By Kristen Callihan
4 of 5 STARS
Once the flames are ignited . . .
Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.
They will burn for eternity . . .
Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.
Wow. That was an amazing book with a very unique premise! But why only 4 stars? I hardly ever give 5 stars to a first in a series though I really am torn on this one. We meet Miranda and Archer briefly 3 years before this book takes place. From the get go Archer is cloaked in mystery and shadows while Miri is fiery in spirit. Fast forward 3 years and the mystery and intrigue continue.
Miranda, the youngest of 3, is the only one still living at home with her father and his questionable business ethics. Soon Miranda is whisked away, by arrangement, to marry Lord Archer.
“What is beauty or ugliness but a false front that prompts man to make assumptions rather than delving deeper. Look at you.” His hand gestured toward her face. “Not a flaw or distortion of line to mar that perfect beauty. I have seen your face before, miss. Michelangelo sculpted it from cold marble three hundred years ago, his divine hand creating what men would adore.” He took a step closer. “Tell me, Miss Ellis, do you not use that beauty as a shield, keeping the world at bay so that no one will know your true nature?”
Archer is quite the character; a masked man of few words but so eloquent when he speaks. Miranda has her hands full of his evasive nature but she's no shrinking violet.
“Wish to fatten me up, do you?”
“Mmm.” Gray eyes skimmed over her form. “How does the fairy tale go?” He rested an elbow on his chair arm. “Ah yes, I have lured you into my luscious house of candy and gingerbread to tempt you with sugared delights. And when you are nice and plump, I shall gobble you up.”I immediately fell in love with the interaction between these two but it's not all fun and games. Mysterious murders keep happening to known associates of Archer and soon we are taken on a journey from Museums to high society events to the darkest streets of London.
This book really has it all: A great romance, hot Hot HOT scenes that had me fanning myself. No seriously though, the chemistry between these two is intense. A great mystery to solve, bad villains, side characters that you just aren't too sure what side they are on and a great ending. I may have had guesses how this could play out but I really didn't see it coming.
I love how we really don't know about Archer, his "condition" and what is behind the mask til near the end. It made him all the more mysterious and sexy, as if his words weren't enough.
“And I’m afraid of wasting my life always being in control,” he whispered. “But no matter what direction I take, all roads lead to you.” Gently, he rested his forehead to hers once more. “Let me come home, Miri. If only for one night.”
Though I am sad that Miri and Archer's story has come to an end, I am excited for Moonglow, book 2 in the Darkest London series, coming out on August 1st.