ARC Review: The Devil Wears Black by L.J. Shen. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Devil Wears Black by L.J. Shen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From USA Today bestselling author L. J. Shen comes a second-chance romance about love, loss, finding yourself, and getting lost in the right person.

Maddie Goldbloom stitched up a plan to ensure everything in her life was perfect—from a career in fashion to a chic NYC apartment to a pediatrician boyfriend.

When her ex, Chase Black, storms back into her life with an outrageous request, her immediate reaction is to refuse him. But he only wants to fulfill his father’s last wish. So even though he’s the man who broke her heart, playing his fiancée shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means she gets to watch the arrogant devil squirm a bit.

What ensues is a chain of events that detonates Maddie’s life—and when Chase’s walls come down, they both are forced to face reality.

They say keep your enemies close. But what if your enemy is also the man you love?

The Devil Wears Black

Great characters that you root for!

The following ratings are out of 5:
Romance: 💚💙💜🖤❤️
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📘📗📕📙📘
World building: 🌏🌏🌍🌏🌍
Character development: ☺️🤓🥸😎🥳

The Hero(s): Chase Black – Billionaire owner of Black & Co. and playboy extraordinaire. He and Madison were an item and broke up six months ago due to his cheating. Now he is back to ask a favor of her and he knows because of her giving nature she will comply with his wishes.

The heroine(s): Madison Goldbloom (a.k.a Martyr Maddie) – a wedding dress designer for Croquis, a company partnered with Black & Co. to sell their lines exclusively at the Black & Co. stores. Maddie was devastated when she found out that Chase had been cheating on her and didn’t want to even talk to him again.

The Love Story: Chase’s father Ronan has stage four Cancer and apparently Chase never told his family that he and Maddie broke up. So when his entire family starts to slip into a depression after hearing of his Father’s Cancer, he tells them that he asked Maddie to marry him. She agrees to help him by going to the Black’s Hampton’s estate for the weekend for their “engagement” party.

I thought at first that Chase would be one of those guys who is using his fathers illness to get back the woman he lost but soon found out it wasn’t the case. Chase was truly a jerk who was having fun with Maddie and hadn’t realized they were a couple, but as soon as he found out, he did his best to extract himself from the situation and truly only is back with her to make his family happy.

Chase goes on about how she tricked him into a relationship while he wasn’t paying attention. He seems to blame Maddie a lot for what happened between them when they were seeing each other.

“I don’t know what we were thinking,”
I agreed solemnly. We weren’t dating. You were dating me without my knowledge. If I hadn’t woken up in time, we’d probably be married and pregnant by now.

Though it is certainly interesting to see how Chase goes from feeling like Maddie was pulling the wool over his eyes somehow to wanting her in his life again and realizing how it looked from her side. Though he still has a huge fear of commitment and never wants to get married.

Love = pain.
Pain = suffering.
Suffering = not today, Satan. Not today.

The book is funny in parts and the romance is a slow burn, unlike when they were together before. Chase has a filthy mind and a dirty mouth to go with it. He is always thinking of what he would like to do to Maddie and has no filter so much of the time he says exactly what is on his mind.

This was an enemies to lovers story, but it was quite different than some of L.J.’s previous books. No high school bullies in this one or vicious anti-Heroes either. But overall, I liked it. I enjoyed Chase and Maddie as characters and the supporting characters as well. There were a few mean characters in the book to add to the story so I got my quota of antagonistic derision as well.

I couldn’t decide how to rate this one overall, because it definitely wasn’t as steamy as I would like, despite Chase’s filthy mouth and dirty thoughts and I am more into the darker romances at this point in my reading life. However, for the type of book (Fake engagement/enemies-to-lovers/second chance romance), it met all my criteria. L.J. Shen is really good at making you root for all the characters in a story not just the two main characters. The story, world building and character development makes up for the lack of darkness and lower number of erotic encounters in my mind.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


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