Release Date: Dec 30, 2019
Series: Uptown Girls
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
I’m a big Joanna Shupe fan. The first book I read of hers was Baron. Loved the entire Knickerbocker Club series. It didn’t come as a surprise when I saw that she moved from Kensington to Avon Books because, let’s face it, Avon knows and snaps up historical romance talent when they see it.
Ms Shupe’s second series with Avon is even better than the first. I loved The Rogue of Fifth Avenue and The Prince of Broadway is just as good. The second book in her Uptown Girls series features Florence Greene and Clayton Madden, both whom we met in the first book, Florence’s sister’s book.
Florence is not a woman who’s about home and hearth. Nope, her goal is to own her own casino—a casino for women—and who better to learn the ropes of casino ownership than the man who runs the most successful one in town, Clayton Madden. Being the farthest thing from a wilting wallflower, Florence begins the process by sneaking out of her house and going to his casino, where women are not permitted. There, of course, she catches his attention. Boy does she ever. They end up making a deal, he’ll tutor her and she’ll pay him an outrageous amount of money.
Clayton grew up poor, his childhood made worse when his family is basically pushed out of their home. He’s made to the top of his game despite—or maybe because of—his difficult upbringing. The one thing he’s never forgotten is the person responsible for his family’s misfortune and he wants revenge. That person also happens to be his beautiful new protegée’s father. And here’s the thing, she knows it. He’s upfront about that when he takes her on. And then as the saying goes, Let the games begin.
The attraction between the two is immediate. Maybe even more immediate on Clayton’s part, which he let’s her know even before he very reluctantly agrees to take her on.
“Fuck. He dropped his gaze and dragged air into his lungs. “I’ll put my cards on the table. I’m attracted to you.”
Her brows shot high on her forehead, her face slackening. “W-what?”
“I find you attractive, Miss Greene. Surely a woman as beautiful as you understands what that means.”
“I understand what it means but why would you tell me?”
Simple. Because he had nothing to hide.
Because he hated liars and cheaters.
Because she was dangerous to his peace of mind.
I loved that almost everything between then is laid out of the table at the beginning. No beating about the bush. You see them both as they are. When Florence finally acknowledges her sexual attraction to him, she’s not missish about letting him know. And you have no idea how absolutely refreshing I find this.
Sprinkled throughout this engaging plot of the push and pull of falling in love and the need for revenge are Ms. Shupe’s signature love scenes. They’re hot, incredibly well-written and you can just feel the emotion. The heat. The lust. They truly enhance their growing romance. There’s a naughty scene that one could call accidental voyeurism. (Hey, sometimes you’re locked somewhere and there’s nowhere else to look). Then there’s Florence’s birthday outing… Seriously, folks, grab a fan, you’re going to need it.
There aren’t too many villains in this book—although that cop was a nasty piece of work—and it was lovely catching up with the cast of characters introduced in the first book. I also loved the inclusion of Florence’s paternal grandmother. Talk about a woman ahead of her time, which makes her perfect for a woman like our heroine, Florence.
As always, I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series, The Devil of Downtown (Justine and Jack Mulligan) and very curious to see if Clayton and Florence continue on as they are…