Disinherited by his parents and estranged from his wife, Fallen pleasure club co-owner Lord Grayson ‘Devil’ Deveraux long ago learned to place his trust in ledgers rather than people. But his ice-cold reserve hides the scandalous truth: he’s a man who craves pain with his pleasure, and a loving lady to instruct him.
Banished to the country when her whirlwind marriage collapsed, Lady Eliza Deveraux never knew why Grayson fell out of love with her: she’d tried so damned hard to quell her fiery self and be a proper, obedient wife. But when Eliza is forced to return to London and back into Grayson’s intoxicating world, banked passions reignite. Can a marriage built on secrets and pretense truly get a second chance?
Each book in the Fallen series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Surrender to Sin
Book #2 The Devil’s Submission
Book #3 The Seduction of Viscount Vice
About the Author
New Zealander Nicola Davidson always adored words, romance and history, so writing historical romance was a logical career progression...er, eventually. After completing a communications degree and journalism diploma she left to teach English in Taiwan and travel through Asia before returning home to work in television. Jobs in tertiary education, local government communications and print media followed, but the lords and ladies in her head wouldn’t hold their peace a moment longer and so began the years of professional daydreaming. When not chained to a computer writing wickedly sexy, witty and twisty turny stories, Nicola can be found ambling along a beach, cheering on the champion All Blacks rugby team or driving her nearest and dearest batty with her history geekisms, chocolate hoarding and complete lack of domestic skills.
Keep up with Nicola’s news on Twitter (@NicolaMDavidson) Facebook (Nicola Davidson – Author) or her website www.nicola-davidson.com
Read an Excerpt
The Devil's Submission
The Fallen Series
By Nicola Davidson, Kate Brauning
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Nicola Davidson
All rights reserved.
North Lincolnshire, England, June 1814
"You must return to London, Eliza. It will be the ton wedding of the year!"
Lady Eliza Deveraux glanced again at the crisp gold-embossed invitation her mother, Countess Brimley, kept shoving under her nose. That Sin and his bride-to-be Grace had included her on the guest list warmed her heart no end. But under no circumstances would she be going. Not when attendance would put her in the vicinity of her estranged husband, Lord Grayson Deveraux, Sin's closest friend and second co-owner of the shockingly infamous pleasure club Fallen.
"No, Mother. I'll send them a gift and my deepest regrets; however, London and I do not get along."
"But the Prince Regent is a guest! And the Duke and Duchess of Waverly ... oh, anyone who is anyone received an invitation. And if you go, Brimley and I can go with you."
"I said no. And that is the end of the discussion."
Lady Brimley glared at her. "You selfish, selfish, girl. Denying your father and me an opportunity like this because of your own gross failures. When I saw the betrothal announcement in the newspaper, I knew they would invite you. I waited and waited for you to share the news. But you chose to break my heart instead. What did I do to deserve the worst daughter in England?"
Gritting her teeth so hard they would soon grind to powder, Eliza fought to remain calm. To keep her tears unshed. To sip her tea rather than dump it on her mother's perfectly coiffed head. The dozens of scathing letters about her broken marriage had been sufficiently infuriating, but clearly her replies hadn't been detailed or apologetic enough to keep her mother safely far away at Brimley Park. This morning the damned crested carriage had pulled up in a clatter of gravel and dust; the gray-faced fatigue of the Brimley servants suggesting the usual leisurely two-day journey had been completed much faster. Not to mention her mother hadn't even waited until she'd stepped inside to discuss the wedding invitation, as if all were well between them. "I'm sorry you feel that way, but Grayson and I have been living apart for six months, and it is far better like this. Civil, even."
"Oh, you headstrong fool," spat Lady Brimley. "Do you have any idea of the further damage you did me when you ran away from your own husband?"
"I didn't run away —"
"Close enough for the gossips. As if it wasn't bad enough you set your heart on a scoundrel and married him because you thought you were in love. Sweet-talked your papa into countenancing a small, intimate wedding away from the ton. I might have borne that in time. Lord Grayson's enormous wealth, and his social connections do somewhat fade the stain of his filthy trade and scandalous reputation. But!"
