Top positive review
5 stars - Loved this book!!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 29, 2017
This is hands down one of the best books I have read this year - I LOVED this book! LOVED. IT.
Sebastian Reaver has been an ongoing secondary character for much of the series and we learned more about him in James and Viola's book - but until you read this book, you do not really know Sebastian Reaver/Elijah Kilbrenner. Sebastian is the no nonsense, gruff, extremely large, ruthless owner of the gaming club "Reaver's" he is also presumptive heir to James Kilbrenner, Earl of Tannenbrook and the dowager Lady Wallingham's newest pet project. Both James and Lady W are trying to get Sebastian to accept his fate as heir and get him married and producing children. Sebastian has made it perfectly clear that they can go pound salt. Sebastian is perfectly content with his club, the club is everything to him, it is his passion, his life - if he is feeling a little restless, it will pass and he doesn't need or want a wife.
Augusta Widmore is on a mission, her beloved sister's betrothed has lost his fortune at Reaver's and has cried off marrying Phoebe - this is unacceptable to Augusta and she will do anything to get him to the altar - even make a deal with the devil. Augusta is one of the best heroines I have read in a really long time. She is tenacious, persistence, managing , very amusing and has a soft heart. She sneaks into Reaver's and attempts to get Glassington's markers - she is planning on using them as leverage to blackmail him into marrying her sister. She makes it to Sebastian's office - but he won't listen to her and bodily removes her from the club. Days later she returns, disguised as a maid and again makes her way to Sebastian's office. Sebastian is secretly thrilled that she has returned and this time he lets her state her case. She doesn't want Sebastian to forgive the debt - she just wants to use them to force his hand - she doesn't mention that she is not interested in marrying Glassington or that her sister is pregnant. Sebastian assumes the Augusta wants to marry Glassington and therefore makes an outrageous offer - be his mistress for 6 weeks and he will let her have the markers. He is bluffing, but assumes that she will go running at the prospect of being his mistress. He would be wrong. Augusta agrees and they haggle over the details - she will move into his house and he will furnish her with a new wardrobe. At the end of 6 weeks, he will give her the markers. A very stunned Sebastian agrees and then tries to bluff again - but Augusta neatly sidesteps him - again.
She returns to her lodging and tells her sister what has transpired - Phoebe is shocked and begs her to reconsider. But Augusta is determined to see Phoebe safely wed and won't be swayed. When she leaves the lodging house, she is approached by Ash, the boy she used to help her get into Reaver's - he has attached himself to her and wants to go with her to Sebastian's house. At first she tells him no, but when she sees how thin he is, her soft heart gets the better of her and she agrees.
They arrive at Sebastian's house and she is shocked to find it barely furnished and without a staff. When Sebastian arrives, she makes new demands and they haggle again. Sebastian is fascinated by her and she is more than a little intrigued by him. The chemistry between them is undeniable and the tension between them sizzles. Sebastian shows her the house and then returns to the club. He never planned to really have her be his mistress or live at his house - but she called his bluff and he couldn't back down. So he will just have to stay away from her...
When he arrives back at the club, he learns from his partner Shaw that Augusta's sister is there - she came to confront Sebastian, but became ill and Shaw put her in one of the rooms and called for a doctor. As first she refuses to see the doctor, but agrees when she learns he will not tell anyone about her condition. Sebastian brings Augusta to visit Phoebe, Augusta assures Phoebe that everything will be fine and then returns to Sebastian's office. They share a passionate kiss and then he takes her shopping for furniture for his house. They are both dazed by the kiss and they both want more - but Sebastian still thinks Augusta is trying to marry Glassington. He decides that he wants Augusta for himself and asks his secretary and James for advice on how to woo her.
Augusta wants Sebastian and begins to plot how she can marry him. She also receives a visit from James, Viola and Lady Wallingham - at first she is ashamed, but they treat her with kindness and respect (well James and Viola do) and she puts Lady W in her place when the woman is less than complementary about Sebastian. Augusta sees the resemblance between James and Sebastian and assumes that Sebastian is a by-blow - but she doesn't care - she loves him and wants him.
The two become closer and Sebastian learns more about her past and wants nothing more than to protect her. His attempts at wooing are extremely amusing and Augusta is charmed. Sebastian tells her that they will be attending a dinner party and at first Augusta refuses, but finally relents. At the party, Augusta learns the truth about Sebastian and she has her chance to confront Glassington. Upset by the encounter, she asks Sebastian to take her home. When they arrive home, Sebastian learns the truth about Augusta and Glassington from Shaw and sees the opportunity to force Augusta's hand.
He tells her that he will make Glassington marry Phoebe, if Augusta marries him - tomorrow. They negotiate and Augusta agrees. They marry and finally make love and Sebastian knows that he loves her. It seems like these two will ease right into their HEA, but nothing in HR is that easy!
They will have to deal with a kidnapping, injuries, a sister bent on doing the right thing, a runaway and more advice from Lady Wallingham before they can settle into marital bliss. This book is almost unputdownable, it is well written, flows perfectly, has amusing moments, serious moments, a little heartache, steamy love scenes, great secondary characters as well as a secondary romance and a very satisfying HEA. It is the eighth book in the series, and it really could be read as a stand alone title with no problems, but for the best reading experience, I would recommend reading the series in order.