|Title: Devil’s Kiss
Author: Zoë Archer
Series: The Hellraisers #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Reviewed by: Julia
Several sex scenes.
Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.
A HANDSOME DEVIL
1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.
Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind…
Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…
I’ve always been a sucker for a reformed rake, and Zoe Archer’s Hellraisers series gives a dark, delicious twist to the trope. I also love it when an author successfully flirts with how dark a character can get without turning readers against them, and Whit’s early treatment of Zora definitely treads that line.
There were times when Whit’s assurances to Zora were almost too perfect, but on the whole, I enjoyed Archer’s playful dialogue and homage to historical romance. My suspended disbelief was tested when a modiste created a perfect wardrobe for Zora based solely on a series of “so big” gestures between men, but the subtle humor of Whit’s conversation with his valet was worth the stretch. Archer also did a great job establishing the particular “gifts” given to all the Hellraisers, and how Whit’s gambling addition made him vulnerable to the power to control probabilities. I was disappointed that he didn’t go into a statistical fugue state at the moment of climax (What stakes could be higher than pregnancy?), but in general, watching his power unfold was my favorite magic in the book. Whit’s experiences also raised my interest in how the powers of the other Hellraisers will work out, not the least the issue of how Archer will handle Bram’s “date rape” persuasion magic while still keeping him sympathetic.
Though both Whit’s relationship and the other Hellraisers held my interest, once our hero and heroine get swept away in the battle against evil it was hard for me to keep up. The mythology explaining the attacks always unfolded one step behind the action, which made it hard for me to remain interested in Whit and Zora’s strategies for regaining his soul. By books end, however, my grasp of the gemeni and the battle at hand had much improved, giving me high hopes for book two.