ARC Review: A Scandalous Bargain by Darcy Burke

Thanks to NetGalley and Darcy Burke Publishing for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A Scandalous Bargain (The Pretenders #2)
Publisher: Darcy Burke Publishing
Publication Date: 10 November 2020
Genre: Historical Romance
Panda Rating:


Tricked into marriage five years ago, Thomas Devereaux, Lord Rockbourne is suddenly a widower. Rumors abound that his wife’s death may not have been an accident and given the troubling secrets Thomas keeps buried, even he isn’t entirely sure. But when a woman sees what happened, he agrees to accept her help to disguise the facts in exchange for not divulging her suspicious behavior. Their arrangement grows more complicated under the force of a scorching mutual attraction.

Abandoned by her father—a duke—after the death of her mother—his beloved mistress—Beatrix Linley has fought to become a daughter he could be proud of, that he would regret leaving. She becomes the toast of the Season until her penchant for pilfering pretty things threatens to expose the illicit past she needs desperately to remain hidden. Soon the scandal and darkness both Beatrix and Thomas fear comes to light, compelling them to finally face their demons—and potentially driving them apart forever

This was my second historical romance by Darcy Burke and just as with the first, I really enjoyed this too! Although this is the second book in her Pretenders series, and we do encounter characters introduced in the first book, it can very much be read as a standalone. Were some elements of the story a little improbable and often predictable? Yes, but that honestly didn’t stop me from enjoying it. I think if I were more discerning about the time period and how the hero/heroine meet, then I might have an issue with it. As it is, I thought it was a unique meet-cute and I enjoyed how their relationship unfolded. It was a fast-paced and entertaining historical romance and exactly what I was looking for when I chose to read this book.

I found Beatrix and Thomas to be very likeable characters. I appreciated how Beatrix’s main goal for her season wasn’t to snag a husband but to reconnect with her father who abandoned her as a child. She has a strong independent streak and she’s delightfully sharp-witted. I felt like she complemented Thomas’ character very well, as she can really hold her own and she proves it time and again. My heart went out to Thomas because, after a childhood of abuse, all he wanted was a happy and supportive marriage and he got quite the opposite. I adored how much he cared for his daughter and how despite his ex-wife was a terrible person, he still tried to do right by her for his daughter’s sake. Their connection was a little surprising at first but I liked how their unlikely friendship grew into romance and it did get pretty steamy between these two! I’d say 4/5 on the steamy scale.

There were some loose ends that I wish had been tied up or better addressed and that’s why I didn’t rate this higher. For starters, Beatrix’s half-sibling completely fell off the radar after it seemed that he’d play a bigger and more supportive role. There was also the issue of Beatrix’s compulsive stealing that didn’t have a resolution and was kind of brushed over at the end for the HEA. Although I did like how their relationship evolved, I thought the romance did move kind of quickly, although I’m finding that in a lot of historical romances when you wanna get married, you basically get married right away and there wasn’t a long waiting period? LOL It’s a bit jarring at times! 😂

TL;DR: This was an enjoyable romance and a series with characters that I’m looking forward to reading more of! If I’m right in guessing the next book will be about Rafe then I’m really looking forward to it because I’m liking the sound of his story 😊 I’d recommend this for those who enjoy a fast-paced historical romance with strong heroines, likeable heroes, and a good dose of steamy connection!

Have you read A Scandalous Bargain or is it on your TBR?

12 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Scandalous Bargain by Darcy Burke

  1. This sounds like a good one! Thomas and Beatrix sound like they have a wonderful romance, and I definitely want to read more of their story. And I wonder if Beatrix’s half-sibling will show up in future books? You never know! Adding it to my TBR! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope he does show up in future books! I was a bit disappointed that his arc, which seemed kinda promising, just disappeared so quickly 😂 But I think I’m even more curious to read about her other “sibling” more and I actually think his book is next! Hope you enjoy this one 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] The Cousins by Karen M. McManus ★★★★☆I had so much fun with this and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it when I had to put it down. I’m a fan of McManus’ YA mysteries and this one was probably my favourite. Our main characters are easily likeable and although not super action packed, the twists this story takes was a thrilling ride! I defo said my fair share of “OMG NO!” while reading! 🤣 My review for the blog tour is up Saturday!A Scandalous Bargain (The Pretenders #2) by Darcy Burke ★★★½This was another enjoyable historical romance by Burke! I loved the feisty heroine and our slightly “tortured soul” hero. It was fun to watch them get close as friends and eventually give into the sizzling chemistry–because oof, it was fire 🔥 There were some loose ends that I wish had been better tied up but overall, this was an entertaining story. Check out my review! […]

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