He lived in a nightmare. His son brought him daylight. Can this woman be his breaking dawn?
Gabriel Black didn’t give a damn about the world. Until, that is, his seven-year-old son enters his life for the first time. The young boy brings daylight into the darkness of Gabriel’s world. But a single parent needs a distraction. And this single parent has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants…
She’s built a new life for herself on the ruins of the old, but this man can destroy everything she’s worked so hard to gain…
Grace McGuire lives with a dark secret–one that, if revealed, will destroy her new life. Then her world collides with that of forceful Gabriel Black, a multi-millionaire with a secret of his own, a secret Grace is determined to uncover for her sanity and all she holds dear
I haven’t read a contemporary for ages, and I don’t usually go for erotic contemporary, after reading books such as Fifty shades of Grey and The House of decadence, they did put me off this genre and I do tend to keep away from them. But, as I have said before I am willing to give most books a shot so I read this one with open eyes and I was pleasantly surprised by The Secrets of Arnford Hall.
Gabriel Black is a powerful, multi-billionaire, CEO of his family run company Black Enterprises, Black Construction and Black Holding Ltd. He is a cold, manipulative and controlling man who lives in a world of darkness and sin. He uses and abuses the people around him to get what he want’s, he has an over zealous thirst for sex and he’s not too bothered about who he sleeps with – or for that matter how. Gabriel lives by one rule; It’s Gabriel’s Black’s way, or no way; and expects those around him to obay by that rule too. Outward appearances he is a powerful man who has everything and anything he want’s, does what he want’s, privately though Gabriel feels dead inside, he has too many dark secrets to protect.
Al that changes when Gabriel gets word that his ex has suddenly died and he has got soul custody of a son that he has never even met, he doesn’t know how to be a father, he doesn’t even know if he is capable of the kindness and love that is expected of him for raising a young, grieving boy. To make his life even more complicated along comes beautiful and equally secretive primary school teacher Grace McGuire, Gabriel is instantly drawn to Grace, he has seen something he wants and being Gabriel Black he will do anything in his power to get it, even if that means blackmail and manipulation.
Once Gabriel has blackmailed Grace into making a deal with the devil, he unwilling starts to care for vulnerable Grace, he is amazed at how strong-willed she is even when he is treating her abysmally, forcing her to participate in his dark sex fantasies and sinful games, he is in awe of her.
At first I thought Gabriel was a proper villain, he had all the traits of an overbearing, egotistical brute who thinks of nothing but himself and his own pleasures, but I will admit that as the story went along you start seeing more of a different side to the powerful CEO. His cold mask starts to drop and you get to see the scarred and tortured man beneath and it is that man who I was drawn to. Not the billionaire but the man. The man beneath the Armani suit is intelligent, vulnerable and protective, once he starts to show his kind side he really is quite charming it’s just a shame that you don’t get to see that side too often.
I don’t like how he treats Grace especially when they first meet, how he manipulates and blackmails her into their little deadly game. It is borderline abusive especially with his sex games, that didn’t sit well with me and it is quite uncomfortable reading. But he does start to treat her better as their complicated relationship grows into something sweet and tender, the more real and warm Gabriel becomes.
The amount of the erotic sex scenes is enough to make any one blush, and for me there was a little too much of it, and it does take something away from the story which is a shame because the story line is very charming. Gabriel learning how to be a father and bonding with his son; John is lovely, then we have his estranged brother and sister Elloise and Julian who have both got their flaws and each have their own secrets, watching the three siblings reunite is yet another branch of this sweet story.
In all I am in two minds about The Secrets at Arnford Hall, on one hand there is a genuine family/relationships orientated theme and that is the side of the story that had me hooked but the amount of abusive eroticism made me uneasy and that is what lets this well crafted story down. Because over all it is a well thought out, well crafted and very intelligently written book.
I would recommend this, it will attract all those who like the Fifty Shades genre and any one that likes Christian Grey will adore Gabriel Black.
The Secrets at Arnford Hall is released on 4th February, This was an ARC version from the author in exchange for an honest review.