Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
* I am voluntarily leaving a review for the book that was provided to me by the author*
This is the third book in the Heiress Games series, the series is about 3 cousins “competing” to be named the heir of Maidenstone. Their grandfather’s will states that they all have to marry within a year of his death and Ferguson, The Duke of Rothwell will decide who has made the best match and award the estate to them. The first book was about the American cousin Callie, the second was about Octavia and this book is about Lucy.
I started this book not really knowing what to expect, Lucy and Octavia had a falling out years ago and other than the fact that Lucy told Octavia’s brother about a kiss she witnessed between Octavia and Lord Chapman, that lead to a duel and the deaths of both men and Octavia being ruined – I had no idea what caused the major falling out between the two cousins, who seemed more like sisters. I finished Octavia’s book feeling like there must be more to this story than just Lucy tattling – and there is!
Lucy has been at Maidenstone for the past four years, she feels that she is the one who should inherit, as she is the only one who has been there and has been running the estate. She was not pleased when Ferguson decided to have a house party so the girls could find husbands, Lucy doesn’t feel that she should have to marry. She is also not thrilled when Octavia and Callie show up – when Callie marries Ferguson’s nemesis the Duke of Thorington, she figures she only has to beat Octavia to win, and since Octavia has run off with Lord Rafe (Thorington’s brother) she figures she has the estate all but won!
Lucy is pretty much planning her future as lady of the castle when she is thrown a curve ball – Max Vale shows up at the castle claiming to be the lost heir of the Earl of Maidenstone. Lucy knows he is a fraud, but Ferguson seems to like him and marrying him would cinch a win for her. Lucy makes it her mission to convince Max to marry her.
Max is a thief, he and his siblings have been reunited after spending years apart. When their father died, they were separated and Max turned to theft to support himself. When he finally finds his sisters and brothers, he was determined to keep them all together and had saved enough to start a new life. Unfortunately, his younger siblings try their hand at housebreaking and are caught by Max’s enemy. He has to pull off the biggest heist of his life to save them and have enough to get them all away from England. He remembers his father’s stories about the Brairley family and his belief that they were related to them, even though he has no proof. With a bit of help from his brother Titus, they forge the proof. He doesn’t want to claim the earldom, he just wants to get inside the castle and rob them blind.
Max never counted on Lucy. He is drawn to her from the very start and wishes things could be different. As Lucy tries to get Max to agree to marry her, they grow close. Lucy knows Max is hiding something, but so is she. Finally, Lucy decides that if she wants Max to trust her, she will have to trust him first. She shares the secret of why she wants/needs to stay at Maidenstone and Max is shocked and humbled that she would trust him with her deepest secret. He opens up a little and shares some of his past, but his secrets are not his alone and he can’t put his family in danger. When Lucy finds proof that Max is indeed the lost heir, it was very heartbreaking. Max knows he loves Lucy, but his past would ruin her and he can’t see anyway to escape. Reluctantly, he decides to carry out his original plan – rob them and leave.
When Lucy realizes what Max has done, she is at first heartbroken and then she is angry and she decides that she is done playing games and will take what she wants. And what Lucy wants is Maidenstone and Max.
I really enjoyed this book, I can honestly say I never saw the true reason Lucy was so upset at Octavia coming! And I loved her passion and dedication to Maidenstone and Max. And Max was just a wonderful hero, a little tortured, but very steady and loyal.
I am a bit sorry to see the end of this series – mostly because I will miss Ferguson and Thorn! I hope there is at least one more book, I would love to see Emma get her HEA.
If you have been following the series, this book is not to be missed! However, I would recommend reading this series in order, all the books are excellent, so it will not be a hardship 🙂