Hell to Pay
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…
When I read the first installment of the series, I could see the building blocks being laid and set. Since Ms. Archer had accomplished that task so well in Devil’s Kiss, she released the second installment of the Hellraisers series; Demon’s Bride, full steam and doesn’t look back.
Leo Bailey was gifted from the Devil, the ability to see the future by. All he needs is an item from a person and he can see the disasters that will plague the owner. He then uses that knowledge for evil and personal gain. Either pushing that person towards their inevitable disastrous future or plainly betting against them. Leo’s passion is the exchange market and he uses his talent to control every aspect of it. Because of his cunning and skill, he is simply known as Demon.
While Anne Hartfield may be the daughter of a baron, she knew from the very beginning her marriage to Leo was not a love match. He dutifully wooed and courted her, but the love spark was never there. All her hopes blossomed on her wedding night to only be crushed just as quickly. Now she is determined to make the best of her marriage. She will do everything in her power to win her husband’s heart.
From the first “I Do’s” things begin to change for these two people. Neither expected what was in store for them and quickly things begin to turn. Good, evil and other forces are converging to shape the future. It’s too bad Leo can’t see what is ahead for himself, because he never expected to fall in love with his wife and that very well may ruin his life forever.
In my opinion, Ms. Archer has improved on the series. I loved how Demon’s Bride had more of a sinister feeling to it. You can’t help but hate the Hellraisers. They are marvelously evil, encompassing all of man’s sins. While their power may focus on one attribute, you can feel the lust, greed, wickedness and power radiating off of all them. Ms. Archer did an outstanding job writing them with malevolence and still make them all seem human.
I enjoyed how Anne was so willing to make the best of her circumstances and didn’t cower. She showed such strength throughout the story, when most women of that time would have crumbled. The turmoil that she put Leo through was just as delightful. Everyday his reserve was crumbling as he fell for Anne.
I was utterly shocked at some of the sad developments in the story. In an odd way, I can agree with the choices that were made, though they must have been hard decisions to make for the storyline. I am absolutely bewildered and have no idea which direction the series will take now. This new development has thrown me and I actually find it wonderful. Ms. Archer has removed the predictability that some series encounter and she has made me want the next story even the more.
Demon’s Bride is a remarkable historical paranormal that has a familiarity feel to it right along with an unpredictability too. Zoe Archer has written an innovative novel that is sexy, beautiful and suspenseful.
My review of the first book in the Hellraisers series: