HELL TO PAY
Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.
But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal—one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.
Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart…
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
I was lucky enough to be able to review the first book of Ms Archer’s Hellraisers series Devil’s Kiss last year and I really enjoyed it. As a result when we were offered the opportunity to review Demon’s Bride I leaped at the chance. Once again Ms Archer sucked me in from the very start. You do need to read Devil’s Kiss first because that provides information about The Hellraisers, their goals, how the initial bargain was struck and the potential consequences of that bargain. Demon’s Bride begins shortly after the tumultuous events end in book one.
I have read about arranged marriages, betrothals from birth, and marriages for a price but I have never seen a wedding feast where that was so explicitly known between bride and groom yet the majority of the guests were oblivious. The feast and the night that followed seemed to set the tone for their relationship. He kept his relationship with the other Hellraisers and their common bond a secret but was completely open about his drive for financial success and how he planned to use the wedding feast invitation as a way to soften up some of his potential targets. While Leo could have claimed his rights as Anne’s husband the very first night instead, after noticing her trepidation was growing he decided to seduce her over time and not press until she was ready.
I really enjoyed how both Leo and Anne decided to make the best of what they had and to make something good of it. Their conversations about growing up, their goals and how Anne volunteered to do things she really didn’t enjoy for the purposes of helping her husband were wonderful to see. This was a breath of fresh air compared to the majority of the historical that I have read where the burden of making the marriage work falls mainly on the wife. Yet despite their growing bond the specter of Leo’s bargain with the Devil and his secrets hangs over them. As thoughts of Anne started distracting Leo from causing the financial downfall of other men on the ‘Change, the Devil’s representative started working harder to gain control of Leo’s soul. Ms Archer kept the action going because while Leo was dealing with the Devil, the ‘Change, his plans with the other Hellraisers to hunt down and destroy James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, the hero of Devil’s Kiss Anne was receiving warnings about her husband and his friends by a female ghost and by the selfsame Whitney.
It was really intriguing to watch both Anne and Leo grow and struggle emotionally throughout the book. They dealt with doubts about each other, doubts about the relationship they had been building, and doubts about their individual self-worth. Each had to individually confront their fears and decide which path they were going to take towards their future. Some rather interesting events occurred at the end, which I think will lead to some rather tense times for the remaining Hellraisers.
Ms Archer provided me with action, high stakes, a sweet romance, and some serious curiosity about what happens next.
I give Demon’s Bride an A
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