In the second novel in Joanna Shupe’s the Uptown Girl series, a ruthless casino owner bent on revenge finds his plans upended by a beautiful woman who proves to be more determined than he is—and too irresistible to deny.
Powerful casino owner.
Destroyer of men.
He lives in the shadows…
As the owner of the city’s most exclusive casino, Clayton Madden holds the fortunes of prominent families in the palms of his hands every night. There is one particular family he burns to ruin, however, one that has escaped his grasp… until now.
She is society’s darling…
Florence Greene is no one’s fool. She knows Clayton Madden is using her to ruin her prestigious family… and she’s using him right back. She plans to learn all she can from the mysterious casino owner—then open a casino of her own just for women.
With revenge on his mind, Clay agrees to mentor Florence. However, she soon proves more adept—and more alluring—than Clay bargained for. When his plans are threatened, Clay must decide if he is willing to gamble his empire on love.
The world of the Greene sisters fascinates me. They’re modern women in an historical world. They are rich debutantes who eschew all that comes with belonging with the elites. When it comes to avoiding the pomp of being rich, not wanting to have anything to do with being proper, Florence takes the cake.
While she doesn’t always go about things the right way, Florence is very passionate about supporting women to be independent and strong. She makes no apologies for her sexual curiousity and the fact that she is not chaste as ladies of her stations are expected to be. This leads to intense heat between Florence and Clayton and some very hot encounters before these two even really touch one another. But let me tell you, once these two come together, the after scene is written so perfectly. For anyone reading this who maybe doesn’t have a lot of experience, the author does a beautiful job in keeping things real and entertaining while also laying out the realities of sex and the differences in intimate partners.
From the beginning of the deal Clayton strikes with Florence, he is very supportive of her exerting her independence. He is, by nature, take charge and domineering type of person, but he respects her drive and how she doesn’t give up no matter the adversity she faces. Unfortunately, his own stubborn drive makes it difficult for Clayton to take his blinders off. He has always had the goal of taking Florence’s father down at the knees, to hurt him the way he was hurt by past decisions. He feels as though Florence’s father has wronged him and his family and he needs to pay for those sins. Even while Clayton gets closer and closer to Florence, he cannot see beyond that goal.
Watching Florence and Clayton wade through their issues, sometimes together and sometimes apart, is interesting and even fun. I love the people who Clayton surrounds himself with, his trusted inner circle. They aren’t afraid to call him on his crap when it needs to be done. But mostly, they see that Clayton and Florence have the chemistry and respect for each other that is needed to make a relationship work. Even while they both keep telling themselves they would rather be single.
This story runs concurrently with the oldest Greene sister’s story, The Rogue of Fifth Avenue. You don’t have to read that one to understand the workings of this book but it’s a lot of fun getting to know these sisters so you really should read them all.