cover image Devil's Prize

Devil's Prize

Kat Martin. St. Martin's Press, $6.99 (388pp) ISBN 978-0-312-95478-9

Determined to match wits with Damien, the scandalous Earl of Falon, Alexa Garrick recklessly consents to meet him at the whist table. More than 90,000 in losses later, Alexa discovers that money isn't what Damien has in mind. Convinced that his brother Peter killed himself because Alexa had spurned the attentions of a ``penniless second son,'' Damien is determined to see that Alexa pays for his family's loss. The earl's suggestion that they meet privately to discuss her debt intrigues Alexa, as does the handsome earl himself. But when their meeting is observed and Alexa's reputation ruined, as he planned, Damien offers to marry her to protect her honor, deluding himself into thinking that a loveless marriage will be but another form of revenge. Martin's (Bold Angel) story is delightful and her character insights astute. Though Damien might easily have slipped into villainhood, the author rescues him with scenes that ring true-as when he visits Peter's grave with his mother. Martin also deftly manages the sometimes tricky task of injecting humor without compromising her characters or making them jokey. (June)