The fourth book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, published November 2011.
To fulfil his grandmother’s ultimatum, Lord Gabriel Sharpe pursues a spitfire he believes desperately needs him. Then the tables are turned …
Like everything daredevil Gabe Sharpe does, wooing Virginia Waverly is a high-stakes game. Ever since her brother, Roger, died racing Lord Gabriel, Virginia has yearned to take her revenge on the reckless lord by beating him at his own sport. But when she challenges Lord Gabriel to a race, the hellion called the “Angel of Death” counters with a marriage proposal! Gabe knows Virginia is in dire financial straits – so why not marry her and solve both of their problems? She claims to be appalled by his proposal, but her response to his kisses says otherwise. And when the two of them begin to unravel the truth behind Roger’s death, Gabe takes the greatest gamble of all, offering the courageous beauty something more precious than any inheritance: true love.
All 5 Sharpe siblings have gotten an ultimatum from their grandmother, Hetty Plumtree. They will all have to married within the year, or she will disinherit them all. The oldest three have found their match, and are happily married, and now it is Gabriels turn. He is trying to convince his grandmother to lift that rule for his youngest sister, Celia, as she is only 24, and he does not want to see her unhappy. He promises to stop racing his curricle, if only she agrees. After all, his grandmother doesn’t want to see him risking his life every time he accepts a challenge. Especially for the track that killed his best friend seven years ago.
And after being challenged by Roger’s sister, he knows he has found the woman he wants to marry. After all, why would she refuse him? He is wealthy (at least, if he inherits!), and the son of a Marquess. She says she hates him for killing her brother, but it was an accident, and he is sure he can convince her of that.
Like Gabriel lost his parents at a young age, so has Virginia Waverly. She is living with her grandfather, and her cousin Pierce is a constant visitor. She is still grieving for loosing her only brother, Roger. When her grandfather dies, Pierce will inherit, and she will have nothing if she doesn’t marry. But marry Lord Gabriel, who murdered her brother? Virginia is sure he took advantage of Roger when he was drunk, to challenge him to the race. And she will have her revenge of him! This so called Angel of Death, always dressed completely in black, with his black curricle and black horses, never losing. But he will lose to her, and she will make a fool of him in front of all of his friends!
But Gabriel doesn’t want to race her, he wants to court her! So he makes an additional challenge: not on the track that killed her brother, but on another track, of her choosing, and if he wins, he gets the right to court Virginia. She is so certain she will win, so she accepts. But of course, something goes wrong during the race as a man falls out of the crowd into her path, and she has to avoid him. And Gabriel wins. She resents that, but she will abide by her word, even if her grandfather is dead set against it. She will never marry him, ofcourse, even though he is so very handsome, and he kisses so well…
Virginia is taking care of her grandfather, who owns a stud farm, running his household and his servants. Her grandfather sure has a knack for horses, he is good at what he does, but they are just not good enough to make a decent income out of it.
Gabriel wants to keep racing and winning wagers as the Angel of Death, to earn enough money to start raising race horses himself. He knows his grandmothers loathes that idea, as his grandfather was so very bad at it and lost many thousands of pounds. But Gabriel has a feeling for horses his grandfather lacked, and he is sure he can make a success of it. And support himself if his grandmother cuts them all of if Celia doesn’t marry as well.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book, from the moment I closed the third one. And I have to admit, I am sorely disappointed by this one. I could get no feelings for the hero or the heroine, only lots of disbelief.
There was no spunk at all to Virginia. As she really hates Gabriel for killing her brother, which she has believed for seven long years, why does she never stand up against Gabriel when he kisses her, slaps him, kicks him, whatever, she allows him to do with her as he pleases. Okay, so she was not the responsible girl her grandfather sees in her, she wants more, more excitement, etcetera. And Gabriel supposedly sees that in her. But still, I would have liked some more fighting, and not just: you want to marry me to get your inheritance.
Also, the overall story arc of finding out what happened that fateful night when their parents died 19 years ago, did not have much news to add. I was hoping for some more developments.
I am still looking forward to Celia’s book, which will be released in January though. And I guess each series has a book you like least. And this is the one for me.
Of course, Sabrina Jeffries still has a great writing style. Fluent and never boring. It is just the characters I can’t get into this time.