How to Best a Marquess

How to Best a Marquess

by Tina Gabrielle

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Overview

When a handsome boxer kisses Lady Ellie Swift for good luck during a match, it turns her world upside down. Because the rogue isn’t just anyone…it’s the Devil Marquess returned. Thanks to Hugh Vere, Marquess of Deveril, Ellie learned at an early age that men are more trouble than they’re worth. Now, instead of a husband, she wants to take over her brother’s infamous gambling club—the Raven Club. And apparently the devil wants it, too.

From the moment Hugh sees Ellie again sparks fly, but battle lines have been drawn. Whoever is the most successful overseeing the club in one month’s time will win. And Hugh intends to win. And he intends to stay very close to Ellie to make sure she follows the rules. What he discovers, though, is that Ellie is no longer the sweet girl he knew years ago—and winning won’t be easy. But the nearly combustible chemistry between them is hard to ignore, and soon the club is not the only prize he wants…

Each book in the Raven Club series is STANDALONE:
* How to Tempt an Earl
* How to Best a Marquess

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640638358
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 06/10/2019
Series: Raven Club , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 33,730
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Bestselling author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. She is the author of adventurous Regency historical romances for Entangled and Kensington Publishing. Tina lives in New Jersey and is married to her own hero and is blessed with two daughters. Visit her website to learn about upcoming releases, join her newsletter, and enter free monthly contests at www.tinagabrielle.com

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

April 1825

The Raven Club

An Undisclosed Location in London

Grunts echoed off the paneled walls.

The sickening sounds of flesh hitting flesh.

Ellie Swift's breath stalled in her throat. From the look of things, the boxing match would soon be over. In the center of the large room was a square ring roped off with stakes anchored to the hardwood floor at each corner. In the ring, the two opponents circled each other, rocking back and forth with nimble footwork. Both men were bare-chested and bare-fisted. One fighter was huge, a towering hulk of a man — a well-known pugilist aptly called Bear. The other's back was to her, smooth muscle and bronzed skin glistening beneath the blazing candlelight of the chandeliers. He was tall, just over six feet, but standing in the same ring with Bear seemed to diminish his size.

The crowd cheered, and one could feel the vibrant energy among the gathered spectators as wagers were swiftly made and money exchanged hands. As far as Ellie could discern, most of the wagers were in favor of Bear.

"Who is he?" Ellie strained to see the mysterious fighter's face from her vantage in the crowd. Her fingers itched to remove her feathered mask to get a better look. But her mask shielded her identity. All the women who attended the Raven Club wore them, especially the wives of wealthy aristocrats who frequented the casino or had a preference for the boxing matches in the back room adjoining the gaming floor. She was drawn to the fights even though her brother, the owner of the club, did not always approve.

She watched, enthralled, as sweat glistened on their brows and backs and ran into the band of their trousers. She'd observed matches before and had seen men's naked chests. She'd roamed the gambling floor and seen her fair share of the pugilists in the boxing room. At twenty-three, she was five years past her first Season, and she'd heard many whispers that she was on her way to becoming a spinster. The whispers hadn't bothered her. She'd much rather spend time in her brother's club than at a ball. Still, despite attending more matches than any young lady should have, she found herself studying the unknown fighter.

"He's a blue blood," a man with a gold front tooth, standing to her right, said.

Nobility? Ellie shifted, but she still couldn't make out his face through the throng of people. Something was familiar about the way he moved — powerful, purposeful ... elegant, but she couldn't place him. He had dark hair and broad shoulders. Not uncommon.

"A marquess who likes adventure. Bad that he chose Bear to challenge," a bearded man to her left said.

Bad indeed.

Yet, as she watched, the man's footwork was as swift as his fists. He ducked and wove and avoided blows that would surely have felled any man if Bear's fists had made contact.

The nagging in the back of her mind continued. What was it about him?

Determined to find out, Ellie wove through the crowd to get closer to the ring. Just as she reached the front, a gasp and shout arose among the crowd. Bear's uppercut connected with his opponent's chin. The dark-haired man's head whipped back, and he staggered, then stumbled forward to catch himself on the ropes.

For a heart-stopping moment, he was inches from her face.

Recognition jolted through her.

Along with a deep-seated dread and a maddening pounding of her heart. The vibrant green of his eyes, the divot in his chin, the full lips, and —

"A kiss from a lovely lady for luck," he said, breathing heavily.

