I found the previous two MacCarrick books good, as in 4* good and not nearly in the same class as her other fantasy romance books such as A Hunger Like No Other, etc. I picked up If you Deceive more out of loyalty than real interest in the MacCarrick boys. Well, what a smart move on my part - Ethan boy, our hero, is the the kind of callous, heartbreaking stud that you fantasise about in your for one-night only, lusty dreams. Unlikeable, extremely dangerous, cutting and quite scary, he really shouldn't make you want to marry him and make love to him for the rest of your life. But, Kresley Cole, has been masterful in her writing this time and you can't help but adore plucky and winsome heroine, Madeline, and her quest to find happiness with the arrogant, sexual, coarsely-direct Ethan.
Ethan is such a sexual animal, so chillingly direct in his intentions and machinations and watching his coldness thaw is not a dissolution of the character but a hotly romantic journey.
Madeline has lived two lives, one of wealth and security, the other of abject poverty and deprivation. She is full of pride, hard-working and dreams of a better life. She makes the most of her lot with spirit, kindness, intelligence and daring. Hence, she is more than able to take on Ethan, the sanctioned killer for the government.
Women had always thrown themselves at Ethan, and he was callous and uncaring in his treatment of them, which oddly only seemed to make him more desirable to them. One event led to him being horrendously scarred. His revenge was merciless, and Madeline, unknowingly, was one of the victims.
10 years after being scarred and living in an unsatisfactory sexual state, the weary and jaded Ethan finds himself coming to life upon seeing Madeline, not knowing who she was. While he seeks to use her to bring himself back to his previous self, he must also help his brother protect an innocent from being killed by a murderous madman. Madeline tries to protect her heart while Ethan schemes to use her, tempting her with wealth and security. Their time together soon has Ethan worrying about past matters and his own awareness of his emerging feelings and Madeline finds reason after reason to withold her trust.
Excellent book: darkly erotic hero, beautiful and courageous heroine, and a cleverly crafted journey together that is sensual and emotional.