Series & Title: A Season for Scandal, Book 3: Between the Devil and the Duke
Author: Kelly Bowen
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing: Forever
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From & Reviewed For: Grand Central Publishing: Forever
Their love was always in the cards.
He should have thrown her out. But when club owner Alexander Lavoie catches a mysterious blonde counting cards at his vingt-et-un table, he's more intrigued than angry. He has to see more of this beauty-in his club, in his office, in his bed. But first he'll have to devise a proposition she can't turn down.
Gossip said he was an assassin. Common sense told her to stay away. But Angelique Archer was desperate, and Lavoie's club offered a surefire way to make quick money-until she got caught. Instead of throwing her out though, the devil offers her a deal: come work for him. Refusing him means facing starvation, but with a man so sinfully handsome and fiercely protective, keeping things professional might prove impossible . . .
There's a lot to love about this story. Ms. Bowen presents a beautiful and intelligent woman of society, and a man of power without a title. Their worlds are different, their lives are different, yet the attraction between them makes the playing field even.
Angelique's unique talent with numbers is why she's at the gaming hell in the first place. She has younger brothers to care for because their older brother is too much of a good-for-absolutely-nothing Marquess. It's clear she isn't there out of necessity; options to raise funds are limited. No, if she had other options she would take them but she's desperate and playing a table puts coins coins quickly into her empty pockets.
The problem is, the owner of the club she frequents notices her. It isn't just her beauty that captures his attention but the fact the she is there consistently and she commands every table she plays at. Alex has never met a woman like her, and her ability to play so well with seemingly little effort intrigues him. That interest ratchets up when she refuses his help when things take a turn for potential worse one night. Why wouldn't she want his help?
As a reader, it's obvious: she doesn't want him to know who she is.
But there, right there, is where Angelique's appeal ensnares Alex completely. He wants to know her, know about her. He wants more with her than he's ever wanted with a woman before. Her mystery pulls him in. His desire to learn her inside and out reinforces his determination to do so.
The romance between Angelique and Alex felt both slow and fast. Getting to know one another was the slow part. The fall from attraction to lust was the fast part. For me, anyway. Yet, it didn't feel wrong. Perhaps because there were other things going on, situations and circumstances that kept the story moving, mostly involving Angelique's family. Trying to solve the mystery of where her family's fortune disappeared to plus figuring out who was behind her brother's sudden imprisonment were certainly other driving forces in this story. It was a heady mix of romance, mystery, and suspense, to be sure.
Ms. Bowen somehow manages to keep this series interesting with each additional story added. The characters are gorgeous, and I don't mean just physically. Each one is strong yet weak, able yet not, confident yet uncertain. Each couple so far has found a compliment in the other, a person who makes up for their deficiencies without degrading them. Alex and Angelique are no different. The change was greater for Angelique as she learned to trust a man who had the means help her family but would move mountains, perform the impossible, to earn her love and protect and cherish the heart she gave him.
Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.