Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.
But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal—one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.
Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart…
Demon’s Bride by Zoë Archer is the second book in the Hellraiser series. I would not recommend starting here as the history of the Hellraisers is told in the first book but is only lightly touched on here. I think you’d enjoy the series more if you read it from the beginning. I read and enjoyed the first book in this series and so I looked forward to seeing which Hellraiser would fall in love and say to hell with the devil next. What I like about this series is the heroes are the bad guys who eventually become good. But they must fight the devil and their fellow Hellraisers…and find love of course.
Leo Bailey is the second Hellraiser to find love and take his soul back from the devil. Born a commoner, he is now the richest non-titled man in England, known as The Demon of The Exchange. Although he’s been “gifted” by the devil by being able to see into people’s futures—he made most of his fortune in smart investments before he received his magic.
Anne Hartfield is the daughter of a Baron who’s fortune is dwindling. Although a marriage to the infamous Hellraiser Leo Bailey is considered beneath her station it’s a good match for both because of Leo’s wealth and Anne’s connection to society. She knows nothing of his magic and he has no intention of allowing her to know about this part of his life.
Demon’s Bride combines romance and action for a very entertaining read. Usually there is either one or the other that stands out for me but I think in this case I enjoyed the romantic relationship as much as I enjoyed the action and fight scenes. Although the marriage match is convenient, and beneficial for both parties, there is also undeniable attraction between Leo and Anne. Anne is attracted and a little fearful of her husband’s reputation as a Hellraiser. She’s been schooled in how a wife must serve her husband and goes into her marriage willingly. However as her relationship with Leo develops, she becomes stronger and more self-assured. This happens gradually without false bravado and I found myself really enjoying Anne’s character. She truly becomes a heroine.
Leo is driven to succeed and amass his fortune. That combined with the gift of foresight from the devil he is unstoppable on The Exchange. But as he begins to know and love his wife his priorities begin to waiver. Leo’s protectiveness over Anne grows and when he finds out his former Hellraiser brother has been in contact with her, Leo’s worlds collide and the action really gets rolling at this point. I was completely taken by surprise by something that happens near the end and I was left wanting more.
With the historical setting, paranormal elements and strong romance, this second installment in the Hellraiser series was a winner for me.