Release Date: 6 Dec 2011
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Demons
Summary: A HANDSOME DEVIL
1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.
Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind...
Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…
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Review: I'm always up for a historical romance that involves the reform of a rake, and what could possibly make that even better? Having a little paranormal added in there, of course! Within the first few pages of the book I was kicking myself for not having read it sooner. The beginning was amazing. I was instantly intrigued by the characters and story which almost never happens with romances for me. I usually have to read a few chapters and get to the 'good' parts (at least to the point of the hero/heroine meeting) before I'm entranced and can't put the book down. But no, Archer captured me with just a few pages.
One of the things I was most pleased with in reading this book was that Whit wasn't just described as a hellraiser, he actually did cruel things in the story. I hate it when a writer describes her hero as a debaucherous manwhore but never proves it in the book because as soon as he sees the heroine, he magically changes. Then again it completely enrages me when it's on the opposite end too and the hero cheats on or seriously betrays the heroine. Cheating heroes make me rage like nothing else! I thought that Archer did a masterful job in keeping Whit true to his gambling addicted form while maintaining my hope and interest in his character.
Ever since seeing Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows I've had this ridiculous love of all things gypsy... and RDJ (but he's been a long love of mine). I was immensely satisfied with Zora's character. Not only was she everything I love in a strong romance heroine but she also had so many of the kiss-ass traits I love in urban fantasy ones. To go even further I'd have to confess that my gypsy fascination is burning even more brightly (subtle joke was purposeful).
In historical romances the hero as nobleman and the heroine as a poor commoner is an overused basis from which I still, more often than not, derive enjoyment. Maybe it was the paranormal aspects but I found Archer's take on this station imbalance to be completely fresh and a whole lot of fun.
His hand on the doorknob, he said, "Speaking of chocolate, I’d advise not frightening my servants with your ghostly hauntings."Rating: 4½ Bites (Phenomenal, loved it -- Really enjoyed it)
"It doesn’t matter to me if I scare them."
"It should, as they’re the ones who bring you food. Or, I could wait on you."
She frowned. "Teasing your captive is bad form."
"I’m not teasing. It would give me much pleasure to take care of you, Zora." The huskiness of his voice revealed him to be quite sincere.
No answer or biting reply came to her. All she could feel was stunned, uncertain. He was neither hero nor villain, but something in between, and this confused her deeply.