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Summary

Hazard: A game of Chance and Luck, made riskier when Fate is rolling the dice. 

For Aristide Delacroix, the first throw summons shades from his past. A man he had met, just once, over a card-table... and the lovely girl indirectly responsible for plunging his life into catastrophe.  

For Lord Nicholas Wynstanton, tired of waiting for Madeleine Delacroix to make up her mind, it slyly suggests he begin a whole new game with loaded dice; while for Madeleine, it devises a terrifying lesson in missed opportunities and the uncertainty of second chances. 

And for Genevieve Westin, hoping widowhood will be happier than marriage, it brings a rude awakening - leaving a single, wild gamble as her only option.  

A cardsharp turned businessman, a duke’s charming brother, a stubborn, razor-edged beauty, and a desperate widow.  

Four players in a game of Hazard... all playing for very high stakes. 

©2018 Stella Riley (P)2018 Stella Riley

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Highly Recommended

Deborah C
I have just finished listening to Hazard by Stella Riley and narrated by Alex Wyndham. The writing and narration are first
class and if you like reading books set in the 18th century then this is for you. I have read all of the Rockliffe series and have them on audio as well. So if you want to escape the 21st century for a few hours I highly recommend these books.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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HAZARD – A winning pair.

Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham are once again a winning pair in Hazard, the 5th book in Ms Riley’s thoroughly entertaining Rockliffe series.
The characters created by Ms Riley are always well formed, articulate and credible. Her expertise in writing interaction between them is so realistic that you believe you are eavesdropping into conversations. So when the amazingly talented Alex Wyndham speaks the lines so beautifully crafted by Ms Riley, you are transferred into what is best described as a radio play with all roles performed by just one person, Mr.Wyndham. Old men, young women, children, aristocrats make no difference to this narrator. He is amazing.
In Hazard, humour and poignancy are in evidence throughout. From Edward, Aristide’s new assistant who hums constantly while working and Patrick, the cheery and constantly talking footman to Genevieve who opens up her heart to Rockliffe’s baby daughter in a private moment by describing how only princesses in stories have happy endings.
I will not go into the story as some reviewers do but will say that I love Aristide Delacroix and the way every word written and spoken is balanced and exquisitely delivered. The romance between he and Genevieve is delicate, delightful and so romantic.
Then there’s Lord Nicholas Wynstanton, brother to the Duke of Rockliffe, whose on/off relationship with Aristides sister Madeleine has been brewing since book 3 – The Player. Will she or won’t she accept his hand in marriage? The outcome is fraught and somewhat uncertain but worthy to the end.
Amongst these two relationships is Braxton, a man set on revenge and Ralph Sherbourne, a new character from Ms Riley who warrants further investigation. He sounds very interesting.
But the real triumph of this book is the family of friends that we’ve grown to love since Ms Riley’s Rockliffe book 1 – The Parfit Knight, once again brought together with so much warmth, love and support for each other.
Well done Stella Riley and Alex Wyndham. Together you are winning pair.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Such a lovely story!

If you have never read or listened to a book by Stella Riley, I urge you to give “Hazard” a go. Though Book 5 in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone but I guarantee that you will then want to read everything that this very talented author has written.

Set in Georgian times, “Hazard” is the epitome of historical romance. Against the vividly portrayed backdrop of wealth, rank and well defined social customs, this novel tells the love stories of two couples, complete with the necessary obstacles, misunderstandings before a ‘happy ever after’ is attained.

However, Stella Riley’s books are set apart and above the norm for this genre by the in-depth characterisation of the protagonists and the warmth, wit and empathy with which the stories are told. I always fall in love with each of Stella’s heroes and want to be friends with each of her heroines

And then there is the delicious step by step unfolding of the love stories. For me, they are just perfect. How will Nicholas conquer Madeleine’s misgivings? How will Aristide realise what is staring him in the face? Genevieve is a particularly interesting character and cleverly written. I was not sure I was going to like her at first (I should have had more faith!) but as the story progressed I fell under her spell and ended up cheering at her happy ever after.

