Series: Wicked Wallflowers, #1
Release Date: April 3, 2018
I want to start this review by stating that I requested this book because it was touted as the first book in a new series. I would disagree – I did not read the previous Sinful Brides series, but every single person in this book (save one very minor character) is a character from that series – the hero in this book is a “brother” to the previous series heroes and the heroine is the “sister” to the villain in that series. I am all about authors bringing back previous characters for cameos – but this was more like a continuation of that series, so many references are made to prior events that I really didn’t understand the significance of in this book – that said, it is not a bad book – but if you haven’t read Sinful Brides, be prepared to feel a little lost.
Adair Thorne has lost everything to fire twice, first his family when he was a boy and now as he watches the Hell and Sin Club burn. He is filled with rage, the club is everything to him and now it is gone and he knows exactly who is to blame – the Killoran Family. He and his brothers had formed a truce with them and even promised to sponsor one of his sisters for the season – but after this, there is no way they will honor that promise.
Adair and his brothers will rebuild, but first they need to deal with Broderick Killoran. Broderick, his guard and his sister Cleopatra are summoned for a meeting. Thinking it is make arrangements for the season, they willing attend. They are floored that they are being accused of arson and vehemently deny any part in the fire and without proof to back up their accusations, Broderick demands they honor the agreement. Ryker’s wife concurs and plans are made.
Cleopatra aka Cleo, thinks Broderick’s dream of having his sisters marry nobility is stupid, but rather than make one of her sisters sacrifice themselves, she insists on being the one sent.
Adair is assigned to “watch” her and doesn’t trust her at all. This is reiterated over and over and over. Finally he begins to lighten up a bit and the two form a friendship of sorts – she sees the plans for the new club and offers suggestions, which at first he scoffs at, but then begins to see the merits of her suggestions.
When her season starts, she is not interested in any of the Lords paraded before her and she is largely ignored. Adair is the only bright spot in any of the events she attends. She makes a wager with him and they end up alone in the host’s billiard room, they are kissing when Adair hears someone approaching, he goes out the window and the door opens before she can follow him. This is when she meets the Marquess of Landon. He flirts with her and then asks her to dance with him. She is a bit disappointed, she has been waiting to dance for weeks and was hoping Adair would be her first dance. Adair watches from the side of the dance floor and is filled with jealousy.
Later, they meet in his office and dance and then he takes her to the club. They make love and she knows she loves him. She feels the need to honest with him and shares a secret that could destroy any hope of a HEA. Adair is stunned by her revelation and she flees.
Belatedly, he comes to his senses and goes after her, but she is gone. He returns home to find out that she is there and has a caller, Lord Landon. He finds out that Landon asked her to marry him and tells her he loves her and asks her to marry him instead, but before she can answer, Ryder comes in and has information that obliterates any hope of them being together.
This was a well written book, but the first two-thirds of the story dragged and was repetitious, but once she actually starts her “season” the story takes off and is fantastic. It also ends a little abruptly with no setup for the next book in the series – which is another reason this felt more like an installment of the Sinful Brides instead of new series. The love scenes were on the warm side, the ending was dramatic and I really believed the love between Adair and Cleopatra. I would say if you read the Sinful Brides, you will definitely want to read this book and will enjoy it. But speaking for those readers who haven’t read that series, this was not the easiest book to follow, it felt like I was reading a book in the middle of a series and didn’t know the characters.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*