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Monday, September 13, 2010

A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jefferies

A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jefferies
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (353 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Furious at his grandmother’s ultimatum to marry or lose his inheritance, Lord Jarret Sharpe wagers his luck—and his heart—at the card table against a most unlikely opponent.Mired in scandal after his parents’ mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his Machiavellian grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can’t resist when beguiling Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family’s foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one—and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.

Jarret Sharpe is sure, even if you do everything right, fate can still take away everything you love. Consequently, he avoids love. He makes his money gambling, answers to no one, and wants responsibility for nothing. Somewhat of a Greek god in the flesh, Jarret attracts all the women necessary to satisfy his needs, so his grandmother’s ultimatum, to wed with the year or be disinherited, rankles. When he bargains with her to run the family brewery for a year, in lieu of taking a wife, he sets himself on a collision course with one desperate, determined Annabel Lake.

Annabel, brewster for her brother’s brewery that is failing, sees her brother overwhelmed and resorting to alcohol to drown his worries. He neglects the brewery that is in need of aggressive management if the family is to continue making a living in ale making, a business the Lake family has been prosperous in for years. Annabel “takes the bull by the horns”, makes a plan, enlists the help of her sister-in-law and Geordie, and goes to London to make a deal with Plumtree Brewery, a powerful competitor.

Annabel is an intriguing contradiction in that she is forthright yet secretive, na├»ve about some things but intelligent and wise about business. She takes a calculated risk and calls Jarret’s bluff on a wager and sets off a chain of events that entice the reader into a world of secrets, shenanigans, sensuality, and sizzling sex. As Annabel and Jarret struggle in their business dealings, in emotional upheavals, and in their unacknowledged search for redemption, the secondary characters play important roles. Eleven-year-old George is one of the most endearing. He touches the heart as he struggles to transition from child to young man, especially with his history.

A Hellion in Her Bed flames with conflicts that create a furor fueled by the meddling of others and malicious gossip above and beyond the inner conflicts that seem to stymie both Annabel and Jarret emotional maturation. Neither can move on until they realize that holding on the past has kept them from looking to the future and its possibilities.

Sabrina Jefferies’ remarkable writing style makes this story sparkle, sizzle, and seethe with life. The imagery brings forth the setting in full Technicolor and engages all the senses. The characters’ emotions—the turmoil, stress, strife, humor, and love pull the reader into A Hellion in Her Bed to enjoy a sensational vicarious experience. It’s a “goody”.