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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bargain with Lucifer by Icy Snow Blackstone

Bargain with Lucifer by Icy Snow Blackstone
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (330 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

A five-million dollar Trust awaits Luc Deveraux on his thirtieth birthday. All he has to be is a settled family man by then. So he told a little lie and made up a wife and child and thought he'd found an easy way out. Now, however, his grandfather is ill and asking for his grandson to come home—with his family. A chance meeting with penniless widow Julie Richmond ends in a quick marriage, which will finish in an even quicker divorce when Luc gets his money. The only problem is Luc's falling in love with his pseudo-wife and her little daughter and wants to keep them in his life.

When Luc returns to his grandfather's Louisiana plantation, he doesn't expect Julie to be the catalyst, which will bring hidden hatred and desires into the open, and subject them all to danger. Waiting for them at San Souci is the younger brother with whom Luc's been feuding for eighteen years, and the one woman he's never been able to get out of his life—Clarice, a jilted ex-girlfriend who's determined to win him back, though she's now his brother's wife...she isn't going to let a little thing like a wife and child stop her from getting what she wants.

Bargain with Lucifer begins with a bit of a conundrum for Luc Deveraux, all because of a tiny white lie he’d told ages before. Ok, not so tiny – but oh so wonderfully successful…until now.

Suddenly, Monsieur Luc must have a family. And, as in so many arranged or speedy marriages, we certainly hope – maybe even expect, that Luc will fall for Julie, his partner in subterfuge… or perhaps the other way around. But certainly we readers think we have the plot firmly in hand, only to have Ms. Blackstone spin the plot far from anything predictable. Luc, after all, has had past loves, and Clarice plainly still wants him, and his soon-to-be-owned five million. The fact that she’s married to another – in fact to Michael, his own brother – doesn’t seem to affect her desires, at all. The situation starts as almost funny, but soon is anything but. Michael’s hatred is palpable, and Granpere never makes anything better between the brothers.

It’s easy to connect with main character Luc, right from the start. Oh, with the lies and so on, you’d think he’d be a real scoundrel, but he seems okay, and then when he bumps into young Merry, we get a chance to see what a real softie he is. From the first bit of action, Blackstone has us firmly on Luc’s side. At times, we’ll waver – because events will expose some of his darker side as well. His character changes and reveals a great deal as we go forward. Overall, he’s incredibly interesting and totally believable.

Immediate admiration isn’t in store for lovely widow Julie, until we see just how far she’s willing to go to provide for her child. In the course of events, she’ll make you wonder – she’ll make you laugh out loud, and maybe even grit your teeth with frustration. The characters are well-developed throughout. Loved the old Louisiana homestead and the French flair, as well.

The fun premise and straightforward writing style keep the action fast and interest level high. Ms. Blackstone steadily builds the suspense level throughout, so what started as almost a humorous sort of pickle for the main character becomes much darker, and even, perhaps, deadly dangerous. Do read this one.