From the publisher:
The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule:
Never fall in love with the client.
Which shouldn’t be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .
Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way—Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hall across the street. His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons, and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.
Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiancé.
Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.
This author was new to me. The book started out slowly; in fact, I started it and kept putting it down until I got about a quarter of the way through. Then I read it the rest all the way through and ultimately enjoyed it. The plot was fairly predictable, the ever-popular trope of enemies to lovers, and it worked. There was also a bit of suspense. Ainsley had been betrothed to another man, and she ended it because he was abusive. He remarried, but when his wife died, he came looking for Ainsley again. And was not very pleasant, to say the least.
Reed was a great character. He is a commoner who made a fortune by fighting, boxing of sorts I suppose. But while he has retired from the ring, there are opponents who still wish to fight him. He is also thoughtful and smart, and very intuitive about people in general, but especially about Ainsley.
There are some obstacles along the way to happily ever after. Even marriage doesn’t resolve everything. I liked those twists and that is what kept me turning the pages for sure. I will look for the earlier books in the series. Ainsley has two sisters who are married, so they probably had their stories told in the earlier books. Since I haven’t read the earlier books, I don’t know if they should be read in order or if it doesn’t matter. These characters are fairly closely aligned, so it might have been the little knowledge I was lacking that made the beginning of this book so slow. I will find out!
12/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
THE ROGUE TO RUIN by Vivienne Lorret. Avon (July 30, 2019). ISBN 978-0062685520. 400p.