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Review: The Rake by LJ Shen

Emmabelle Penrose has cruised through life never needing a man, a plan that has worked stunningly well until about five minutes ago, when she decided she must have a baby.

Devon Whitehall is 6’2” of premium DNA, financial security, and British royal titles. Best of all, he fears the one thing she dreads the most: getting hitched.

Emmabelle figures it’s a no-brainer when Devon offers his services—sperm and involvement in her future child’s life.

What begins as an innocent, modern-family arrangement, quickly erodes into a web of lies, dark pasts, and unfurled secrets.

Inside this chaos, Emmabelle and Devon are forced to face the awful truth—they are capable of love.


I’ve been waiting impatiently for Belle and Devon’s story but the fact that it’s finally here is bittersweet. This is one of my favorite series so I’m sad to see the end. That said, I absolutely loved everything about it. Emmabelle was an enigma throughout the series because we knew so little about her. She’s brash and confident and sexy, but still a mystery. Until now.

The women of Boston Belles are all phenomenal, rivaling Sparrow for my favorite of Shen’s ladies. They’re all tough and amazing in their own ways and though it’s hard to choose a favorite, Belle is the most badass of them all. Her past is nothing like I expected but Belle is truly a force to be reckoned with in every way. I was expecting an angsty but ultimately lighthearted story of two sexy singles determined to never settle down and fighting against their growing feelings every step of the way. But their story is so much more than that.

Devon and Belle were both formed by cruelty and tragedy but despite their suffering, they’ve become strong and successful, not letting the past hold them back. They’re both dead-set on being impenetrable fortresses, determined to never let anyone in but they ultimately realize that walking away from one another is more pain than they can handle. Devon’s manipulative parents and Belle’s past decisions haunt them every minute of their lives so it’s not as simple as choosing love. There are other factors at play coloring their decisions and shading their choices.

Their story has everything from unrequited love to scary bad guys but these characters shine through it all. I loved everything about these two and now that the series is complete, I can’t wait to read it again.

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