Penelope and Michael where childhood friends, but after Michael’s parents died he shut himself off from the world and lost his inheritance in a game of cards. Now almost a decade later Michael has rebuilt his fortune but still blames the man that he lost it all to and is bent on revenge. He can get the land he lost back but to do so he must marry Penelope who has been disgraced in society because of broken engagement. Penelope’s father has attached the large estate Michael wants back to her dowry in hopes that some man will overlook the fact she is twenty-eight and on her way to spinsterhood for the substantial land holdings. Michael could have tried to woo her, sweep her off her feet to get her to marry him, but he is not a gentleman anymore and he will take what he wants.
“First, I thought we'd already established that I am not a gentleman. That ship sailed long ago. And second, you'd be surprised what gentlemen do...and what ladies enjoy."
I did like that Penelope was so headstrong and defiant she struggles to be able to maneuver and make choices for herself given the options she was presented with. It takes a while for Michael to grow on you because he is such an antihero in the beginning he is seductive but cruel and brooding. Also all he cares about is revenge, he will play the game of society with Penelope but only because it will give him the proof he needs to destroy the man who won in the game he bet his whole inheritance on. I struggle with Michael’s motivations for revenge a little I mean he did make the bets that lost everything, and maybe the guy set him up to lose be he walked into the trap yet he never seems to take any responsibility for that.
I do like the idea that Penelope knew Michael from childhood so she knows the boy she cared for is in there somewhere and struggles to see it. Penelope is also in the position that she has always wanted to be more that property, she refused other marriage proposals after her broken engagement in hopes of caring for the man she would marry. Some parts are painful as Penelope desperately wants to be cared about and it seems that Michael is able to say all the right things but then he ruins it to push her away. But they do become endearing eventually.
The gambling club The Angel was intriguing and full of naughtiness I would like to read more about the goings on of that establishment. It was a great touch to have “the other side” of the gaming hall proving that Ladies can be just as depraved as the Lords they are married too. The club owner’s banter was amusing as well, I enjoyed the way they bated Borne pushing and taunting him.
This was an enjoyable fun book about transformation and power. Not entirely original but fun and exciting with oodles of sexual tension. Very fun for some fluff reading.