TO TEMPT THE DEVIL (The Lord Hawkesbury’s Players #3) by CJ Archer-a review
TO TEMPT THE DEVIL by CJ Archer
TO TEMPT THE DEVIL is the third storyline (November 2012 release) in CJ Archer’s Lord Hawkesbury’s Players series. The Hawkesbury Players series focuses on the actors and player and, behind the scenes members of an acting company in Elizabethan England. Although this is the third novel in the series and many of the players were established in the first two storylines, it can be read as a standalone without too much difficulty.
Rafe Fletcher returns to his boyhood home after seven years away only to discover his younger half-brother James is facing a imprisonment for not paying his debts. Unable to secure a source of income, James leaves on his own accord but not before asking Rafe to look after the beautiful Lizzy Croft. Lizzy and James had an agreement, of sorts, to marry out of duty and love, but the love for each other was innocent and pure.
Rafe has always been attracted to Lizzy but knowing his brother was ‘betrothed’ to Lizzy made it more difficult-she was forbidden. But Rafe’s life has been hard. As a hired assassin he carries many secrets and one has caught up with him at home. To protect himself as well as his friends, Rafe must hunt down the man he once thought was dead.
Lizzy works as a seamstress with the Lord Hawkesbury’s Players, but her income and livelihood are threatened when a personal vendetta between the Troupe owner and sponsor hangs over the actors and their friends. The ensemble of actors is close, with each supporting the others. Lizzy takes it upon herself to face the man responsible for the possible demise of the company, but her heartfelt plea for understanding will find both she and Rafe on the run for a murder they did not commit.
Rafe and Lizzy’s attraction to one another is forbidden. Rafe knows that Lizzy is the only woman for him, but she has been promised to his brother James. But James and Lizzy’s relationship is anything but romantic. Lizzy is frightened by and drawn to Rafe who, must protect her from herself and the authorities. Lizzy witnessed a brutal beating seven years earlier and continues to replay the scene over and over. And it is this memory that keeps Lizzy from admitting her true feelings for Rafe. And she will discover that her relationship with James was a good excuse to keep Rafe from knocking down the door. But life on the run will find Lizzy and Rafe together, and their growing love for one another is heartbreaking and sad knowing that each has betrayed their love for James. I did, however, feel the relationship between Rafe and Lizzy wasn’t as sexual or romantic as it could have been. It felt forced and uneven-I wanted more!
TO TEMPT THE DEVIL is an engaging storyline. There are some humorous moments when Lizzy and Rafe must walk around in disguise and the interaction with the Lord Hawkesbury Players is interesting to read. I want to see Antony find a mate-that should be an interesting storyline especially during the Elizabethan time period. We meet a young Williams Shakespeare and his lover Kate-Kate can be very ‘shrewish’ at times. 😉 CJ Archer has written a wonderful story that will keep your attention.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy