Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Hazards of Dukes, #5
Release Date: June 28, 2022
When Octavia Holton learns of her father’s death, she thinks it might be the answer to her problems. As the co-owner of “Miss Ivy’s” a gaming hell, she went behind her sister’s back and borrowed money from a moneylender to make improvements to the club, but when business fizzled and she was not able to make the payments, Mr. Higgins began making threats. But now with the passing of their estranged father, Octavia believes her problems are solved, all she has to do is go to her father’s house, find his will, which will surely show that she and Ivy own the house, then sell it, pay off Mr. Higgins and no one will be the wiser. Simple right?
When Gabriel Fallon’s father passed away after burning down their house, Gabriel’s only solace is that in his father’s papers he finds a promissory note between his father and Mr. Holton, his father’s favorite gambling partner, that states that Mr. Fallon won Mr. Holton’s house just days before Mr. Holton died. It is the answer to his problems, he will move into the house and dedicate himself to his research of mythology. Perfect right?
As neither of them counts on anyone challenging their claim to the house, both are shocked to find the other in residence. They make a deal, Octavia will have a month to find proof that the house is actually hers and in the meantime, they will both work on fixing it up. Simply perfect right? Along the way, they will collect a houseful of servants, convince everyone that they are engaged, and try to resist the attraction that is simmering between them. Perfectly simple, right?
I really wanted to love this book, especially since Gabriel is such a wonderful hero who just wants a home and a family, but honestly, I was underwhelmed. The story is a bit bland, although there are several steamy love scenes and quite a bit of humor, in the end, it just didn’t have enough conflict or drama to hold my attention and I found Octavia to be too selfish and self-centered to be a great heroine. Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t love her either – I basically tolerated her and wondered what it was about her that Gabriel found so desirable. Overall, I liked the book and am glad I read it as it is well written and it was nice to catch up with Ivy and Sebastian, but I don’t think I would read it again. This is the fifth book in the series, but it could easily read as a standalone title.
*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.*