Eliza stared longingly out the window. The balcony wasn't so high; surely the shrubbery would break her fall. At least then she wouldn't have to listen to a lecture heard a thousand times already. "But he decided I should not reside under the same roof as him."
"Yes! Yes, he did! And now I am destroyed. Finished. Ended. An object of pity and scorn!"
"Oh dear." She sighed, wishing she could select the delectable-looking glazed jam tart from the tea tray. But provoking her mother's second favorite lecture — Eliza's Troublesome Weight — would not be a smart decision.
"You wretched girl! Have you no sorrow for my humiliation? The reputation of the Brimley Finishing Academy is ruined. We were renowned for our successes. As the sign stated, 'well-bred young ladies taught to be Delightful, Decorous, and Demure in preparation for excellent marriages.' But what ton mother will send her offspring to a school when the patroness's own daughter was such a terrible wife her husband couldn't stomach her so soon after the wedding?"
Eliza winced as a familiar pain clawed her heart.
Even now it was impossible to pinpoint what she'd done to make Grayson hate her so. From the moment she'd met the most handsome spectacle-wearing and ledger-loving lord in England, she'd been smitten. Twenty-eight years old, six feet tall, with a lean, muscled build, strong jaw, short-cropped ebony hair, and emerald green eyes to drown in. Oh, there had been the odd warning: that his nickname Devil was not only a play on his surname, but also an accurate description of an ice-cold bastard with the blackest of hearts. That he'd been disowned by his parents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Reyburn, for something so awful it was spoken of by no one.
But in the weeks of charmingly clumsy waltzes, long walks, rare flowers, and sizzling kisses, all that had seemed ridiculous, and she fell helplessly in love. For heaven's sake, Grayson had even tolerated her terrible tendency to issue instructions and discuss unladylike topics. Some of the shockingly risqué conversations they'd had ... but those had paled in comparison to an unforgettable evening in the Brimley Park maze. She forgot herself completely, ordered him to touch her properly, and by heaven he'd obeyed. After Grayson had lowered her bodice and suckled her tender nipples, he'd lifted her gown and stroked the damp heat between her legs until she experienced her first shuddering climax. Unfortunately she came loudly enough for them to be discovered shortly afterward, but Grayson hadn't even waited for a ton trial. He'd immediately proposed, and they'd wed by special license three days later.
Cracks soon appeared. Her mother began visiting every second day to offer reminders and advice on how to be a worthy wife. Although Eliza tried her hardest to quell her stubborn, independent streak and be feted as a good and obedient Brimley Finishing Academy graduate, it seemed she could never reach the expected standard of decorum or submissiveness. The more she bowed to Grayson's will, the more he pulled away, spending increasing amounts of time in his office at Fallen with his guinea piles and ledgers, even taking a chamber there rather than returning to their townhouse. The nights he did come home, he reached for her less and less. And then came the awful day when she suggested a holiday and he counter-offered with a choice of property and a generous allowance if she left at once. She'd chosen the estate farthest away from London, a two-day carriage ride to just north of Gainsborough. And she'd fled.
The clattering of a teaspoon on fine bone china startled her out of her reverie, and she mumbled quickly, "Surely, Mother, the academy could not be doing as badly as all that."
"It is," Lady Brimley snapped. "Withdrawals are coming in by the day now, especially with summer upon us. All because you couldn't do your duty in any way. Twenty-four years old and still childless. The shame!"
"That wasn't my fault!" Eliza said hotly. "To conceive, your husband must actually share your bed. And after a while he ... he didn't want to. He didn't want me."
"Because you are a twit. A brassy, outspoken hoyden who chose the wrong husband and then drove him away. I bet his mistress soothed him with quiet sweetness. Mrs. Lewis, wasn't that her name?"
Misery lodged in Eliza's stomach. It seemed everyone but her had known about Grayson's longtime paramour, Charlotte Lewis, who even had her own chamber at Fallen. How many nights when she'd lain alone had she tortured herself with images of him kissing the beautiful, slender brunette. Sucking her nipples. Kneeling between her spread thighs and licking her core. Penetrating her deeply with that long, thick erection of his, taking her hard, whispering words of love in her ear as they climaxed together.
