I enjoyed reading a couple of Jess Michaels’ books in the past from a different series and the title captured my eye so I picked it up since I was in the mood for a steamy Historical Romance. The plot was engaging and I was almost instantly sympathetic with the characters. The situation was fraught with secrets and I was on edge waiting for the moment when they all came out in the open and burst the situation wide open.
This third story is a direct follow-up to book one in the series through the hero. It probably would be best if the series were read in order, but I read this one first and did fine since the reader is gotten up to speed as the story moves along.
It opens with a prologue that features the hero, Liam, feeling pain when he sees his sister happily wed to his sworn enemy. It’s complicated because his enemy is the brother to the woman Liam once loved and shares the blame for her death. Liam swears to never see his sister again and to never get close enough to a woman for love.
A while later, Liam’s sister is desperate for a reconciliation so she comes up with a crazy scheme to move toward long term peace. Famed courtesan, Violet Milford is offered the large sum of money she needs to fulfill her promises so how can she say no, but the idea of seducing the duchess’ brother and wheedling secrets out of him doesn’t set well with her particularly once she starts to know him. Violet is faced with not keeping her commitment to her son or continuing the deception against Liam who is so much more than she imagined.
Liam doesn’t know what to make of his attraction to Violet, but he is in a quandary because she has made him feel and anticipate life again even though he still feels broken up and grief-stricken over Mathilda’s death. He doesn’t want to ever put his heart out there again, but yet Violet’s temptation is too much for him to ignore.
In the meantime, Violet’s friend, Olivia and Liam’s friend, Malcolm get up to a little something of their own.
Like the title, the path of the story has a Beauty and the Beast flair to it and I really enjoyed it. Violet is practicing deception to get to Liam, but nothing else has worked to break through his hard, embittered emotional walls. Even his friend treads carefully around him.
It says something for the way Violet’s character was written that I could like her and root for her even though she takes on Liam for the money. She gets in over her head when she breaks the rule of her type and falls for the guy she is supposed to be seducing, but she can’t be altruistic about it and come clean because she has someone else depending on her too.
Now Liam, I fell for him a little, but not completely. He tends to be a broody wallower who just needs a swift kick in the pants. Something terrible happened and he won’t let himself get past it even after Violet points out to him that horrific things happen to lots of people and they get up, brush off and do what they can to keep going.
The relationship is all about the sexy times at first because Liam only wants a physical connection and Violet is a courtesan. That being said, this really is a romance and there is a solid story connecting it all together.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the other books in the series and progressing on to Olivia and Malcolm’s book that will be a companion to this one since their romance runs parallel to this one. Those who enjoy historical romance with lots of spice would probably like these.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.