How could the owner of Donville Masquerade, an upscale Gambling Den, possibly associate with the sister of Raphael Flynn, the new Duke of Hartholm? Yet as Marcus Rivers surveyed the clientele at his establishment, there she was, masked but still recognizable, especially to someone who had been spying on her for years – Annabelle Flynn, his best friend’s sibling, and also the sister of the drunken man tied up in one of his back rooms. Rivers had to decide, did he dare assist Annabelle in her quest to help Crispin, ignoring the fact that her very presence drove him to distraction? And if she, too, wanted something more, could he refuse to oblige her every whim? All he had to do was keep her virginity intact for the husband she was trying to snag from the Upper Ten Thousand of the Ton. That would be easy – or would it?
This sensuous Regency Romance is Part 2 of the Notorious Flynn series, The Scoundrel’s Lover by Jess Michaels. Book One, The Other Duke, deals with older brother, Rafe, who inherits a Dukedom along with an arranged marriage. Soon to be released Book Three, The Widow Wager, deals with younger brother, Crispin, who is bent on destroying himself to the chagrin of his family. He is the reason that Annabelle feels compelled to turn to Marcus for help. Her plan is to clandestinely watch over her brother while he frequents the Hell Hall every Tuesday and Thursday, but it’s not too long before the erotica of this establishment (gambling and drinking aren’t the only vices found there) brings out her own bawdy thoughts. Then there is Marcus who is more than willing to cater to her passionate side, a character trait, that, as a Flynn, is as much a part of her as breathing.
Michaels does not portrayed the aristocracy in a good light. Annabelle, despite her beauty and a large dowry, is snubbed by the elite, except for one gentleman who is willing to overlook her family’s part indiscretions, for a price. Annabelle must decide if she is willing to abide by the restrictions of the ton or choose the comfort and freedom of a life with Marcus. Saying that the Flynns are unconventional is an understatement. No matter what their behaviors, to them family is everything. How each of the characters deal with Annabelle’s one and only chance for a season, makes for some interesting reading.
Jess Michaels spends more time describing activities at the bawdy house than at the various balls Annabelle attends, and this author is not shy about filling us in on all the explicit details. Her erotic descriptions are sure to titillate the reader. Does this story accurately reflect the Regency Era in the 1820’s? Perhaps not to the letter, but then, if authors only wrote about characters with prudish behaviors, we wouldn’t have as much fun reading their stories. My main complaint is that Michaels tends to walk a fine line between too much repetitions of thoughts and feelings and just enough to keep our interest – on occasion leaning too far in the wrong direction.
If you are looking for a “fun” time, then you’ve dialed the right book. A solid four stars as well as a vow to place the other two books in this series on my wish list.
Thank you to Netgalley and Victory Editing for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.