"Perhaps," she choked out.
"Well then. This wedding is the perfect occasion to march back to London and prove you are more worthy than that trollop. If you would just style your unruly hair and commit to losing weight ... Lord Grayson clearly prefers willowy to, er, rounded."
"I'm not returning to the capital, Mother."
"Yes. You. Are," Lady Brimley hissed. "Unless you want to see your own mother and father in the poorhouse?"
Eliza froze. "What on earth are you talking about?"
"We are two steps from ruin. Brimley made some bad investments and sank a great deal of money into some speculative stocks that Lord Grayson warned him to stay well away from. So I borrowed a little money from the school coffers. Just a temporary loan, you understand, not theft, and back then the academy wouldn't even notice it anyway. But thanks to you, the school is crumbling and the accounts are due to be checked next month!"
"Exactly how much money did you borrow?"
Lady Brimley's gaze darted away. "As I said, just a little."
"Ten thousand pounds."
Eliza sank back on her chair. "Mother, you stole a blasted fortune!"
"Not to Lord Grayson," said her mother defensively. "The man could settle the debt with pocket change. And your husband owes us. He gained a wife far higher in birth than he deserved."
"What? Grayson is the son of a marquess!"
"The disinherited son. Listen to me, Eliza. If you were to go to London and attend the wedding, people might believe you had just been ill and needed complete rest in a very quiet place. Not a marriage failure at all. The academy would be saved on both fronts."
"And if he refuses and sends me packing within a minute?"
"Then I'll know you didn't try. For heaven's sake, girl. After everything your father and I have done for you, attending a society wedding and asking your husband for ten thousand pounds are tiny favors. You have always been the problem. For once, you can be the solution."
Eliza closed her eyes.
Oh, how she would love to tell her mother to go bathe in the Thames, especially when the woman demanded the impossible. To just saunter in Fallen's front door and announce "darling, I'm home, and by the by, might I have a bank draft?"
Grayson would happily toss her out. And yet he was the only person who could avert disaster. The thought of her sweetly absentminded papa locked in debtor's prison was too awful to contemplate.
Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes and nodded.
"Very well. I'll go."
* * *
"You cannot do this, Devil. You cannot."
Lord Grayson Deveraux tilted his head and stared dispassionately at the red-faced peer leaning over his office desk. The only thing vaguely intimidating about the man's stance was the threat of that too-tight, sweat-stained shirt splitting and revealing a sight from which his eyes would never recover. "On the contrary, Mandell. I can and I have."
"For a maid? A wretched no-name whore? If she had any sort of intelligence, she would know what an honor it was that I even looked at her, let alone touched her!"
"Perhaps other establishments encourage and celebrate such a mindset," Devil said coldly. "But at Fallen, everything, and I mean everything, is lady's choice. If a member disregards the rule of consent, his or her membership is terminated instantly. No refund."
Mandell thumped his fist on the oak desk. "Damned insolent pup! I am a marquess. I deserve a second chance, at least."
Devil folded his arms, lest he lose his temper and stab the man with his pen. Only the thought of stains on the Aubusson rug and the extra work for the parlor maids held him back. "Your rank is of no consequence, my lord. And second chances are not a custom I indulge in. The contract you signed clearly outlined all the club's non-negotiable rules; you break a rule, the privilege of membership is withdrawn. I assure you, Mandell, you and your documented underwhelming appendage from now on will be no more than an amusing tale here. So, you may either leave quietly or be thrown out. I'm sure our eminent Portman Square neighbors will enjoy the exhibition. Of course, I would then be forced to invoice you extra for the bother incurred."
The marquess's face went from purple to parchment. "My God. You would, wouldn't you? I never truly believed the rumors. I mean look at you: disheveled, ink-spotted, spectacles ... like an absentminded clerk. But you are the coldest of bastards. Reyburn is well rid of you. As is your runaway wife."