Before she could blink, those perfect lips pressed against hers. Hot. Swift. Over in seconds, he turned to face his opponent.

Ellie, on the other hand, was not as quick to recover.

Oh my God.

It was the devil returned.

Her only consolation was that he didn't recognize her with her mask.

She turned and fled into the refuge of the casino.

* * *

There was something about her.

Hugh Vere, the Marquess of Deveril, did not consider himself a superstitious man. But the lady's kiss had surely turned luck in his favor.

He'd defeated the monster of a man named Bear soon after he'd kissed the lady. Landing a blow to Bear's right temple, his opponent had dropped like a stone.

Hugh wiped his brow with a towel and dipped a dented metal cup in a bucket of water. The cool drink eased his parched throat. He hadn't been in the best position to study the woman closely. His teeth had rattled in his skull after Bear's fist had made jarring contact with his jaw. She'd worn a peacock-feathered mask, and he hadn't made out the color of her eyes. But he had glimpsed her hair. Had it been as vivid a red as he'd thought?

Could it be her?

He'd only known one female who'd had that hair color. The young girl from his past would be a woman now. His brow creased as he tried to recall the details of the masked female he'd kissed moments ago.

He remembered her lips. Soft and inviting. His daring kiss had paid off in a win. Had she stayed to watch?

He tossed the towel to a boy, one of many he'd noticed working at the Raven Club. "The lady with the peacock mask. Who is she?"

The lad shrugged slender shoulders. "No one asks at the Raven, me lord. The ladies wear masks to gamble and watch the fights."

Hugh knew secrecy was prized at the club. It was one of the numerous reasons the place took in a fortune in coin every evening.

"Where did she go?"

The boy pointed to a set of doors at the far end of the cavernous room. "Back to the casino floor."

Hugh had business to conduct at the casino. If he was lucky, he'd spot her on the way and offer his thanks.

The doors led from the boxing room to the main casino floor. It was an ingenious design, in Hugh's opinion. Every vice resided beneath one roof. Almost every vice. From what he'd been told, the Raven Club did not offer demimondes. Only bored widows looking to gamble and some seeking to engage in a night of physical pleasure.

Not much difference in Hugh's estimation. He'd enjoyed the attentions of willing widows and actresses since his return from war months ago.

The casino was busy tonight. Every table on the floor was filled with gamblers hoping to win at a game of chance. The crack of the dice across the green baize of the hazard table drew his eye. The sound of the roulette wheel as the little white ball spun and spun combined with the excited shouts of the players and the call of the croupiers. Men and women gazed at their cards in avaricious intensity at the whist, faro, and vingt-et- un tables. Liveried servers with an embroidered R on their waistcoats delivered tumblers of amber-colored alcohol on trays to the gamblers. The scent of cigar smoke wafted to him.

He recognized many of the spectators from the boxing match, now eager to spend their winnings on games of chance. Most would lose. Another efficiency of the club he admired. Have them wager on the fights, then pass through the doors and turn around and give their money back to the club at the tables.

"Lord Castleton is waiting for you upstairs," a tall, broad-shouldered man with a brick-like chin said. Hugh had learned his name was Brooks and he was the head guard on the casino floor.

Hugh scanned the room for the red-haired woman in the peacock mask, but she was nowhere to be found. He followed Brooks up a winding staircase to a second floor. The man opened the first door on the right.

It was a spacious room with an oak desk, matching leather chairs, and a thick Oriental carpet. Papers beneath polished stone paperweights and leather-bound ledgers were piled upon the desk. A globe rested on an end table in the corner.

Hugh turned at the sound of a throat clearing to find the earl and his countess standing at the sideboard in the corner of the room.

"Welcome, Lord Deveril. It is a pleasure to see you again." Lady Castleton came forward and curtsied. She was an attractive woman with dark hair and blue eyes. She was also large with child. Her husband, Ian Swift, the Earl of Castleton and the owner of the Raven Club, stood beside his wife.

Hugh hadn't expected the countess to be present. He'd just stepped out of the ring, so he hadn't bothered with a waistcoat and cravat. He wasn't properly attired to meet her.

Hugh bowed. "Thank you, my lady."

"Congratulations on defeating Bear," Lord Castleton said.

Hugh didn't try to hide his surprise. "News travels that quickly?"

