Martha Waters is back with the second book in her Regency Vows series, To Love and To Loathe. This absolutely perfect Regency romance is chock-full of chatty, flirty characters and delectable scoundrels. It’s charming, happy and perhaps best of all, it’s got a scandalous wager between enemies.
The tension between the widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, is through the roof. Their flirting is legendary—everyone can see it—and in an era ruled by gossip, it seems obvious the two will wind up together. Except, of course, to Diana and Jeremy, because these frenemies love to bicker.
Over one particularly dicey row, Diana makes Jeremy a wager that comes back to haunt her. She bets Jeremy that he’ll marry within a year, or she’ll give him 100 pounds. But Jeremy, who’s reeling after his last mistress criticized his skills in the bedroom, proposes something even more shocking. He suggests they have an affair for a fortnight, because he knows the sharp-tongued, honest to a fault Diana won’t shy away from telling him the truth.
What follows is a saucy and scandalous romance that’s addictive fun while capably portraying both characters’ internal conflict. Waters sets a jaunty pace with flirty dialogue, easy camaraderie and enjoyable characters. All the typical trademarks of Regency era are present, but thanks to Waters’ charm, this story feels timeless and young and fun.