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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Review: As the Devil Dares by Anna Harrington

I’ve been sitting on this review since JANUARY guys! Finally release day is here and you HAVE to get this book!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Forever Romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018

Whether it's business or pleasure, Lord Robert Carlisle never backs down from a dare. But finding a husband for scandalous Mariah Winslow? It's one challenge he instantly regrets accepting. Even with all his connections---and rakish charms---Robert will have to use every trick in the book to marry off a woman with no dowry and no sense of decorum...no matter how stunningly beautiful she is.

Mariah Winslow has no intention of being a pawn in Lord Robert's game. She knows he agreed to play matchmaker only to secure a partnership in her father's shipping company, a partnership that's rightfully hers. For now, though, she'll dress for the elegant balls he throws and dance with the eligible bachelors he chooses. But she won't be outwitted by the devil himself---no matter how tempting and irresistible she finds him.

What’s it About? Lord Robert Carlisle wants to make something of himself without having to depend on his family name and he finally finds the right opportunity when he meets wealthy merchant Henry Winslow. Robert wants to become Winslow’s business partner and he has everything that Winslow could want but there’s a catch, if Robert wants to have a chance at a partnership, he has to find a husband for Winslow’s daughter, Mariah. Easy enough to do when she’s beautiful but Mariah has no dowry, and shows little if any desire to behave as a lady should. She believes the partnership is rightfully hers and refuses to give up. As Robert gets to know Mariah, he becomes more and more fascinated by her mind and charm but if he gives in to temptation, he can forget about the partnership because Mariah’s father has made it very clear that marrying into the family will NOT gain him any say in the family business. And Robert’s wanted that partnership for longer than he can remember, but he also seems to want Mariah too.

Overall reaction to the story? And just like that, all three Carlisle brothers have been snapped up! I honestly couldn’t be happier about how Robert and Mariah’s story played out because I love a good enemies to lovers romance and Anna Harrington certainly delivered that and more. As soon as I started reading As the Devil Dares I just couldn’t put it down! Robert and Mariah’s battle of wills was as entertaining as it was revealing and I’m thinking this is my favorite book out of the three, and all because Mariah Winslow is my kind of historical heroine!

Describe the hero in five words: Driven. Charming. Loyal. Caring. Intelligent.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Robert, like his brothers, finds strength through his love for his family. He adores them even when he’s annoyed with them. That’s also his greatest weakness though because it is guilt over his father’s death that pushes him almost to the point of no return in his ambition to secure a business partnership with Mariah’s father. I liked Robert, and out of all three brothers he seemed to be the one most concerned with being a good man. One of the best things about Robert in my opinion was that he never tried to make Mariah feel inferior because she was a woman. He may have been befuddled at the beginning by the fact that she wasn’t a typical woman of his time but he didn’t make her feel ashamed of being well informed about the business. As much as Mariah frustrated him, he couldn’t help but admire her intelligence and bravery, which made him a confident man. He didn’t need to belittle her to feel like a man and when he argued with her, he quickly found that he enjoyed the fact that she could keep up with and even outsmart him.

Describe the heroine in five words: Tenacious. Intelligent. Loyal. Caring. Capable.
Did you like her? Absolutely.
Why? Mariah wasn’t some spoiled rich girl who wanted to play at being a part of the family business, she was active in learning how the business was run because she genuinely loved it. In fact, it was a part of her and throughout the whole story that never wavered. She wasn’t fickle in her feelings about the family business just because she was experiencing all the glittery social activities most women loved. I loved her devotion to learning and growing the family business and her willingness to fight for her place in it. I loved that Mariah didn’t let herself be defined or limited by her gender and even when she was falling for Robert she didn’t suddenly decide to conform to society’s expectations of her just to gain his approval. I loved her kind and caring nature but I also loved that she wasn’t afraid to fight dirty to win. She was fun but she was also tough.

Let’s talk about the romance: Robert and Mariah have driven personalities when they’re alone but put them together and they butt heads like a pair of aggressive rams! These two could argue until the world ended, but that’s what I loved about them as a couple. Robert couldn’t intimidate Mariah by claiming that he knew more about running a business than her because she was just as knowledgeable as he was. Mariah’s fierce determination and intelligence made her an ideal nemeses for Robert which lead to some very amusing scenes in which he couldn’t believe she had one upped him. It also provided some really sexy chemistry between them, and I say that because Robert was never really sure he had the upper hand with her. All Mariah had to do was be herself and that pretty much threw Robert off his game.

The one thing I have to nitpick about has to do with something that happened in the beginning that never comes up again.

How about that supporting cast? The Carlisle brothers have changed so much since they first appeared in their sister Josie’s book, How I Married a Marquess and I’ll be honest, I didn’t see much of who they used to be in their own books but it was almost as if Harrington read my mind because there’s a scene with all three brothers that is a bit of a throwback to their wilder days and I enjoyed seeing the mischief loving side of these three. Especially since the three of them have been carrying a lot of grief and guilt over their father’s death. There was also Mariah’s sister Evie who was just coming into her own as a young woman. I would love for her to get her own story.

Click It or Skip It? Click It! As the Devil Dares was the perfect way to close the Carlisles series. I’m going to miss those three troublemakers.

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