Lily St Claire knows what life is like on both sides of the tracks. She is the adopted daughter of a successful theater family. But before they took her under their wing, she was the orphaned daughter of a drug-addicted whore. She had to scrape and steal to survive and barely escaped from a horrible street criminal who wanted her for his own.
Once the St Claire's took her in, she learned about love and family. She lived a safe life, marrying a man for duty and doing the all things she thought she was supposed to. Now that she is a widow, she is back in the bosom of her family and helping them launch a new gaming hall. But her carefully ordered life is about to come tumbling down around her.
Aidan actually met Lily once, years ago, and shared a passionate kiss. He reenters her life as he checks out the St Claire family's new venture. He's attracted to her --and intrigued. She is a woman full of mysteries and contradictions. The story follows the progression of their relationship and the dangers Lily faces as her past comes back to haunt her.
I can't say that I loved this one. Maybe part of it is because it has some light BDSM elements and I'm not a fan of that brand of kink. But I don't really think that's it. The role that it played in the story just didn't make sense to me. Lily abhorred the brothel where she grew up and was disgusted and ashamed by her mother and what she did. Somehow, though, she inherited her mother's "dark gift" --it's a part of her. Is this some kind of hereditary
gene I don't know about? --And it's not just the bondage and the spanking, but the constant sexing at inappropriate times and places that bothered me. The sex they have in the brothel, in particular, didn't work for me because it should be last thing Lily wants to do, considering her past.
I guess the sex, for me, was the biggest fail in the book, but it wasn't my only problem. I just wasn't engaged by the main characters. I don't feel like I ever really got to know Aiden. The side story with Harry and the letters was a total red herring. The feud was ridiculous. I honestly felt like the best thing the book had going for it was the set-up we got for future installments in the series. I'm intrigued by a possible story for Lily's brother and Aiden's cousin. Maybe that one will be a better fit. This one just didn't ring my bell.
Rating: C- *ARC Provided by NetGalley