Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Fifth Avenue Rebels, #3
Release Date: May 24, 2022
After a year of watching Preston Clarke, her betrothed, galavant about town and ignore her instead of making plans for their wedding, Katherine Delafield takes matters into her own hands and confronts him. But things do not go as planned when Preston informs her they are not betrothed and never will be. Hurt and humiliated Kat leaves, but returns moments later to give Preston a proper setdown, informing him that he will come to regret losing her, he tries to stop her when she turns to go, but Kat is done, she has wasted enough time on Preston Clarke and she won’t waste another second on him! She visits her friend Nellie Young and makes plans to start living her life on her terms, starting with attending the scandalous masquerade known as the French Ball and maybe even taking a lover!
Preston Clarke is sorry that Katherine was hurt by his refusal to marry her, but he refuses to honor any agreement made by her father, the man he blames for his family’s near ruin. His father and Kat’s father were business partners and Kat’s father dissolved their partnership and did nothing to help Preston when his father died and Preston learned the truth about his finances – his father had gambled away everything and if not for the help of his friend Forrest, Preston and his mother would have been homeless. Through sheer determination and hard work, Preston has rebuilt his fortune and he is now poised to build the largest building in the world, that is until he learns Kat’s dad has once again betrayed him and that he may have stolen the property Preston plans to use for his project. That is something Preston will not let happen, he will get the property back by whatever means necessary.
His day goes from bad to worse when his mistress wants more than he is willing to give, they part ways and with the hope of finding a diversion, Preston attends the French Ball and meets an enchanting woman, shares a steamy encounter, and makes plans to meet the next day. Imagine their surprise when they meet the next night and discover the truth! Needless to say, they exchange some heated words and part ways – but they keep running into each other and despite his vow to stay away from her, these two are drawn to one another and embark on an affair. But when his business dealings come between them and he hurts Kat, will he be able to make things right, or has he lost her for good?
This was a well-written, nicely paced story set in America’s Gilded Age with wonderfully complex characters. The book has a lot going on, but it is so well done that it doesn’t feel busy and Kat and Preston’s personal struggles don’t diminish their romance, in fact, their struggles actually enhance their journey to HEA. The book is filled with steamy love scenes, questionable business dealings, great secondary characters, some heartache, a bit of grief, betrayal, a dash of jealousy, and finally a HEA. This is the third book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title and if you love a steamy romance with strong, yet likable characters, then this is a book you do not want to miss!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*