Devil rose slowly to his feet. "Good day, Lord Mandell."
"G-good day, Lord Grayson," choked out the older man as he backed away and practically sprinted from the room.
Slumping against the edge of his desk, Devil took several deep breaths to calm his racing heart. Confrontations like those never got any easier, but damned if a fucking marquess of all people might get away with harassing one of the maids. Fallen was not only a pleasure club, but also a sanctuary for both staff and members, where no matter what happened outside the doors, inside was safety and freedom to explore.
Few people in the world knew it had always been a sanctuary for him as well.
He shuddered and ran a weary hand over his face, sighing at the sight of a blue smear on his fingertips. Hell and damnation. He really did need soap and water to remove the ink, and a change of clothing. When immersed in handling accounts, balancing the complex ledgers, settling bills, and counting out piles of coins for expenses and wages, such mundane tasks tended to fall by the wayside.
Eliza used to prompt you. Remember the time she dragged you into the bathing antechamber, stripped and soaped you all over? You pulled her into the copper tub fully clothed and "washed" her nipples and pussy with your fingers, then spent the rest of the night buried deep inside her perfect, lush body.
Devil clenched his fists, the urge to break something unbearable. He'd finally reached a point where he didn't think about his estranged wife every hour of every bloody day, and Mandell had to go and remind him. From the moment he met Eliza during a solitary ride along Rotten Row, he'd been hooked. Became convinced she was strong, smart, feisty, and fearless, a woman whom he might in time share his deepest, darkest shame with. A woman who would free him with her loving care. As for their erotic courtship banter and kisses, the way she commanded like an empress ... hell, he hadn't even cared when they'd been caught in a very compromising position in the garden. He'd been so eager to wed her he'd gone straight to the archbishop for a special license.
But not long after the wedding, everything changed. He found himself married to a timid, bland, and cool society princess, one who turned even more proper and particular as the weeks went on. All the confusion, self-doubt, and anger swirling in his mind had been bad enough. But when the tension increased to the point he couldn't even get hard anymore, the knowledge that he was less than a man became unendurable. His parents were right. He was weak, a disgusting aberration, a stain on the Deveraux name.
So he'd sent Eliza far away, thinking it would solve everything, that he'd finally be able to sleep and fuck and laugh again. But it hadn't worked. He lived like a damned vampire monk, buried in bookwork and occasionally visiting the activity rooms to watch a performance with his club co-owners and closest friends, Sin and Vice. Only to return to his chambers, scrub himself raw, take a few bottles of brandy to bed, and attempt to drink himself to blessed oblivion. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes he stared at the ceiling for hours and wondered if it might be easier to end it with a knife or rope rather than exist a day longer in this empty, angry, false half life.
"You are a truly pathetic oddity," Devil muttered, so ready for sleep even the solid oak under his backside tempted him to sprawl across it.
Several frantic, heavy knocks on the door ended that fantasy.
"Devil!" yelled a muffled female voice. "Devil, come quick!"
Frowning at the urgency, and something suspiciously like excitement, in the maid's voice, he inched toward the door. Sleeping in his office was a bad idea anyway. Hell, last time he'd done it, six maids turned feral and took him hostage.
"Just a minute," he called back, ambling to the door, unlocking it, and peering around. "What is the matter?"
The maid bobbed a curtsy and beamed. "Oh, it's the best news. Lady Eliza is here for Sin and Lady Carrington's wedding!"
Devil froze, staring uncomprehendingly. "What?"
"Your wife, sir," she repeated at a slower pace, as if he were hard of hearing rather than staggering from a sucker punch. "Lady Eliza has finally come home, trunks and all, and asked to see you at once. She's just refreshing herself in your chamber."
"All right," he said quickly. "I'll be there soon."
Excerpted from The Devil's Submission by Nicola Davidson, Kate Brauning. Copyright © 2017 Nicola Davidson. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed Grayson and Eliza's story! Grayson and Eliza have been estranged since shortly after their marriage because Eliza isn't aware of what he needs in the bedroom (if only he had spoken up...). They are reunited and Grayson finally decides to open up about what he likes, funny thing is that Eliza enjoys it too! It was enjoyable to watch these two find their way back to one another.