I have listened to a couple of Alex Wyndham’s narrations of Ms Riley’s books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. His pace and tone are spot on and he brings out the nuances of the different characters at each step of their individual journeys.

I cannot stress enough how strongly I recommend all Ms Riley’s novels and this is a great place to start.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Riveting

Had me gripped from the first word to the end, it draws you into the lives of every character. so well narrated by Alex. i would recommend this series to everyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another wonderful addition to Stella Riley’s Rockliffe Georgian Series

In this, the fifth, in Stella Riley’s stunning Rockliffe series, we are treated to not one, but two compelling romances, with some plausible intrigue and plotting in the background. And, of course, the oh so gorgeous Rock plays his omniscient part - I would have been extremely disappointed had he not.

As is normal with this author, her characters are expertly developed into three dimensional, living, breathing and very believable characters. Brother and sister, Madeleine and Aristide Delacroix at last find love; Madeleine after a very rocky ride, much of which is as a result of her own insecurities.

Alex Wyndham as usual delivers a stunning performance, and as is normal with this author and narrator duo, are in perfect accord. I particularly enjoyed how Mr. Wyndham captures the cool aloofness of Aristide Delacroix - not an easy task when much of Aristide’s thoughts are conveyed through inner dialogue. After reading the e book I was struck in particular by how much an excellent narrator can highlight aspects which may go undetected in print. Aristide’s love interest, Genevieve, has been badly treated in an earlier relationship and Alex Wyndham captures her vulnerability to perfection.

Another winner for this twosome.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
  • 18-05-18

Book 5 - Hazard

I looked forward to this book. Beautifully read, and a delight as Riley books always are for me, the story was as complex and intriguing as always. I slightly regret the change in tone though - but that’s just me, there was a reason I originally became a Riley follower

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • noagnes
  • 17-05-18

Excellent continuation to a delightful series

This book, a continuation of the author's Georgian romance series, features two couples, for once not as a principal and a secondary love story but of equal weight. In fact, it should not be read without knowledge of the prequels. Nicholas and Madeleine's story has begun in Book 3 (The Player), and was present in Book 4 (The Wicked Cousin); and Aristide Delacroix, the other hero and Madeleine's brother, was also introduced in Book 3. This story starts with Aristide's past catching up with him: he is accused with having cheated in cards, years ago, in Paris. Since he is now the owner of a very respectable gaming club proud of the scrupulously fair play they ensure, the accusation could destroy his business. However, the closely knit group of his friends, the characters from previous books, lead by the Duke of Rockliffe, an enigmatic, larger-than-life, omniscient aristocrat, set out to ensure that the Delacroix siblings are supported and accepted, and in general, everyone within their circle of influence is judged based on their own merit and not based on gossip or scandals they may be tainted with through association. As one of the characters says,"birth and title don't make a gentleman [...] Character and manners do that".
This leads to Genevieve, widow of an extremely unsavoury and scandalous Earl, getting introduced in this circle and becoming acquainted with Aristide. Or rather, reacquainted - as it turns out, Aristide holds her responsible for the break in his career and the tragedy of being late from his dying mother's bedside.
So now, two young ladies who feel outcasts of society and hopeless of finding acceptance let alone love, are thrown together with the gentlemen who find them irresistible. Two very unconventional courtships mesh together with dodging attacks from adversaries who have the title and birth, but not the character and intentions of a gentleman. Aristide's reasons for marrying Genevieve may not be quite the right ones, but his protective instincts and natural kindness will lead him to help her come out of her shell and out of the shadows her late husband's abuse cast over her - leading to a heartwarming love between them. And what Nicholas's determined pursuit can't quite accomplish with Madeline, the danger he falls in by protecting her will successfully destroy her self-protecting walls and let her open up to accepting his love and admitting hers in return.
Having read the book first and listened to the audiobook afterwards, I can assert that the audio rendition, narrated by the incomparable Alex Wyndham, enhances the reading experience greatly. As always, the flawless narration, the display of subtle emotional undercurrents and humor, the excellent play with voices of the characters, the complete palette of French accent, suave aristocratic drawl, servants' and cockney dialect draws the listener completely in the scene and allows the listener to experience the romance, the conflicts, the angst and the friendship of these loveable Georgian characters. I highly recommend it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Evie Callahan
  • 12-05-18

Historical romance at its finest!

