Surrender of Trust: Mariel Grey
Many different worlds collide within the pages of this novel as we meet Lucy Goodwin at the start of the story visiting her good friend Lady Monique. Women are taught to sew, embroider run a house and have children but Lucy Goodwin was independent, strong minded and strong willed and refused to lose what some might way her individuality or her own identity. But, Lucy’s world is about to come crashing down on her when her brother Lucien is seriously injured in a coach accident. The doctor on hand, diagnosis made using the limited skills and medications available Lucy is left to run the family business, hopefully be able to keep it solvent and not fall behind in her bills. But, one visitor to her home would change it all as she learns a hidden truth about her brother who owes on man a huge debt. Lucien is a jockey and runs a horse breeding business. His injuries are so severe that he is placed in what we would call in the present a medical coma in order to heal any internal injuries that he might have incurred. Faced with this dilemma and one man named Perdan claiming that he cheated on a race and owed him a huge debt, Lucy is faced with how to pay him off and safe face for her family. Debts that are not paid in this case would disgrace her, her brother and the business. Before dealing with this blackmailer she enlists the help of her friend, Monique to discuss her options and how she can access the funds to pay him off. Her solution might be quite insightful the end result would change nothing.
Lord Philip Lyton, Lucy enchants Marquis of Chalifour at first sight. Setting his sights on her and wanting to make her more than just a mere acquaintance he sets out to not only complete the business deal with her brother but close a different one with Lucy. Meeting with her and wanting to see her brother he begins to wonder why he is not available. Showing her the contract and not understanding why no changes would be made but the document would be signed unchallenged sent up red flags but as yet nothing hindered the deal. But, the reader begins to wonder just what Chalifour really wants and if the deal with Lucien to board his horses and breed them with his was the true motive for getting involved with her family or was Lucy the prize all along. Two bad situations: One huge debt that was never going to end because the blackmailer wanted regular payments forever or else he would destroy her family and its reputation and a deal that she wanted to close in order to save her business, her family and pay her bills. Just whom can she trust and what will happen when the truth about the signature on these documents comes out?
Lucien is a jockey and in order to rid herself of this blackmailer she has decided to enter one of her horses in a race and ride herself. Forging ahead in many different ways means not only going forward with her plans but also forging her brother’s name on a bank check to the blackmailer and signing his name on the contract too. The chemistry between them ignites when she allows herself to succumb to his advances while spending some time with him and his sister Lady Elizabeth before signing the contract. Two worlds yet both filled with lies and deceit. One with the blackmailer who has his designs on her and the other with this Marquis whose designs might not be any different but what are his true motives? Viscount Perdan is the blackmailer and claims that her brother fixed some of his races and the payment falls with her while her brother is incapacitated. Just how far will she go to create an illusion that everything is okay and prevent herself from going to prison for this debt or worse for forging her brother’s names. One on the breeding contract and the other to pay off this awful blackmailer and wanting to race in her brother’s place. Just how far will she go?
A night of passion changes it all and a marriage proposal on the spot declined. Why would she succumb to his advances when she was so concerned about having a chaperone there? Just how badly would her reputation be ruined? What happens when Chalifour questions the doctor taking care of Lucien? Will the truth come out and will he realize what she has done and will he forgive her deceit? When Lucien finally awakens and Lucy tells him of her visit with the Marquis he rebuffs her and chastises her for going without a chaperone. Assuring him that Lady Elizabeth was present at all times and that he went there to give him her opinion on some of his mares relived Lucien of his fears.
When Lucy apprises him about the contract and he states that he is working on something with him what will he do when he finds out she finalized it without his consent? But, instead of telling him she goes to visit Thor and Zeus her horses for comfort but will that be enough? As Chalifour resumed his duties since the season has begun and he is a member of the House of Lords, we hear his discussions with his friends, learn about the many upcoming races at Epsom Downs and the fact that Heather Mist has been entered to race and that Lucien is the rider. But, what happens when he learns just who is riding the horse and why? Added in during one of the discussions he learns about Lucien being a cheat, feeling that he was being used and tricked he now has to decide what Lucy’s part in this was, whom can be trusted, why this happens and if what they are saying is true. Next, he has to find out why Perdan keeps showing up at Lucy’s home and for what reason. Lies, betrayals and the truth comes out and when Chalifour learns what is behind her motives what will he do? Lucien and her brother are twins but as the author writes nearly identical more like fraternal. Added in her learns that she is the rider in the Oaks and wants to stop her. But, will he be able to and what will the final outcome be.
This is a novel that has many different layers as two families need to safe face as Chalifour learns of her deceit, a deal that could hurt them both and one man that stands to gain unless he is stopped. Contemplating the entire situation we hear Chalifour’s thoughts as he analyzes the situation, wonders that signed the contract, what Perdan’s hold is on Lucien and Lucy and if the money in from his inheritance was squandered.
Chalifour finds out she is about to race and the scene is priceless right out of a soap opera or a romance movie. One man so angry she threatens to expose her if she did not do as he said. How would she face her brother and why did her friend betray her trust? When questioned he learned that her brother has no idea that she was going to race and why not? She is quite capable but women were not supposed to race or even be as knowledgeable about horses. Forgery, debts that needed to be paid, racing in place of her brother were just some of what Lucy did to protect her family. Why was he so concerned? Did he think she was get hurt or was it his male pride? Finding herself in the home of Lord Glenhurst, speaking about personal issues and then trying to rectify the problem without falling prey to anyone’s thoughts of her getting married and finding someone to pay her way. Within Chapter 27 we hear the voice of Lord Glenhurst as he related to everyone what Lucy has planned and Chalifour sates that he was going to breed his mares with the Goodwin stallions. This revelation changed things for her as she thought his only interest was with her brother and the deal.
The author takes us inside the world of the rich as we learn that Perdan considered a peer would not be questioned and because of it allowed to lie, cheat and get away with blackmail. But, would anyone call him to task? What about Lucy and her relationship with her brother? What happens when he learns what she did?
Chalifour has had many women and Lucy might seem as another conquest but when the truth comes out why does he look to help her and why does he fight it? Cavalier at first in his attitude towards her and definitely not what she might want in a husband Lucy finds herself attracted to him like a positive charge on a magnet. An ending that you won’t forget and a plan that they hope will stop more than just the blackmailer. But, what was the reason he blackmailed Lucien and how would they foil him this time? What happens when Perdan takes matters into his own hand and has to face off with Chalifour?
Will Lucy be cleared any charges? What about the debt? Just what does Chalifour have in mind and what will his move be? Will Perdan pay for his crimes or get away? Surrender of Trust: the title says it all: Just whom can she trust and who can trust her? Loyalty, betrayal, fear, greed, lies and trust: which one wins out? Read this romance novel to find out and you decide who gets the fit punishment and who finally surrenders their trust and wins.
Fran Lewis: reviewer