"I know everything that happens in the Raven soon after it occurs." Lord Castleton waved toward a window overlooking the casino floor. "I may not be able to see the boxing room, but my workers below deliver messages with simple hand motions. See for yourself."

Hugh walked to a window in the paneled wall that overlooked the casino floor. He could see everything clearly from this vantage point — the flurry of the dealer's hands, the slight sheen of sweat on the gamblers' faces as they placed their wagers, the painted lips of the masked women as they coyly smiled and flirted, and even the satisfied expression of a waiter who received a gold coin after delivering a whisky to a lucky winner.

He was fascinated. It was like a play, the most absorbing performance of human behavior and emotion he'd ever witnessed. It was intoxicating to gaze down and simply watch. No wonder Castleton was considered one of the most powerful men in all of London before he'd inherited the earldom.

Hugh coveted the man's good fortune. As well as his dark reputation. Hugh had forsaken his own reputation years ago. After learning of his father and brother's deaths from pneumonia, he'd resigned his army commission and returned to town. He may have taken his place as the Marquess of Deveril, but he no longer cared what others thought, including his miserable mother who currently resided in the country and whom he'd long ago dismissed from his life. When he'd heard rumors that the Raven Club was for sale, he'd reached out to Castleton straightaway.

The door opened, and Hugh turned away from the window.

He froze as the lady with the peacock mask entered. He was able to study her in detail now. Her eyes were a piercing blue from behind the mask. His initial guess had been correct.

Ellie Swift was here. And her ringside kiss had given him the luck he'd needed to defeat Bear.

"Ellie," he said aloud before he could stop himself. He experienced a tumult of emotions — joy to see her again, an ache of desire that had never dulled, even through the years, and a heaviness in his chest for all that was lost between them.

Her reaction wasn't as pleasant. She stiffened and shot him a hostile glare. "Good God! What is he doing here?"

"Ellie," Lady Castleton said, in an admonishing tone. "Is that a proper way to greet the marquess?"

Hugh was quick to intervene, and he stepped forward and bowed. "Please, do not make amends. It's lovely to see you again, my lady."

He hadn't been a marquess when they'd first met five years ago. He'd been a second son, untitled and without a shilling to his name. The irony was not lost on him that he'd had to give her up because of his lack of fortune, only to unexpectedly inherit the title and the wealth that accompanied it years later.

Ellie glared at him, then reached up to remove her mask. It was like a punch to the gut. She had changed, grown even more beautiful. Porcelain complexion, red hair the color of a bright sunset, and blue eyes that could devastate a man. The sprinkling of freckles on the bridge of her nose remained. She'd hated them; he'd thought they only added to her perfection.

The last time he'd seen her they had both been eighteen. He'd broken her heart, and she'd fled the gardens of Lady Something-or-other's home with tears in her eyes.

It was a moment he'd relived for years.

"We've asked Lord Deveril here to discuss the future of the Raven Club," Lady Castleton said.

"The future of the club?" From the confused look on Ellie's face, it was clear she had no idea. Why should she? She'd seen him in a boxing ring minutes before and now he was in her brother's private office.

"Lord Deveril seeks to buy the Raven," Castleton said without preamble.

A gasp escaped Ellie, and she pressed a hand to her chest. "You cannot be serious!"

"Ellie," Lord Castleton said, his tone harsh.

She appeared panicked now, and Hugh could not grasp why she had such a strong physical reaction to the news. He knew she hated him, and for good reason, but the Raven Club was business, surely nothing that she should be concerned with.

Ellie's gaze homed in on her brother. "You know I want a chance to take over the Raven. You promised."

The Earl of Castleton raised a hand. "I made no such promise."

Lady Castleton touched her husband's hand. "We said we'd consider it. We know you are more than capable, and with Brooks's continued help to oversee the casino floor, we know the Raven Club would succeed."

Hugh's brow furrowed, and he looked from Ellie to Castleton, then back to Ellie. He was shocked by this turn of events. The earl and countess couldn't possibly consider allowing a young woman to manage London's most notorious gambling club. "You cannot be serious," he said, repeating her phrase. "Ellie is a ... is a ..."

"A what?" Ellie snapped.

"A lady." The thought of her running the place was ludicrous. How long before someone recognized her behind the frivolous mask? It would be the scandal of the year. Her future would be ruined.

