Bedchamber Games (Rakes of Cavendish Square #3) by Tracy Anne Warren

This title may be purchased from Amazon.

Rosamund Carrow has spent years learning the law by assisting her barrister father, despite the frustrating truth that the profession is closed to women. When he dies unexpectedly, necessity compels her to disguise herself as a man so she can step into the courtroom to finish his cases. She’s willing to put her reputation at risk, but she never expects that the greatest peril will be to her heart…

Lord Lawrence Byron is a rising star in London’s legal circles, despite his reputation as an unrepentant rakehell. When an upstart young barrister defeats him in court, he’s determined to discover everything he can about his rival. He’s stunned when he uncovers the shocking secret that his new opponent is actually a beguiling, brilliant woman, one he can’t help but want in his bed. Passion draws them together as they break all the rules, but it may lead to something more lasting like love…

Rating: B-

This final book in the Rakes of Cavendish Square trilogy features Lord Lawrence Byron, the twin brother of Lord Leo whose story was told in the first instalment, The Bedding Proposal. I enjoyed both that and the previous book (Happily Bedded Bliss) enough to want to read this final one, even though it uses one of my least favourite tropes – a woman passing herself off as a man. It’s testament to the author’s ability to tell an entertaining story and craft strong characters that I was able to set aside that dislike and enjoy the developing relationship between the two protagonists, which is well-paced and imbued with a slow-burning sexual tension that really draws the reader in.

Rosamund Carrow and her brother, Bertram, were both extensively tutored in law by their father, a renowned barrister. Even though the profession is closed to her purely because of her gender, Rosamund showed a great aptitude for the subject and regularly assisted her father in his preparations and research, but his sudden death leaves behind a lot of unfinished, untried – and unpaid – cases. The obvious solution would be for Bertram to complete the work and make the necessary court appearances, but he suffers from a speech impediment which becomes worse whenever he gets nervous, and it quickly becomes apparent that he isn’t going to be able to take on his father’s role. Nervously, Rosamund agrees to Bertram’s suggestion that she should pose as their cousin, Ross Carrow; that way, she can assist Bertram in court and as soon as the cases are cleared, she can return to being herself again and quietly disappear.

On their first day in court, Rosamund and Bertram find themselves pitted against none other than Lord Lawrence Byron, a man with a formidable reputation for winning his lawsuits and a keen legal mind. He’s also the handsomest man Rosamund has ever seen, with a rakish reputation to go along with his abundance of good looks and charm. The case – brought by a young widow against her late husband’s family – is a tricky one, Bertram’s nerves prove his undoing and he’s forced to ask Rosamund to take over as lead counsel. Still unable to believe that nobody has noticed the deception she is practicing, she nonetheless rises to the challenge and, incredibly, wins the case.

Lawrence is gracious in defeat, acknowledging that “Mr. Carrow’s” persuasive arguments carried the day, and, finding himself rather well disposed towards the young lawyer, invites “him” to dinner at his club.

Over the next few weeks, as Rosamund continues to represent her late father’s remaining clients in court, she also gets to spend more time with Lawrence, who has taken her under his wing. Lawrence is amused at the gaucheness of this slight young man who can’t hold his drink and doesn’t quite seem comfortable in his own skin, but he can’t help admiring his quickness of mind and his ability to construct a strong legal argument. The problem is that for the first time in his life, Lawrence finds himself distracted by the speaking eyes, plump lips and nicely rounded bottom of a member of his own sex – and is unnerved by it.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance

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