This is historical romance at its finest! The authoress is an absolute master of the period (1700s England), and the story is superbly written and remains blessedly true to the period. And it's not simply narrated, but magnificently performed by the incomparable Alex Wyndham. It just doesn't get better than this! So sit back, put your earphones on, and enjoy intrigue, adventure and above all, romance of a time long ago.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Patiotoole
  • 19-06-18

Great!

I Love how Stella Riley makes each of her characters so unique and then interweaves them throughout the various stories that she creates. Just SO perfect! Absolutely loved Aristide and Genevieve and their slowly awakened love, as well as finally seeing the culmination of Nicholas’ patient pursuit of Madeleine. And, of course, no one can beat Alex Windham’s narration in nailing every voice and characterization! Can’t wait for more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Clare McQuin
  • 18-06-18

More Please!!

This book grows on me, every time I've replayed it. I will admit that I originally preferred it in the written form but having only a few Audible books as yet, I find I like it better each time I have listened. As Mr Wyndham's interpretations have grown more familiar, they have settled into place. I still find some of his characters not quite as I imagined them, and he differentiates the individuals to an extent by age and type/position, but his general narration is excellent.
Having read the book first and the rest of the series as well - I've been an avid fan of Ms Riley's works for years and I was very glad when she resumed her writing career - I am pleased to say that she has continued to delight me with her characters and their stories and I hope she carries on with them. They have developed into friends with problems to be solved or assisted by other known people and the romances which are the raison d'etre are carried out with feeling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • D
  • 06-08-18

Charming, yet tedious

I am a big fan of Stella Riley having just found her writings in 2017. I have purchased most of her audiobooks and this one was tough to get through, but had a satisfying ending. Even though it is an interesting read, the story has a very slow build. I had to stop listening many times due to the tedium. I admire great dialogue, but the first two-thirds of the book needs more action to avoid lulls. Yet, you can't be mad because this ties up the loose ends of the Rockcliffe series, which has been a fun saga. SPOILER: I especially appreciated that Madeleine & Nicholas resolved their difficulties. I could not imagine how they would ever have a happy ending, but they did. The narration was superb. Mr. Wyndham's voice is "like what hot chocolate tastes like" (a line from Saytr's Son by Lucinda Brant). He makes it all believable. Every line is read to its best distinction. If only he could narrate every book in my library, I would be in "seventh heaven." Finally, this book is not as grand as some of the other books in the series, but necessary to bring all of the elements to closure. Thanks Audible.

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  • Maine Knitter
  • 29-07-18

Another good book in this series

A fine addition to the series. Is it the end?

What I like about Stella Riley's books - at least one of the things - is her character development. Each character is rich in detail and emotion. It adds to the enjoyment of her books.

I will admit that the beginning of the book was hard for me to get into. Then I went back and listened to THE WICKED COUSIN, the preceding book, again. That helped a lot. This book, the entire series, is best read in order.

This book involves two romances with a third briefly tied into one of them. We may have seen some old threads tied up. I hope it isn't the end of the series.

The narration, as usual by Alex Wyndham, was delightful and well done.

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  • Sparrow
  • 30-06-18

One of the Best Georgian Era Romances

Ah ... the Rockcliffe series! If this is the finale —- and I dearly hope it’s not — what a sweet, tender HOS of the last two romantic couples. Riley provides just enough historical context to make this world and its characters believably Georgian. The story has just enough fluff so as not to be overtaken by that context. Some of the phrasing and plot devices are photocopies of the previous books in the series, but that actually works well because Riley is a lovely writer whose imagination populated this community of friendships with hunky, honorable men. Best of all, the women who become their wives are not ‘by-the-book’ romantic heroines. In this male-dominant world, those women are all the more enjoyable because that masculinity isn’t overbearing. The heroes’ vulnerability is believable yet unexpected. And of course, Alex Wyndham is a FANTASTIC narrator. That French accent is DREAMY.