Review by Charlayne Denney
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
The two books, Bargain with Lucifer and Brother Devil, are the stories of the Devereaux family from the Louisiana plantation of San Souci, just outside of New Orleans. Both books feature the brothers, Lucifer “Luc” Devereaux, his younger (and some say more angelic) brother, Michiel, their gran’-pere, Jean-Luc, and Michel’s wife, Clarice Duncan Devereaux, who used to be Luc’s girlfriend.
The story also features Julie Richmond, who begins the first book in Dallas as a widow with a young four year old daughter, Merry. She is struggling to make it after the death of her husband. Luc is in a bind, looking for a ready-made family. He has to be married and settled down by the time he turns thirty, rapidly coming up in November. He has told his Gran’pere that he is already married and has a child, and is already settled down. Now the old man is ill and wants to meet his grandson’s family.
Luc meets Julie and Merry in a 7-11 where Julie is trying to talk the manager into giving them credit for groceries because they are broke. Merry talks Luc into getting her a donut. Julie gets angry at Luc for giving the child something without asking, and Luc sees his way out of the problem he is in. He confides in Julie that he has a solution for her problems. She thinks he expects a prostitute. But when he finally gets her attention, which is hard to do, she ends up marrying him, just until after he gets his inheritance. Then he will divorce her and give her a sizeable settlement which will allow her and Merry to live comfortably.
Of course, we all know this set up is just begging to make trouble and Toni V. Sweeney, writing as Icy Snow Blackstone, does not disappoint. With Clarice scheming from the beginning to take Luc back as a lover (no matter that she’s married to his brother and Luc is married now), and Michel and Luc re-kindling their sibling rivalry that threatens to hasten their Gran’-pere’s death with the arguments and fights, and the fact that both Luc and Julie are trying not to fall in love, but are doing so despite their best efforts. Bargain with Lucifer is like a wonderful layer cake of storylines, all chocolate and gooey. It’s not often that I will savor a book, go back and re-read a section, and start telling my husband “You will not BELIEVE what this character is doing, let me read it to you.” But the antics in this book had me doing just that. I don’t want to go into more details about the things in the book, but to tell you that it is well worth picking up and reading it.
But don’t pick it up without getting the second book, Brother Devil. It picks up right after the end of Bargain With Lucifer, and it centers around Luc’s brother, Michel. Something happens at the end of the first book that spins the family out of control, something I’m letting you find out about on your own. Luc goes back to Dallas to take care of his business and go into psychological counseling to try to exorcise his past demons and become someone Julie can love. Michel, in contrast, tries to become his older brother in his youth. Lies, arguments, and old histories come back to San Souci to threaten the Devereaux family even further. Julie, left behind by Luc, is managing the house and family and trying to keep things under control and watching Michel spin out of control. Their fights and arguments wear on the family and staff.
Brother Devil did not disappoint. There were times when I wanted to call Luc up and yell at him and times I wanted to smack Michel into having some sense. Those urges are ones that say that the book I’m reading is so good, it’s sucked me into it. And these books both did it. I have them on my “to be read again” list because I am certain there is something else in it I’ve missed, it’s that rich.
I give each five stars, a total ten and if I could give it more, I would. Go give these books a read, you won’t regret it!