It’s hard to be respectable, when you'd rather be wicked
Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with his devil of a father to marry in one month’s time. But instead of shackling himself to an acceptable debutante, he indulges his baser needs. He joins a fighting club and pursues a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.
Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make her his mistress. Destitute and desperate, she agrees to one night with the dangerous lord, hatching a scheme to take his money and keep her virtue. However, Jasper uncovers her deception and vows to claim what he's owed—not his money, her.
The secrets and scandals continue in this second book of Darcy Burke's sexy historical series focusing on two people drawn to each other even though they're from dramatically different parts of society. Jasper Saxton has felt the weight of the world, and his father's rage, on him every since the death of his older brother. He's felt alone with his only moments of emotion coming when he's bare-knuckled brawling until he meets Olivia West, the daughter of a courtesan who's never felt the love of family until fate joins her to Jasper's aunt. The path to togetherness is a rocky one where two people unused to trusting must now trust in each other to keep their secrets safe from society's judgement.
Jasper has sold himself to his father so his sister could marry who she wanted in the previous book and is now being forced into finding a bride, but the only woman who fascinates him is Olivia who he knows is completely unacceptable but can't stay away from. This constant verbal and mental abuse by his father made me ache for Jasper and his reasons for fighting are perfectly understandable considering the coldness he gets from his parents. His fellow fighters accepted him wholeheartedly for who he was and the moments of sparring gave him a feeling of control that his parents have never allowed. Olivia's always felt alone too with no control over her fate and it's only upon meeting Jasper that she finally has a small modicum of control over what happens to her. The secrets she's forced to keep eat at her and I admired her wanting to what's right when doing wrong would've been so much easier. She's a strong woman who refuses to sell herself, knowing that she's worth more than that. People can be cruel though and her desperation to know her real father was a sad sight to see. The two of them admitting that they only trust each other brought a tear to my eye and made their connection all the more believable and had me willing them to push aside every obstacle to their happiness. The sexual interludes between them were steamy and slowly increased in intensity and emotionality until the story's conclusion.
The scenes involving Jasper's father were hard to read as he's such a vile creature. Knowing how little he cared for his son's happiness made me hate him even more and had me rooting for him to get his comeuppance. A fellow fighter, Viscount Sevrin, played a large role in this story and I found myself drawn to his disreputable, yet equally emotionally scarred character and knowing that his story is next to be told has me giddy with anticipation.
This second installment of Darcy Burke's series is just as entertaining as the first. Jasper seemed rather superficial in the previous story but became an admirable and heroic fully fleshed-out character this time around. Olivia's a more than worthy match and proves that opposites do attract and love can conquer all. So do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in this world Darcy Burke has created.
My rating for this is an A!
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.