In this dark twist on Victorian romance, a champion fighter must risk it all for forbidden love and freedom.
"People like us don't get happy endings."
In twelve years as a bangtail, Lady has never feared a man's kiss. Owned by the ruthless Hannibal Adams, the "Earl of the East End," she's draped in jewels and dead inside. Lady learns fear, however, when she kisses Mr. Adams's best fighter for luck—for King sees the real woman locked away behind finery and falsity.
King's life is made of fists and scars, the only things that have ever felt real to him. Even his name came from the man who owns him—the man who turned him into a champion. From the moment Lady's kiss sends him reeling, King resists wanting what he can't have. Mr. Adams never gives up what he owns.
When Lady is sent to nurse King through the tournament, she finds a new strength through the one man who's never treated her like a whore. King discovers that the woman who shares his dark world might also be the one to lead him out. And as the tournament comes to a violent finale, Lady and King must decide—stay spoiled and shackled, or break free and risk what happens when fear and dreams collide.
Cayne (Make Believe Lady) returns to Victorian London with this lukewarm tale of Lady and King, the mistress and main muscle of a thug mockingly called the Earl of the East End. Hannibal Adams only has the best, and he'd rather murder his employees than share or release them. Well aware of Adams's tyranny, Lady and King stifle their burgeoning feelings for each other until Adams enters King in a huge boxing tournament and orders Lady to kiss him for luck. But as their fledgling romance heats up, so do the stakes: Mr. Collins, an American businessman, presses Adams into extravagant bets on King's victory, and plots to make Lady his mistress, by force if necessary. As Adams's abuse escalates, Lady has to decide whether she wants a new master, a chance on love with King, or a life of freedom in a cottage on the Scottish coast. The story ends better than it starts, and readers will cheer as the villains get what's coming to them.