Naughty fun, scorching heat, reckless abandon, with a sprinkle of submission and delightful games. Erotic intoxication of historic proportions. Lord and Lady Devaraux both have desires unfulfilled and need that special hand to get them both going. Lady Deveruax (Eliza) loves her man and cannot understand where things went wrong for them. They love was more than just a convenient match. Or so she thought. Then life brings her back into close proximity of her wayward husband. Things begin to heat up and take on a new meaning all together. Not understanding much of the world around him. Lord Deveraux longed for that something that would give him the peace and pleasure with pain he so desired/craved/needed. Getting that chance with his wife and having all the walls come crashing down opened a door to something he never dreamed of. This one got on my top list basically because this time it was a man that craved that forbidden. It was a woman that wanted to give that ultimate pleasure. The give and take of the two together made their reunion that much more intense, special, memorable. It may have been a short novella but it most certainly packed a deliciously decadent punch.
Short, and....well, not all that sweet. Parts are sweet-ish, but other parts are far removed from that...which is very, very good in this instance. ;) The Devil's Submission is a second chance romance. Grayson (AKA Devil) and Eliza met and married fairly quickly, but almost as quickly things fell apart and when this novella begins they're living separately. Miserably, and separately. Insert Eliza's self-absorbed witch of a mother (and, it turns out, about 90% of the reason why Eliza and Grayson aren't currently together) and suddenly Eliza's back in Grayson's life. Could be good, right? Except for the fact that the two of them aren't talking about why they're apart or what they really want from each other and for themselves... Normally the types of romantic conflict that can be resolved with a conversation or two drive me crazy. Here, though, it works pretty well. Grayson's issues are ones that many guys today would have trouble talking about and admitting to, let alone two centuries ago, and it makes sense that Eliza wouldn't even know such things exist without some outside education. What we end up with is a second chance romance story with just the right amounts of angst, longing, lust, and smexy times with two characters who manage to both figure out who they are and what they need and discover that their lives are infinitely better together. As Grayson puts it at the end, That was all you needed really. The love of the right person, good friends, a place of your own, and acceptance of your true self. Well, that and a very sturdy cane. My first book in this series, but not my last! The Devil's Submission worked fine as a standalone, but I absolutely want to see how Sin and Vice's stories go as well. Rating: 4 stars / A- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
the devil's submission is the second novella in the fallen series by nicola davidson, and picks up the story of grayson "devil" deveraux and his estranged wife, eliza. they had a whirlwind romance, and devil thought that he had finally found a woman who could satisfy his unique needs. when they first meet, eliza can't stop herself from seizing control during their sexual encounters. devil has a submissive streak, but he's also deeply ashamed of this, having been constantly humiliated and degraded for his preferences. but eliza comes from a very proper english family. her parents run a finishing school that promises perfect brides and excellent marriages. and her mother keeps telling her that she needs to be a good english wife. so she starts holding back her need to control things. and the more meekly she behaves the more devil pulls back, and he believes`that he's made a terrible mistake. that he has fallen in love with a woman who cannot satisfy the deepest, darkest needs of his soul. but this is a novella, and luckily the misunderstandings don't last too long. first eliza figures out that grayson is turned on by her domineering side, and eventually he confesses that he needs pain in order to reach total fulfillment. the fallen club provides a haven for all sorts of sexual interests and eliza is able to learn from charlotte, the dominatrix they keep on staff. the whole story still reads as historically improbable, but the characters are engaging and the sexy bits are good, so for a quick, fun, steamy read, the devil's submission is a good pick. **the devil's submission will publish on february 6, 2017. i received my advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (scorched) in exchange for my honest review.