"Our first child is expected in a little over a month's time. Once, we never thought to sell the Raven Club, but the years have changed our opinion. I wish to spend time with my wife and child, not a casino," Castleton said.

"I understand," Hugh said.

He didn't. Not really. His parents had been distant to their children and cold toward each other. They had never shared a bedchamber. As far as Hugh knew, the old marquess had visited his wife twice, to have two sons, and never again.

"Whoever takes over must continue the charitable works from the profits," Castleton said.

Hugh knew about the anonymous donations. At first, the earl didn't seem charitable, but as Hugh became better acquainted with the man, he'd realized there was much more to Ian Swift than met the eye. The earl had secrets — deep-seated ones — but what was clear was the fact that he adored his wife.

Hugh had assured the earl and the countess that he had no qualms about continuing to set aside a portion of the profits for the orphanages and asylums for women as had been established. His reasons for wanting to purchase the Raven Club were twofold: he had a strong interest in boxing, and he had a sharp business mind and knew he could successfully manage the establishment. He valued control, to be in charge. His years as an officer in the military had been regimented, and he'd discovered he was a natural leader.

It hadn't always been this way for him. As a young man, his disciplinarian father had rigidly dictated his future. As a result, Hugh had left for the army, swearing never to allow another to control him. Since inheriting the title and returning from war, he had little patience for high society and had taken on a devil-may-care attitude when it came to the ridiculous rules of the beau monde. He wanted more out of life than to simply be a marquess and was determined to choose his own path.

"As I've assured you, I have no protest to donating to the charities. I still want to purchase the establishment."

"No!" Ellie said.

To Hugh's surprise, it was the countess who spoke. "We have considered both of you and have decided to see who would prove the 'best man' for the club. For one month, you will both run the Raven Club. Whoever is most successful will have the establishment. If Ellie wins, she will have the freedom to manage it with Brooks's aid. If Lord Deveril wins, then our solicitors will draw up purchase papers. Your endeavors will be recorded in separate ledgers."

"You think to hold a competition?" Ellie asked in surprise. "That's ludicrous!"

For the first time, Hugh was in agreement with Ellie Swift. He found it hard to believe the earl and countess would even consider such an idea. One look at Castleton's tense expression and Hugh knew it was the countess who had convinced the man to agree to a competition.

Fine. Hugh's gut tightened with a conviction. He'd always been soft where Ellie was concerned. But not in this. It was for her own good.

He would win.

"I accept," Hugh said.

* * *

As soon as Hugh left, Ellie faced Ian with fists clenched at her sides.

