This review was written by Erin Satie, who noted that “Stefanie Sloane very kindly sought me out and donated a copy of the book, which was really awesome of her.” This story was nominated in the Best Regency Historical Romance and the Best First Book categories.
Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society—a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious “Iron Will” must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he’s worthy of her attention.
William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey—or to lose his own heart in the bargain. Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She’s tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her.
Can she keep him at arm’s length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?
And here is Erin's review:
So here’s a theory for you. The defining feature of historical romances is this edifice of manners and propriety within which the hero and heroine must find love. So you can divide historicals into two categories: books whose characters seek to belong, and books whose characters seek to rebel. Personally, I see the “ton” and its trappings as an obstacle, and I prefer books whose characters feel likewise. But it’s equally valid to take the reverse view, as Stefanie Sloane does.
So our heroine, Lady Lucinda Gray, is the ultimate insider. Lucinda is the wealthiest woman in England. She’s the perfect pattern of English good looks – blonde-haired, blue-eyed, with curves in all the right places. She’s an orphan who controls her own vast wealth, she has powerful friends who keep her rolling in the ton’s basic currency, gossip, and an unblemished reputation.
She runs into trouble when she falls in love with the hero, Iron Will. Will is the Duke of Clairemont, so he ought to be at the top of the food chain – but he’s not. He’s a rake, which makes him a black sheep among his peers, and he’s a spy, which has prevented him from assuming his ducal responsibilities.
So this could go two different ways, right? Lucinda could fall in love with Will and decide it’s time to throw propriety to the winds. Or, as actually occurs, Will could fall in love with Lucinda and decide it’s time to get with the program and act like a duke. You know, get married, have kids, manage the estate.
There’s a suspense plot featuring a psychotic serial killer, but most of THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE is about making Will comfortable with the life he was always supposed to have lived. He has to go to balls and dinner parties, make polite conversation, act like a gentleman. It’s a huge challenge for him, but he perseveres because of his growing attraction to Lady Lucinda.
So if you like books with lots of over the top angst and outsider-characters who thrive on the fringes of society, this isn’t the book for you. If you like books that are all about fitting in, belonging, building homes and families, repairing damaged relationships – give it a try, it’ll be right up your alley.