Romance

This book was absolutely delightful! For anyone looking for a delicate romance with ocean deep volumes of tender meaningful conversation and tender lovemaking, this is NOT the book for you. Ellis has a fantastically ribald sense of humor and creates a delicious tangled web of relationships between her characters.

Like a sexually charged Jane Austin novel, Ellis managed to create a period sexual drama that kept me interested until the very end. This is not the book for the faint of heart when it comes to sexuality, be prepared for wild trysts that cross genders. Bella was a wonderful main character (I hesitate to call her a heroine), she was beautiful, naughty and shortsighted but her realistic short comings made her such an endearing and enjoyable character. Vaughan was hands down my favorite, a fantastic character. Totally devilish. Honestly I'd love to read a follow-up book to this one following more of their escapades.

Ms. Gardener, the narrator, did a brilliant job with this book, though at times it seemed she spoke too quickly. Her accent added to the atmosphere of the book and the way she portrayed Vaughan was incredible. She managed to convey all of Vaughan's wicked aloof humor. I'm definitely going to listen to this again. This book will not be for everyone but it managed to exceed my expectations in a romance novel. Thank you so much Ms. Ellis! I look forward to reading more of your books!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Wanda
  • Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 09-07-07

an enjoyable book

This is not a Georgette Heyer by any means. But the character Vaughan, my absolute favorite, reminded me of a younger Lord Alistar from These Old Shades. One thing I liked was how all the characters developed over the course of the book. M. Ellis did a nice job in the variety of conflicts facing all her characters. This book is not for the unadventurous in terms of sexuality. But it exceeded my expectations. I will definitely look for more from this author.

And the narrator, Betsy Garden, added so much to the enjoyment of this book. She gave all the different characters their own personalities, especially Vaughan. This is one that I will be listening to again. And I'm going to look for other books Ms. Garden has narrated as well. She is just so good.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Stacey
  • Jacksonville, AR, USA
  • 01-03-09

Graphic but loved the book

Black Lace books are erotic fiction, there are some that will go into this thinking it's a romance with a more sex than normal. A Gentleman's Wager is an erotic tale. It relates around Lady Bella Rushdale who finds her sex exploits becoming blase after discovering the new owner of her favorite tristing spot sunbathing naked. From her perch she observes him amusing himself & decides she wants to seduce him. She finds herself attracted to the new landowner Lucerne Marlinscar. She is invited for a stay with other guests at his newly renovated property. Bella decides will be the perfect time to put her plan into place with Lucerne. Only to discover among the many guests a darkly handsome man Marquis (Vaughan) Pennerley among the guests & with eyes for Lucerne as well. Bella suspects something between the two men but wants to prove to Vaughan that Lucerne will choose her.
A great battle of wills between Vaughan & Bella begins for the affections of Lucerne. The tale is well written & you don't know who is good or bad in the triangle.
Also, Louisa, Bella's friend who isn't experienced & isn't sure about the attentions being thrown her way by Vaughan as well as the man she's infatuated with Wakefield. The story is wrought with intrigue & deception with many twists & turns. The love scenes/sex is graphic, but also emotional & you feel uncertainty/pain/pleasure/vulnerability of the cast of characters.
Just thinking of this as an Erotica is an understatement, there is an underlying story of forbidden/unrequited love & the lengths people will go to have their desires for another come true. You could easily remove the graphic scenes from the book & still have a very interesting book. I found myself concerned for the characters & how the story would play out. I enjoyed this book & am glad now that I bought it. She turned what could be a bodice ripper into an intriguing erotic story that was worth the read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • leslie
  • newhall, CA, United States
  • 09-10-08

Great! I'll look for more from this author.

I thought it was a great listen, highly erotic, and very well read and written. Judging by the outrage from other readers, they must have been expecting something more conventionally romantic- which this is decidedly NOT. You say 'pornography'- I say "erotica". I hope the detractors don't have an undue influence on audible's buyers. I really liked this book, as well as the erotica of Kristina Lloyd. I'd like to hear more from both of these writers.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Smart, spicy and sexy

A Gentleman's Wager begins like a rompy piece of Victorian erotica, but evolves into something quite well crafted. The characters are richer and more complicated than the publisher's blurb would lead you to believe. That being said, the character of the heroine might have benefited by a little more socio-historical accuracy, or at least a back-story that adequately explains her remarkable lack of inhibition, considering the period in which the novel is set.

Nonetheless, considering the lack of narrative prowess that marks most erotica, this rises above the rest considerably and, in places, really is both smart and very sexy.

The reader is excellent - especially for this genre.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


The book was o.k. A lot of sex - female/male, male/male, & three-some. Which was fine but some was out of place. Will definately get you hot.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I was looking for a steamy novel. Got that and more. Best I've read in this genre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Sizzling Hot!!!

If I was a novelist, this is what I would have wrote. Love this book, loads of explicit sex, deviate characters and just a great debauched time had by all. A must read, but use your headphones!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kc
  • aurora, CO, USA
  • 04-29-08

A Gentleman's Wager

Nicely Erotic

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • mary
  • RIDGEFIELD PARK, NJ, United States
  • 02-26-12

Everything Erotica

What did you love best about A Gentleman's Wager?

I enjoyed this listen, I love a good story besides a good erotic book. This book had a good story and make no mistake it is not for the light erotic reader. It is worth mentioning that the narrator was perfectly suited for this book. I looked for additional titles from this author~ nothing~ I hope there is a work in process.

What about Betsy Garden’s performance did you like?

Perfect use of her vocal gifts. Perfect inflection of each characters distinct persona through her vocal tone. I am going to see what else Besty narrorated.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I began and had to discontinue my listen for

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • eutest112
  • 02-28-11

Good one

A good book; well narrated. Thanks to Audible for having this in store. I really enjoyed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bhavna
  • 02-10-11


Very Very Hot throughout. Great story great characters, great period piece, and Very hot from start to finish with no dull moments

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Caz in Maspalomas
  • 11-18-14


If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Schoolkids, reading behind the cycle shed

What was most disappointing about Madelynne Ellis’s story?

Without the detailed sex there's nothing left

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?


Any additional comments?

Waste of my money