'The Devil's Submission' by Nicola Davidson is the story of Lord Grayson ‘Devil’ Deveraux and Lady Eliza Deveraux. This is a Novella with about 85 pages and is book Two in the "Fallen' series. Devil and Eliza came into their marriage pretending to be something they were not but pretended to be something they were suppose to be per society. Eliza is a strong women who finds it hard to be a demure, quiet, and submissive. Devil who is a part owner in the Fallen pleasure club has a few secrets himself. Devil has things from his past but also he likes to be dominated. He hides this from his wife and Eliza has been hiding her true self from him. This caused their marriage after just a short time to become to much and they separated her going to the country and him staying. Now though Eliza finds that due to her parents she has to try to give her marriage another go when she agreed to attend a wedding where he will be at. This book did deal with some hot issue but also some hidden sad issue that had been causing some of their issues. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
This is a fast paced steamy historical read. I loved the characters and the drama. The chemistry between Dev and Eliza is off the charts hot. I loved it! Looking forward to more.
Interesting and quick read, I quite liked this book. Lord Grayson and Lady Eliza have been living apart from each other because they couldn't make their marriage work. Both are too scared to let their true selves shown, they're living a lie. They love each other but unless they decide to be honest about their own feeling and shortcomings they will never be able to live happily. So when Eliza's mother pushes her to go back to London, she has a perfect opportunity to fight for her husband. Or she can run again..... it's up to her to either make her marriage or be miserable for rest of her life. Lord Grayson aka Devil has been disappointed in his wife. When he proposed he had a very different expectations from what their lives turned out be. May be it's too late, or may be there is still a chance that Eliza will meet his expectations of her. She wasn't like the way she is now. She was different during their courtship. But which one is real Eliza and how can he help her to embarrass her true self and make them both happy in the process... The story is well-written and I loved the characters. I recommend this book to all historical romance lovers.
Final Score - 5 Devil-ish Stars!!! Mr. Submissive? Usually, I read about the woman being a submissive, not the man. I have to say - this was a refreshing outlook! And I was all for it *thumbs up* I loved the dynamic of Eliza & Devil's relationship. It was believable and somehow complimented their personalities. Devil & Eliza burned up every page they were on. My lawt ... I needed to read this under air conditioning conditions - my heat level was burning me up from the inside out. This was a quick but thoroughly enjoyable weekend read. I can't wait for our brawny Scotsman to get his due!
The Devil's Submission by Nicola Davidson is an absolute treat-of-a-read...delish! Fast and fun, hella sexy and erotic, Davidson brought it all to the table with her return novella to the Fallen Series. Such a well-done historical that gives us the best of everything with her well-defined world, captivating characters and a more than plausible storyline. Can I get an Amen up in here! Nicely done Ms. Davidson. Please note that an ARC was generously provided in exchange for an honest review of which this is both honest and completely voluntary.
The Devil's Submission is the second erotic romance novella by Nicola Davidson that is set with the pleasure club Fallen as its background. The first story, Surrender to Sin, was an excellent introduction to the characters and club, and this one takes us on an equally steamy ride as an estranged married couple finds their way back to each other. Grayson 'Devil' Devereaux is weary of pretending that being a dominant male is his calling, though he still plays at it in the Fallen Club when required, part of his job as a co-owner. In truth, he'd like nothing more than to be at the feet of his wife, a woman who shows signs of dominant tendencies when they first married, but then became more and more like a simpering society woman, to the point where he suggested she move to their country estate and she obliged. Lady Eliza is heartbroken when her husband, a man she truly loves, becomes more and more withdrawn, even as she tries harder and harder to be the perfect lady wife. The passion that existed in their courtship when her more bossy tendencies came out is dormant. When she receives an invitation from Dev's best friend Sin to Sin and Grace's wedding, she believes her husband won't want her there. But her parents run a finishing school that is in deep debt, and her mother forces Eliza's hand, asking her to return to her wealthy husband to get the money. Reluctantly Eliza agrees. But when faced in the flesh with the man she adores, the intensity of her feelings makes her behave more like she did when they were courting – and Dev instantly responds. Can they recapture the relationship they once had, and get their happy ever after? If I have a guilty pleasure in erotic romances, it's ones with a Domme/sub theme, so this one is definitely right up my alley. Dev's penchant for pain with his pleasure resulted in horrible family turmoil that caused him to be kicked out his home, leading eventually to where he is now as co-owner of Fallen. But the shame of his feelings is still strong and he's never admitted them to anyone, even in the privacy and security of a club that caters to all manner of sexual desires. Because of this, he was never fully open with Eliza about his wants, and is responsible for the damage done to his marriage. Given this chance to make things right, his response to her more dominant nature (that she just can't hide all the time) puts them on the right path. Eliza is quick to realize that being herself makes things between her and Dev so much better. There is the requisite conflict, a few secrets and some bumps in the road, but their happy ending is deeply satisfying. One must take the historical background with a grain of salt, as I doubt there were pleasure clubs that were always insistent on women's full consent before sex play – that's a nod to the sensibilities of current reading audience. Similarly, the idea that the club takes in disadvantaged women to help give them a more stable income is pretty fanciful. The nobility is fairly generic, as is the country versus city locales. But it's well written and entertaining regardless. The sex scenes are super hot, and involve both the couple in question as well as scenes in the club itself, definitely putting this in the erotic category. Overall, it's a very enjoyable romance. I'm definitely looking forward to more in this series!
