“Demon’s Bride” by Zoe Archer is part of her ‘Hellraisers’ series and centers on Mr. Leopold (Leo) Bailey, the Demon of the Exchange. A saddler’s son, Leo, has always been driven to wipe out the disdain that the aristocracy has inflicted upon him. He has made a deal with the devil just as his Hellraisers cohorts have done and his ability to foretell a future tragedy enables him to accrue a fortune. One of his efforts to obtain respectability involves marrying the shy and impoverished virgin Anne Elizabeth Hartfield, whose status as a Baron’s daughter affords her with a cachet that Leo’s money can’t buy, entry into the entitled world of the aristocracy. Anne surprises her new husband with her deft wit and her willingness to meet him on his level, including the fetching of coins for him from some of the rich peers that she interacts with. Their relationship slowly deepens but Leo insists on withholding one important piece of information from his bride, the fact that he has sold his soul to the devil in return for his gift of success on the Stock Exchange. Anne relishes in the comfort and support that she receives from her successful husband but is disturbed by the odd occurrences in her new home as well as the weird warning that she receives from her husband’s former crony, Lord Whitney. The city around them is also spiraling downward as violence and pandemonium seems to be increasing and Anne starts suspecting that her new life is not going to be as delightful as she had hoped.
An imaginative addition to the series that examines the difficulty of making a deal with the Devil. The amazing gifts that each of the men received are slowly being exposed as having considerable costs, particularly as individual members of the Hellraisers start to weigh their decisions and fight to break their bindings. The romance that blooms between Anne and Leo is heartwarming even as the horrors surrounding them tests their feelings for each other. An enjoyable read that will whet one’s appetite for tales of the rest of the Hellraisers.
Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.
But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal—one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.
Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart…