The Baron’s Dangerous Contract (The Duke’s Pact #4)


As the only daughter of a well-respected horseman, Penny Darlington is regarded for her own knowledge of horses. She has developed a rapport with equally horse-mad Lord Cabot, or so she thinks, until he levels her with a cutting remark in public. After this debacle, a hurt Penny is dismayed to find Cabot will be a houseguest of her family during the Newmarket races, and vows to avoid him. Henry hopes Penny will be able to forgive him with a laugh and move on, as he has his own problems in trying to come up with the money to cover his filly’s race entry fee. These two dance around each other as those around them work to maintain the strife between them. The ill-intentioned moneylender Henry seeks aid from sets out to cause problems that Penny must ultimately solve, lest Henry be ruined.

This was a sweet read with main characters who showed a good deal of growth and acquired self-awareness. Unfortunately, this did not come with much genuine communication between them, and the romance aspect fizzled out. Apart from that, however, there was delightful humor in the antics of the supporting characters as they strove to keep Henry and Penny apart. Henry’s final self-realization was charming, though his lack of page time with Penny was disappointing. Readers who enjoy a skilled, respected heroine learning her own strength, and a detailed writing style will be pleased by this book and its foray into the world of horse racing, though the danger and romance were rather tepid after such a strong buildup of tension between the main characters. An entertaining and fun read.

Niki Price