Title: The Hellion
Author: Christi Caldwell
Genre: Historical Romance
USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell’s Wicked Wallflowers series burns hot as two rivals meet in the flesh and feel the heat…
Adair Thorne has just watched his gaming-hell dream disappear into a blaze of fire and ash, and he’s certain that his competitors, the Killorans, are behind it. His fury and passion burn even hotter when he meets Cleopatra Killoran, a tart-mouthed vixen who mocks him at every turn. If she were anyone else but the enemy, she’d ignite a desire in him that would be impossible to control.
No one can make Cleopatra do anything. That said, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her siblings―even if that means being sponsored by their rivals for a season in order to land a noble husband. But she will not allow her head to be turned by the infuriating and darkly handsome Adair Thorne.
There’s only one thing that threatens the rules of the game: Cleopatra’s secret. It could unravel the families’ tenuous truce and shatter the unpredictably sinful romance mounting between the hellion…and a scoundrel who could pass for the devil himself.
Adair Thorne was orphaned approximately 20 years ago after a fire that consumed his father’s bakery. He now remembers that loss keenly. He is devastated and at a loss. The Hell & Sin was the only thing he ever wanted and strived for. It gave him shelter and stability-things he did not have much of after losing his parents.
Adair is also feeling rage, he knows the fire at the Hell & Sin was deliberately set, he even knows by whom-Killoran. Killoran is the owner of a rival Club and someone they owe a debt to. To repay this debt, Adair’s family was to sponsor a Season for one of Killoran’s sisters. The truce is almost voided but since Adair and his brothers have no proof they must follow-through.
Cleopatra is jaded from a life lived on the streets and has a tough outer shell. There is no love loss between her and the nobility. Knowing her brother Killoran wants an “in” to the nobility via marriage to one of his sister’s, Cleo volunteers. She does not like it but will do anything in her power to keep her sisters safe.
When Cleo and Adair first meet, sparks fly! They hate and mistrust each other from the get-go but underneath it all there is attraction on both sides. During her stay at Ryker’s house, Adair is to be Cleo’s guard and jailer. As time goes by, Cleo and Adair come to be tentative friends. He learns that she is smart and resilient while Cleo learns how kind and caring Adair really is.
What can go wrong while harnessing an explosive secret as well as living with and being attracted to the enemy?
This story, told in dual POV, reeled me in from the very beginning. It is written extremely well and the flow is perfect. This book was exciting and engaging. The battle between Adair and Cleo was entertaining.
I loved how Cleopatra, all but five feet tall, got under Adair’s skin so easily. She may have a petite stature, but her presence more than makes up for it. She is strong, fearless, brazen and opinionated. She stands up for her family and would do anything to keep them from harm.
I felt for Adair, he had so much tragedy in his life and had nothing permanent or lasting. The way he slowly wins over Cleo with small steps is beautiful.
There is no insta-love here, these characters have to work for what they want. And what they come to want and need is stability, trust, constancy and love. They find this together against all odds.
The only problem I had was it seemed both Adair and Cleo were classist. Although I understand and agree with their distrust of the Ton, I would have like to see the characters come to terms with this and move on from their hatred and distrust.
Christi definitely won me over with this book. It’s a touching and heartfelt read. I would recommend this to those who loves fun and engaging verbal sparring between their main characters as well as a wonderfully written historical romance.
Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Guest review contributed by Sue’s Romance Reviews.