I loved seeing this antihero get his redemption! This hooked me in from the very beginning and kept me devouring it for hours. Anyone who has read the first two books in the series (not required, but STRONGLY recommended) knows just what they’re in store for with a book centered around Pascal. To say that my feelings for him are complicated would be an understatement, but Karina Halle did an excellent job making me fall for him throughout the course of the series. I saw hints of the good guy underneath the mask in Disarm, so I went into this with an open mind. And while I think there are a few small issues with the romance in this book, it’s a wholly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. This complicated family keeps the pages turning with an original romance that is anything but predictable.
The story follows Pascal, a cold, ruthless, semi-villain who has followed in his father’s footsteps his whole life. Being a part of the Dumont family has taught him to behave in a way that is the opposite of kind – he’s uncaring that his actions hurt others, and he’s quick to turn himself off to emotion in order to make it through the day. When the family maid’s daughter, Gabrielle, reenters his life, she makes an immediate impact on Pascal. He feels an instant connection to her, and can’t seem to understand why she makes him want to behave differently. As someone all too familiar with the damage the Dumont family can do to a person, Gabrielle understands that Pascal is the lesser of two evils – even if he does has some evil in his depths.
The writing is engrossing, seductive, suspenseful, and when paired with these complex characters, it makes for one enticing read. I loved the connection between Pascal and Gabrielle – they’re both a little broken, the chemistry jumps off the page, and she makes him a better man. Pascal doesn’t get a new personality overnight, instead making small changes that impact him along the way. The first half of the book is really, really great, though I do have a few issues with the second half. First, that the romance accelerates so quickly – we go from a scene with another woman to infatuation in a short period of time, which I take issue with. Secondly, the resolution of Gabrielle’s plan, which I cannot spoil but will say does contain a LOT of triggering content. This ties up the series perfectly, held my attention all the way through, and left me wanting more. I can’t give it anything but 5 stars because it accomplished the near-impossible feat of making me love Pascal and how this twisted family has evolved. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this steamy and suspenseful book.
From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a seductive novel of riches, romance, and redemption.
In the Dumont fashion empire, no heir has a reputation as decadent, arrogant, and ruthless as that of Pascal Dumont. Every transgression, an indecent pleasure. Every woman, a conquest. And none is more challenging than his new personal assistant, Gabrielle Caron. She’s defiant, alluring, and a mystery Pascal can’t wait to solve.
A former family servant and daughter of the head maid, Gabrielle’s returned as suddenly as she left eight years ago. No longer an awkward teen, the ethereal young beauty has amassed a wealth of resolve. She’ll need it. In hire to the devilishly charming scion, she’s come back for one reason only. And she dare not whisper why.
But as the nights grow more intimate at the Dumont maison, Gabrielle realizes that the last man she believed in is the one man she can trust with her secrets. For Pascal, falling in love means more than his own redemption. It could mean saving Gabrielle’s very life as they confront a dark and scandalous past…together.