Beauty and the Rake (The Rookery Rogues Book 3) Erica Monroe
What do you do when all you've left to bargain with is your body? When that is all that stands between your father and prison and your younger sister and the streets? Abigail Vautille's father is an inveterate gambler who has gambled away any savings she has and now has lost money he doesn't have in a seedy gambling den. Michael Strickland holds his gambling chits and there is only one way Abigail can see to pay him.
Inspector Michael Strickland of the Metropolitan Police and Abigail Vautille both appeared in Secrets in Scarlet. Abigail was tortured by the dangerous rookery Lark's Gang enforcer, Frank Clowes and left with a badly scarred hand. So bad that she wears a glove day and night to hide her disfigurement.
Abigail determines that her only way forward is as Michael's courtesan for two weeks. An agreement is entered into.
Michael sees the attractive woman he knew from before and reasons that as a denizen of the Rookeries her virtue is gone. He has always admired her and felt guilty about her fate. Now fate has thrown Abigail across his pathway and he will take that advantage.
In her afterward Munroe discusses, amongst other matters, her liking of the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, and that love is about acceptance. 'Both Belle and Beast are affected by their new found relationship. Beast is no longer trapped in his past pain, and Beauty has found someone who thinks she is incredible just the way she is.'
She postulates that Beauty and Beast co-exist within us--a dichotomy where here, Michael and Abigail harbour both. Munroe continues 'It is our flaws that make us beautiful, as much as our strengths.'
No one ever said that the Rookery series is kind and gentle. The situations are raw and untrammelled and fitting the place in which they are born. Yet out of the darkness does flow love and trust.
A novel of depth and compassion!
A NetGalley ARC