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Lend me your eyes and ears, me hearties! Author Jenna Jaxon is aboard Le Bone today with a historical post about Regency gamblers AND her new release, HEART OF DESIRE, Handful of Hearts Book #2!

Happy Release Day, Lady Jenna!!! 🙂

White's Club

White’s Club. Illustration from Old and New London by Edward Walford (Cassell, c 1880).

During the Georgian and Regency periods, gambling became an almost respectable vice. Losing or winning vast sums was pretty much the norm in Regency circles, either at private parties, public assemblies such as Almack’s, gentlemen’s clubs (White’s was notorious for it,) or in gambling casinos called “gaming hells.” It was one of the few past times that both men and women could participate in together without censure.

People gambled on everything from cards to dice to horse races to more personal things like women or the outcome of a duel. White’s was famous for its betting book, where one young man wagered £3,000 on which of two raindrops would reach the end of a pane of glass first. Fortunes could be made or lost in only several hours’ play.

card-party1Some of the most popular games for gambling during the Regency included card games such as whist (the forerunner of Contract Bridge), loo, vingt-et-un (today the game Twenty-one), piquet, bezique, faro (not a card game in the traditional sense), and dice games such as hazard (similar to craps).

Private-amusementsGambling debts were considered debts of honor. While not debts that could legally be enforced, they were expected to be paid, and paid swiftly, else the gentleman would lose his reputation. These debts were to be paid before any other debts, such as bills from a tailor or shopkeeper.

One fun side-note to gambling is its role in the creation of one of our favorite meals. John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, is reputed to have disliked rising from the gambling tables long enough to eat. He had his servants bring him a slab of roast beef between two pieces of toasted bread, thus creating the sandwich. 🙂

Gambling plays a very big role in my sweet Regency romance, HEART OF DESIRE. When the hero loses a huge sum of money at cards and cannot pay his debt of honor, he’s given a unique option to satisfy the debt—marry his opponent’s sister and the debt will be forgiven!


Follow your heart to find your desire

Miss Katherine Locke is irked to start her third season dancing with the disagreeable Lord Haversham, her brother’s friend and her own arch enemy. After three years out, however, she’s finally interested in the dashing Lord Finley—only to find out her cousin has set her cap for him too. To make the man jealous, Kate feigns interest in Lord Haversham, only to be shocked to find the handsome lord apparently falling for her. With time running out, should she accept his suit and risk falling in love despite herself?

Marcus, Lord Haversham, is in a tight pinch. His estates are failing and worse, he’s just lost three thousand pounds to his best friend, Lord Ainsley. Ainsley’s solution: have Marcus marry his shrewish sister and he’ll cancel his gambling debt plus give him ten thousand more pounds for her dowry. With nowhere to turn, Marcus agrees, praying he can keep word of the wager from Miss Locke long enough to charm her into marrying him. But can he avoid falling in love himself?

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~ Excerpt ~

She really should’ve known better than to wager with her brother. His ability to assume a completely expressionless face when playing cards or placing bets had become extremely annoying. “No one could lose with good grace if they had to put up with Lord Haversham for even five minutes during a waltz. It is quite impossible to fathom. Even you, dear brother, would not take it well.”

“How fortunate then that I shall never be required to stand up with Haversham.” Nathan laughed, and Kate clenched her hands. Just because her brother fancied himself a great wit did not make it true.

“Well, mark my words, I will never undertake a wager with you or anyone else again with a forfeit involving Lord Haversham.” Just saying the name was like biting into an unripe persimmon. It turned her mouth inside out.

Nathan watched her, rubbing his fingers over his watch fob. “You are in your third Season, Kate. You could do worse than Haversham, you know.”

“Worse than…” She stared at her brother, expecting devil’s horns to sprout from his dark curly head. “How could anyone be worse than Marcus, Earl of Haversham?”

“You sound as though the man’s a scoundrel or a cad. He’s a good man, Kate. He may have fallen on hard times at the present. His father’s death affected him very deeply.” Nathan stared at her, frowning.

“I am sorry for his loss, but that doesn’t excuse—”

“He hadn’t expected to take on the mantle of responsibility for some years to come.” Her brother jumped to his friend’s defense. “By the time he got himself in hand, the estates had begun a downward slide. His uncle’s helping him take the reins of the family investments, so that should be all right. But Haversham himself is a good man. He’d make a good husband.”

Kate’s jaw dropped. “Do you seriously want me to marry him?” She grimaced and swallowed convulsively. “My mouth doesn’t even want to say the words.” That lemonade would’ve been welcome right about now. “I wouldn’t marry him if he were…were… There is no instance where I would consent to marry him.”


Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical romance in periods ranging from medieval to Victorian.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and two rambunctious cats, Marmalade and Suger.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is very active in Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

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Woo-hoo!!! Congrats again, Lady Jenna! Wishin’ you fair winds and a quick sail up the literary charts!!! Huzzah!!!

****Treasure Alert**** Cap’n will award one lucky scalawag a copy of Jenna’s book. Comment for a chance to win!