My rating: 3.75 of 5 flames
This Historical Paranormal Romance starts off with a bang. From the first sentence ”The gypsy girl cheated.” I was hooked. Whit (James Sherbourne Earl of Whitney) is out at the Rom encampment with his mates, gambling (and losing), while they are doing much the same. These 5 men, self-proclaimed Hellraisers, are bored, and only want more. Doesn’t matter that they are wealthy, or handsome, they just want more.
When they are informed of an ancient Roman ruins on the property, none can resist riding out to see it. This is where the action starts. They are drawn and pulled towards the mound. Their horses shy away, and even the voice of reason in their heads can’t turn the Hellraisers away from this ruin.
Once they enter the ruin, they find a box, that like Pandora’s, once opened, won’t leave them the same. After making the “proverbial deal with the devil,” Zora rushes in, compelled to stop them, and finds she is too late.
The romance between Zora and Whit feels real, and it is Zora who helps Whit hang on to what is left of his soul. She grounds him, keeps him sane. Once Whit realizes that his “gift” from this Deal is not all that he thought it would be, he and Zora try to retrieve his soul. The majority of the book is the two of them trying to gain the upper hand over the dark side of Whit…and the devil. I loved the fact that Zora is Rom, I think it enriched the characters, and I really really wish we could have seen at least one of his friends realize that their “gifts” were in exchange for their souls, but I guess that is what the next book is for. Well, To be fair, Bram did realize that his soul was lost, but he just didn’t care. But I think I wanted to see his friends, or at least one of them help Whit.
I do think that although something is always happening, the plot slows down a bit in the middle, which is really my only complaint. I like Zoe Archer’s writing quite a bit, and have no doubt that many readers will absolutely love this book- I know I have high hopes for the series.
The ending was great-I want to see Bram have a story, but the author kept her lips tight on that. She did tell me that next up is Leo in Demon’s Bride and I honestly can’t wait. Ms. Archer told me that it will be a trilogy, even though there are 5 men, because some of the Hellraisers have to fall O.O
Fave quote: “Gambler I may be, but I don’t lie. At the end of this, there is no happy ending.” His words were brutal, yet he knew their brutality did not target her. He had to remind himself that as heroes in tales went, he would never be what was required. Heroes did not have monstrous hungers clawing them from the inside out. They had noble hearts, pure intentions. He possessed neither.
***ARC courtesy of Kensington books