A Hellion in Her Bed
Series or Stand Alone: Hellions of Halstead Hall series, book two
Release Date: September 2010
Publisher: Pocket Star
Author Site: http://www.sabrinajeffries.com/
My Rating: 4.5/5
Source: Received for review from Nancy Berland Communications
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.
I still haven't delved into the gigantic pool that is Historical Romance so I don't have many of these novels under my belt. I also have a anal tendency to read series books in order, hmm who ever heard of that? =) But I accepted the second book in the Hellions of Halstead series thinking "What the heck? Might as well. It sounds good..." I'm happy to report that I very much enjoyed A Hellion in Her Bed.
Annabel Lake is a great heroine. She's extremely clever, witty, sharp, caring, and loyal. The family brewery is going down the drain and Annabel is desperate for help. Her brother is slowly drinking himself away and she has nowhere else to turn. She decides to go to London to seek the help of one of her competitors: Plumtree Brewery. Why Plumtree? Because Plumtree is owned and run by a woman. Annabel knew the woman would treat her as an equal and would actually listen to what she had to say. She had no idea she'd be coming into contact with the owner's grandson instead.
Lord Jarett Sharpe has great distaste for his grandmother's horrid ultimatum for her grandchildren: marry by the end of the year or be disinherited. She agrees to take back said ultimatum if Jarett agrees to run the family brewery for a year without taking huge risks or going wild. Jarett's reputation as a gambler precedes him. And he simply can't resist when a fiesty pixie of a woman comes into his life proposing a wager to help save her own family brewery. Not one to back down from any sort of bet, Jarett ultimately loses against Annabel and is forced into keeping up his end of the bargain: helping out Annabel and Lake Brewery. But nothing goes to plan for anyone as secrets are revealed and passion is ignited between the two.
The marriage part of the story involving Jarett's grandmother and siblings reminds me a lot of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series. I love that series and I have a feeling I will really come to like Hellions of Halstead Hall. But despite that similarity, A Hellion in Her Bed stood apart from the few historical romances I've read so far. The brewery aspect was very unique and enjoyable. I liked the fact that both Annabel and Jarett had a passion for what they did. Jarett even treated Annabel as an equal and picked up quickly that Annabel knew she was a formidable business-woman.
Jarett is a wounded yet arrogant hero. I like the fact that he is a caring individual and lets it show sometimes especially when he's around his family. But like most heroes, he guards himself very well in front of most people, including his prospective love. His refusal to share anything about himself with Annabel, while understandable, is a bit predictable and selfish. However, Annabel isn't without her own secrets or flaws. I found Annabel a little too empathetic. She really gives up her happiness and her life for the one's she cares about and even though that's respectable and admirable it's a little over the top. Some of her secrets just shouldn't matter to those that care about her and thank god she realizes that in the story. (Otherwise, I'd have to reach in there and shake the woman!)
There is is also a mystery part of the story that really had me intrigued. Jarett's parents were involved in a mysterious and tragic accident and it has produced a lot of scandal for the Sharpe family. That aspect of the story had a lot to do with me wanting to continue with the series. I'm really interested in knowing exactly what went down with Mother and Father Sharpe (don't mind my nicknames)... The grandmother, Hester, is quite the character: wise and sneaky with a sprinkle of "I'm the boss so deal with it" attitude that really makes her a favorite. And of course the siblings get some airtime that really just skim the surface of their personalities. It's all a ploy to suck you into the series, and honestly it worked on me!
I'm definitely going to go back and pick up the first book in the series which is about the eldest Sharpe, Oliver. He doesn't make a huge comeback in this novel because of course his story is already told. But I'm really looking forward to the next book which is about the eldest daughter, Minerva. There was some teasing insight into her personality and of course her prospective love that I can't wait to discover. But at the end of the day A Hellion in Her Bed was filled with witty dialogue, funny interactions, steamy romance, a few annoying moments, and promising characters! Definitely think you should check it out.