Felicity Faircloth may be the daughter of an Earl, but she is now on the fringes of society and her family desperately need her to land a rich husband, sooner rather than later, please. She’s not at all happy to discover just how dire the family’s finances are (and that they’ve kept the truth from her for over a year), but she may have just doomed them all, but telling a very inconvenient lie at a ball held by the reclusive Duke of Marwick. The lie – that she’s in fact already betrothed to marry him.
Imagine her surprise when a scoundrel shows up in her bedroom after the ball, promising her that she can, in fact, land the Duke if she makes a deal with the Devil of Whitechapel. Felicity misses the time when she was part of the popular crowd and wants to save her family’s reputation, so she agrees, but she also wonders how in the world this Devil will convince the Duke to agree to marry a woman he’s not even met, and what this mystery man’s motives are for “helping” her.
Said Devil of Whitechapel is in fact one of three bastard sons, born to the former Duke of Marwick on the exact same day, to three different women (this is the sort of implausible coincidence you just have to roll with). There is in fact a fourth child sharing the same birthday, the Duke’s daughter Grace (who ironically is NOT his legitimate child either). The three boys were brought to his estate as children and forced to compete in horrific challenges to see who would become the Duke’s heir. They swore a pact that there would never be any actual heirs – and since Ewan (now the Duke) seems to be breaking that promise, by trying to find a wife and possibly sire children, his half-brothers Devil (real name Devon) and Beast (Whit) are determined to stop him.
Devil/Devon plans to help Felicity snag him, get publicly engaged, then seduce her, so she can’t marry the Duke because of the ensuing scandal. Beast/Whit thinks this is a rubbish plan, and can clearly see that his brother is far too besotted with Felicity to ever use her to gain revenge over their other brother. As it becomes very obvious from early on that Felicity returns Devon’s attraction, and doesn’t really care one whit for the Duke, the plan goes awry pretty quickly. Yet she’s unlikely to regain her position in society if she spurns a handsome and eligible duke in favour of a shady underworld smuggler.
Full review on my blog.