Devil in my Bed by Celeste Bradley
Aidan de Quincy had fallen in madly in love with Madeleine Chandler and was crushed when his marriage proposal was brutally rejected. He swore never to see her again but when a three-year old girl shows up outside his club claiming one of the members is her father Aidan has to find Madeleine in order to discover if young Melody is his. Madeleine had turned Aidan down because of her very secretive past: she faked her death to escape an abusive and controlling husband and swore never to marry again. The child is not hers but when Aidan comes calling she is desperate to escape her husband's crony and she claims the child is hers. The ruse continues when she moves into Aidan's club and shares a room with both him and Melody. It is not long before the sparks begin to fly between Aidan and Madeleine the two quickly resume where they left out. Aidan is wary of trusting her again but he is smitten by this new "family" of his and can't help but begin planning for their future together.
Realizing that things are quickly spiraling out of control and that the secrets will just continue to pile up between them Madeleine knows it's time to tell Aidan the truth and things do not go well. Aidan is crushed that she is not free to marry him and seems to completely miss the whole abusive husband aspect of her story and kicks her out. Once outside she is quickly kidnapped by her husband who holds her hostage in the attic of the club. He is quite the crazy and gets off on the idea of watching (through a peep hold) as she starves to death. When Aidan and his friend Colin realize that something is not right with Madeleine's disappearance all the club members and staff pitch in to find her and bring the bad guy to justice. What ensues is confusing and chaotic and I can't really figure out what happened, but to no one's surprise everything turns out fine, even if it would have turned out fine quite a bit earlier if Madeleine had not HAD to open her mouth and play the noble heroine.
Why can't anyone in a romance novel just take the easy route? Why couldn't Madeleine, when everything seemed as though it was going to be settled and end perfectly for everyone, have to go and open her mouth? I just don't understand why it was necessary for her to explain everything to everyone. She needed to explain it to Aidan, and us of course, but she had to have known that the constable would be within his rights to throw her in jail for her role in the whole fiasco. Why did she have to be "noble" and tell the truth? Was it really noble for her to risk getting her ass thrown in the slammer and in the process abandon Aidan and Melody? No. Stupid, stupid, stupid. As I mentioned earlier the whole rescue plot was very confusing and I couldn't figure out what window which person was hanging out of and who was aiming a gun at who, who was kidnapped by whom and why. And it was quite amazingly far-fetched with guns, kidnaps, window ledges, suicides/ murders, literally everything crammed into one book.
The whole thing also could have been over quicker if Madeleine had told Aidan the truth earlier, say when they first met, or if Aidan had not been such an ass when she was trying to tell him that she'd had an abusive husband. What kind of person throws a woman out of his life as she's telling him about a husband who used to beat her? So I was disinclined to feel that bad that she'd lied to him. The kidnap/ crazy husband plot took the greater part of the second half of the book and got a tad overwhelming as it was confusing (have I mentioned that?) and in a 320 page book was quite the page taker. I was interesting to say the least, but I would have liked more romantic development between Aidan and Madeleine. Melody was a very well written 3 year old, if a tad bit more eloquent than many of my acquaintance. Normally I wouldn't complain about book length, but in a 326 page book with large-ish type, it just seemed like there was not really all that much of a book- maybe because the characters didn't really go through the meeting each other part.
Rating: A semi- enjoyable-ish book, but, despite the short length and the fast pace, I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters or the kidnap plot.