"How could you do this?" she demanded as indignation swamped her. "You are my brother."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "How to Best a Marquess"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Tina Sickler.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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How to Best a Marquess 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
MellieReadsALot 14 days ago
I tend to dislike books where the female character gives the male character a second chance after many years. I dislike the unrequited love the characters seemed to hold on to. I was surprised to enjoy this story - the competitive nature of both characters seems to spark the development of love the second time around.
Historical_Romance_Lover 30 days ago
I loved Ellie and Hugh's story!! Although they were in a competition for ownership of the club, they couldn't seem to fight their attraction for one another. I loved watching the interact with one another and the chemistry was red hot!! This was a great addition to the Raven Club series!!
Mimiphilly 3 months ago
This was a complimentary copy from netgalley - many thanks I really enjoyed this - I do love a historical romance - this was read in one sitting - couldn't put down !! The surprise for me with this were the additional strands dealing with female independence, feminism, domestic abuse and how it was hidden. The political aspects of society were deal with a light hand so raising awareness but not as hard hitting and didn't detract from the story telling which was very well done. I felt the language and vocabulary techniques were well done This would make a great holiday read but also a great book club read as being to draw on the political aspects of the time and in particular the female in that era's society was very interesting to me Loved the book and will be looking out for more of this author in the future
beckymmoe 3 months ago
My first from this author, but definitely not my last! Ellie and Hugh have a past--he broke her heart five years ago, and now he's back, threatening the future she'd planned for herself, one where she takes over ownership of her brother's club (the Raven Club that the series is named for). So you've got a second chance romance here, with a healthy dollop of lovers-to-enemies-to-(hopefully!)-lovers again. Ellie and Hugh have all kinds of chemistry, so there's tons of will-they-won't-they-OMG-they-need-to-just-do-it-RIGHT-NOW for the first 50% or so. Delicious! Things get a little wonky in the last third or so--neither Hugh or Ellie seem to be able to learn their lesson (actually, neither really seems to even understand what the lesson they need to learn IS) and the HEA feels further away than ever at many points. Fortunately, they both manage to pull it together in the end, giving us a very satisfying ending and epilogue. You don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this one, but you'd better believe I'm going to go back and read it now! Rating: 4 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
nelriv 3 months ago
So I had requested this book a couple of weeks ago and kept going back and forth on when to read it due to some of the reviews that I had read and also because I was afraid of what Hugh had done to her years ago, I am so not the person to condone cheating. I am glad that my nosiness had me putting everything aside and reading the book, I did enjoy and have found a new author folks I think there was a previous book with how some of the secondary characters were portrayed I could be mistaken however I intend to find out and if that is the case will be reading not that I was overjoyed with Ian in this book but I did like Grace and I was intrigued (secondary characters). Ok so Hugh and Ellie were in love 5 years ago and he broke her heart and she has decided that she will not marry she wants and likes her freedom and she has started assisting woman who are in abusive relationships and she gets married she wont be able to assist. Hugh has returned from the military to take the title of Marquess since his father and brother have died something he never thought he would have and since he has been back he has not seen Ellie and has been cavorting with actresses, widows and loose woman. These two unexpectedly meet since they both want to own and run the same club and now they are in a contest to see who will win and as they spend time together old feelings return and secrets come out and revelations occur..Grab a copy my friends and enjoy! I sure did and hope to get a story on Olivia.. Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) voluntarily reviewed with my own thoughts and opinions
georgia1 3 months ago
The Raven Club, London 1825 For a heartstopping moment, he was inches from her face. "A kiss from a lovely lady for luck, he said, breathing heavily. Before she could blink, those perfect lips pressed against hers. Hot. Swift. Over in seconds as he turned to his opponent. Oh my God. It was the devil returned, as Ellie recognized him." Wowza. Talk about getting my attention as our heroine was masked watching a boxing match. Hugh Vere, Marquess of Deveril had returned from the war and had to take over over the title after the death of his father and brother. But he had no love for the ton and wanted to buy the Raven Club. He loved to box and he wanted to be in charge. But when he sees Ellie again, he soon learns she wants the club even more. The challenge begins. Whoever is the most successful running the club for 30 days gets ownership. Two determined people who have a history together when they were youg that cannot be forgotten or fogiven by Ellie as he broke her heart. But sometimes the heart cannot pull away from what it wants and as these two are around each other, combustible desire is sure to win the day!! Loved this story and always enjoy everything this author pens! I read this through NetGallery Lori Dykes
Tlbran 3 months ago
How to Best a Marquess is the second book in the Raven Club series. It can be read as a standalone but the first book is a must read! Hugh broke Ellie’s heart 5 years ago and she is determined to avoid it again. Hugh is interested in buying the Raven Club and Ellie wants to take over the running of it from her brother. A contest is arranged to see who could make the most profit and be the best person for the club. Ellie is determined to win so that she can continue to use the club to cover her secrets. Hugh is determined to protect Ellie when she puts herself in danger. Hugh likes to be in control of all situations but he has to realize that Ellie needs to be part of his decisions in order for them to reach their HEA. This was a fun book to read (as was the first book) and was well paced and intriguing. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and recommend reading this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Tink4evr 3 months ago