Lady Eliza Deveraux has earned the scorn of her mother, Countess Brimley, when she left her husband after six months, Lord Grayson Devereaux, better known as Devil or Dev by his friends. Eliza has fought her nature all her life; she has never quite managed to be the demure, prim and proper a husband craves, she feels she has failed Dev as a wife; she knew she made him miserable, and she simply gave up trying. Eliza’s father has made bad investments, her mother made even worse decisions, and now the Countess is imploring Eliza to go to the wedding of Grayson’s friends, Grace and Sin, and to try to reconcile with her husband; Countess Brimley desperately needs a favour. It’s the last thing Eliza wants, but her family faces ruin, so off to London she is. Devil owns a pleasure club – Fallen – with his friends Sin and Vice (oh those nicknames!). Dev is a wealthy man, but shunned by society for his choice of trade. He is also miserable: he loves his wife, but his secret is destroying him. When it comes to erotic romance, I can take it or leave it. It all comes down to the subject matter and the writing; the fact that Dev is a submissive man had me grabbing that book in a matter of seconds, and Ms. Davidson handles her subject splendidly! Devil’s sexual preference is intrinsic to the story, this being realistic given that it was not something that was openly discussed in the Regency era, to say the least, especially as it is viewed as a weakness in men. Nicola Davidson’s prose is simply sublime! Eloquent and vivid, the era is depicted very faithfully, and the author breathes life into her characters in such a way that we know immediately who they are and what they are, whether the selfish Countess, Grayson’s friends, the tortured Devil himself, or the baffled Eliza, who struggles to remain true to herself while desperately trying to bend to society’s edicts and be a meek female. Eliza sparkles and shines when she is authentic; she is a flirtatious, graceful, enticing feline presence, and a very powerful woman who gives Dev what he desperately craves. Dev has a heartbreaking backstory, and my heart ached at how difficult it was for him to simply be. The chemistry between Dev and Eliza is explosive, and the sex scenes are amazing: tender, erotic, loving, and freeing. THE DEVIL’S SUBMISSION is one of those very rare books where I never felt like there was a space with “insert sex scene here”; it was all very organic, and seamless. And bear in mind that this is an erotic romance, BDSM to boot, and a novella that was meatier than most full-length novels. Ms. Davidson has an eye for detail and the talent to describe everything succinctly and clearly. The dialogues are splendid: natural and witty, playful and sexy, the author’s vocabulary is irreproachable, and the overall writing is gorgeousness itself. THE DEVIL’S SUBMISSION is wonderfully entertaining, the story is very emotional, there is a plot twist that brought tears to my eyes, and the love is very real between Eliza and Grayson. This book is an ode to empowerment, honesty, and true love. I hope this series has at least two more books; while Vice’s story will most likely be next – and it will be glorious! – I would love to see Peter’s story as well; he is quite an intriguing character. THE DEVIL’S SUBMISSION is a wickedly delightful, and most excellent erotic romance! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.