A five-million dollar Trust awaits Luc Deveraux on his thirtieth birthday. All he has to be is a settled family man by then. So he told a little lie and made up a wife and child and thought he'd found an easy way out. Now, however, his grandfather is ill and asking for his grandson to come home—with his family. A chance meeting with penniless widow Julie Richmond ends in a quick marriage, which will finish in an even quicker divorce when Luc gets his money. The only problem is Luc's falling in love with his pseudo-wife and her little daughter and wants to keep them in his life.
When Luc returns to his grandfather's Louisiana plantation, he doesn't expect Julie to be the catalyst, which will bring hidden hatred and desires into the open, and subject them all to danger. Waiting for them at San Souci is the younger brother with whom Luc's been feuding for eighteen years, and the one woman he's never been able to get out of his life—Clarice, a jilted ex-girlfriend who's determined to win him back, though she's now his brother's wife...she isn't going to let a little thing like a wife and child stop her from getting what she wants.
Reviewer: Dolce Amore
A desperate, insane act. In need of a wife and child fast because of the threat of disinheritance, Luc (Lucifer) Deveraux invents ones! In this contemporary novel, Luc's grandfather will disinherit him and he will lose the money his father left him in his will if he's found out. When he almost loses all hope, he finds Guiletta Richmond, aka Julie, and her daughter, Merry. It is a fabulous coincidence that her name and the daughter’s are the ones he invented for his wife and daughter! Happier still that she agrees to his bargain: be his wife and he will give her money enough to raise her daughter.
Julie needs money desperately. Her husband has died a short time ago and what little insurance money there was paid for her his funeral expenses. Shortly after that a shake-up where she worked lost her her job. In order to take care of her young daughter, she's been forced to sell her house, her car and her furniture. They're now destitute, living in an old brick apartment house and hungry and likely to remain so.
When Luc sees them, she is in a shop being told she can no longer buy things on credit. Luc offers the small child a donut and some milk while Julie is trying to bargain with the manager for groceries, pleading that she will pay him soon if he'll only provide them with some groceries now. But the manager will lose his job if he extends her more credit so he rejects her pleas. When she turns to look at her daughter, she sees her with the donut and milk Luc bought her and insists she pay Luc for them, with almost the last of her money.
Luc follows her home, discovering her apartment and knocks at her door, sure that the solution to both their problems is to marry, but because of a misunderstanding, Julie thinks he's talking sex and not marriage. She is alarmed by what he proffers and he leaves, giving her the name of his hotel and room number in case she changes her mind. She frets that she probably should have been flattered by his proposal but she feels she's not that desperate. Not yet. She decides to meet him the next morning leaving her daughter with her young black neighbor who is filled with advice about the liaison:
"Now, remember. You get that money in yo' han' while he's still got his pants on!" "An' if he starts anything weird—if he pulls out a set o' han'cuffs or wants you to whup him—anything—you jes' grab the money and beat it out o' there as fast as them li'l white legs of yours'll carry you!"She surprises him and agrees to having breakfast and then they go up to his room where he explains his proposed arrangement in detail there. Despite her misgivings, she accepts his proposal because it means security for her daughter and a roof over both their heads once more.
I love the description of how he sees her on their second meeting, when Luc follows her to her home with the intention of asking her to marry him in exchange for money:
So pale. She looked as if she'd never seen the sun but it wasn't the pallor of illness, rather the translucent fairness of a true blonde. Like his mother's skin had been. Peaches and cream, that's how Gran'pere had described it. Peaches and cream and sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what she is, he was sure of it, and why was he thinking such stupid and poetic things? Why didn't he just get on with it?
Moments later, he is trying to ask her to pose as his wife, but instead, he opens the mouth and says this:
"I've a problem, Mrs. Richmond." Still having no idea how to tell her, Luc said the first thing that came into his mind. "I need a woman and I think you're the one I've been looking for!"
I couldn’t stop laughing … this scene was so funny!
Another funny scene in Bargain With Lucifer is when Julie thinks Luc wants her just for sex, when he asks her to marry him. It is too much dialog to be added here, so I will recommend you read it. You will burst into laughter like I did, I’m sure.
In Louisiana, Julie finds Luc’s brother, Michel, and his sister-in-law, Clarice. She is a former lover of Luc's who didn’t want to admit that what was between them ended long time ago.
Julie starts to have feelings for Luc, experiencing sexual desire for the first time. Her former husband was studying to be a priest when he took up with Julie, blaming her for entrapping him in a marriage he didn't want.
"Your flesh tempted me. God, please forgive me! I loved a woman better than my Creator!"
He turned to drink feeling he betrayed God by leaving the church and marrying her. The night he died, his blood alcohol level was lethal. If the accident hadn't killed him, the cardiac arrest brought on by alcohol poisoning would have.
Now Julie blooms under Luc's attentions. They couple and she finds herself pregnant, which puts herself and her unborn baby at risk. Years ago when she had Merry, her blood and the baby's were incompatible but her husband wouldn’t allow her to take the Rho-Gam injection so she could bear another child. So now her body could potentially treat this baby like an infection if the fetus has a different type of blood.
When Julie started to bleed, the whole situation changes. Luc realizes that he is in love with her; however, with the problems she is having they can’t make love and one night, thinking Clarice is Julie, he sleeps with her. And she gets pregnant too!
I liked the story, although I prefer the first part to the second. However, it’s a good read for those who like a contemporary romance. I give it 4 stars.