Ellie is determined to never have her heart broken again. She is feisty, witty, and fiercely loyal. Hugh has become her greatest nemesis since he broke her heart. The two are now in direct competition for one prize. The story is filled with these two trying to outwit each other in words and deed. They are both passionate about the things they believe in and it spills over into major clashes. The topic of spousal abuse is dealt with by the author in this story as a serious issue that plagued women of that era. Having this couple work to better their lives is just one thing that brings them closer together.
FanniAnn 3 months ago
What a wonderful entertaining story this is, from the very start the likeable characters make this a pleasure to read.
Pompie1999 3 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written and well-plotted addition to the series. I haven’t read the first book in the series, How to Tempt an Earl, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book. Actually, this book just made me want to read that book as well! I loved the main characters – both are stubborn and thoroughly convinced that their way is the only right way, and it is a delight to watch them have to figure out how to compromise – him more than her, but they both had to give. Hugh Vere, the Marquess of Deveril, who came from cold, hard-hearted parents, had no expectations or desire to become a Marquess – he was the second son. Yet, when both his older brother and his father died, he had no choice but to resign his military commission and assume the role. One of his first acts was to banish his cold and cruel mother to the country – then, it was on to finding something to give his life meaning besides the typical aristocratic activities. Since he’d recently taken an avid interest in boxing and he’d just learned that the Raven Club was going to be sold, he thought he’d purchase it. Imagine his surprise to find he had competition – a female – a female with whom he had a history. Hugh is a control freak – mostly because in his younger life he had no control over anything and it had cost him dearly – so, he fully intends to win his right to purchase the club. Lady Ellie Swift, sister to Ian Swift, Earl of Carleton, had her heart torn out and ripped apart five years ago by Hugh Vere. She loved him with all of her being and she thought he loved her the same – but then, he betrayed her most foully. Since that time, she’s hated Hugh and has never trusted another man. She certainly has no intention of marrying one, and if she manages to win the Raven Club from her brother, she’ll have the financial independence she craves. She cannot believe her brother is actually making her compete with Hugh Vere! Ian knows their history; how can he do this to her? Both Ellie and Hugh have reasons for wanting the club – Hugh’s are pretty open – he wants to be in control of things – Ellie’s are more hidden because she has activities that she absolutely must keep secret and the club gives her the perfect method of doing that. Should her brother – or Hugh – find out what she does, they’d stop her. She can’t afford for them to stop her because lives are at stake if they do. Hugh is very intelligent and has a gift for business, so she could easily lose to him. She has to be very careful to hide her secrets. Not only is Hugh very intelligent – he is also very observant. He knows Ellie is up to something and it doesn’t take him long to figure out most of it – but when he figures it all out, he’s aghast! Hugh is a protector and his only desire is to protect Ellie – even from herself. Hugh does what he did in the past for Ellie – he decides what is best for her and he acts on it. He doesn’t ask her. He doesn’t give her a choice. That just absolutely infuriates Ellie – why can’t he see that she should be consulted, she should have a say in her own life. His decisions aren’t the only correct ones – there is more than one way to do things. I began to despair that Hugh would ever have a grand epiphany, but he finally got there for a lovely, lovely HEA. It is definitely a good, intense, lustful read and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Pokeybooboo 3 months ago
How to Best a Marquess is the second book in Tina Gabrielle's The Raven Club series. This one can totally stand alone, but I recommend reading the first because it was such a fun book. However, I think I enjoyed this one even more! Lady Ellie Swift is at The Raven Club, her brother's gambling and boxing club. While wearing a mask to protect her identity, she is kissed for luck by the handsome boxer in the middle of a bout. Hugh Vere, now the Marquess of Deveril, soon discovers that underneath the mask is the girl whose heart he broke five years before. Ellie's brother Ian and his wife Grace are about to have a baby and they no longer wish to keep the club; it is her dream to take it over. But then she is informed that Hugh also wants The Raven. And she must compete with him to see who will get it! Let's just say that Ellie is NOT amused. I loved the chemistry between Ellie and Hugh. He let her go all those years ago because he had her best interests at heart. (That phrase makes Ellie want to shoot him, by the way.) Though Ellie is still hurt by his betrayal, she can't help but still be drawn to him. She has grown to be an incredibly strong woman; she helps abused women escape their abusers. Hugh still wants her to be his...except he has a habit of thinking he knows what's best for her. Ellie does her best to disabuse him of this notion. You can't help but root for these two stubborn people to realize what we already know - they belong together. I definitely hope to see more goings-on at The Raven Club. I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
CaroleBurant57 3 months ago
They both want the Raven Club....but for different reasons! Five years ago, Lady Ellie Swift and Hugh Vere were in love and planning a future together but after finding him kissing another woman, it all ended there. Hugh Vere, now the Marquess of Deveril, is back in town and he wants the club AND Ellie! She has no intentions of making it easy for him, though!!! This was a very well written unique story and Hugh & Ellie are wonderful characters although he could be very controlling and she could be very stubborn! I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Lashea677 3 months ago
She's fearless. He's predictable. She knows what she wants. He knows how to get it. What happens when these restless hearts collide? Passion. Ellie and Hugh have a history. Unfinished business is about to explode into irresistible attraction. How to Best a Marquess is a seductive duel of hearts. Gabrielle makes spice a sure bet with this dangerously, naughty affair.