Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: January 31st, 2012
Pages: 372 (Paperback)
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Romance | Mystery
Series: Darkest London #1
Read: from September 8 to 21, 2012
Source & Shelf: Purchase | Own
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.
This debut by Kristen Callihan was simply amazing. I bought it because of the ridiculousness of its price on Bookdepository and, of course, the lovely cover and very interesting plot.
What I wasn’t expecting at all was the frustration I had while reading. And when I say frustration, I mean it in a good way. I found myself clenching this book so hard with the thrill of it.
This story has a bit of all; romance, urban fantasy, history, horror, mystery… and a bit of Beauty and the Beast to it. It even has some extremely sensual moments to it. What more can I ask?
It all begins with a forced marriage. Miranda Ellis is forced to marry a dark and mysterious Lord Archer whom she is rather scared of but at the same time feels some sort of connection. Archer is a very wealthy man, known in the English society and wears a mask hiding his true identity. For Miranda, despite her imminent fright of being married to a person she doesn’t know, the mask is a barrier to know the true man inside and the longing to know him better canalises her feelings. She falls in love with him even before he takes his mask and presents her with his true self. However, the longing goes way deeper and she finds herself craving for him in a more intimately way.
The entire romance was simply delicious. Their sexual tension, their development as a couple who barely knew each other to two people who can’t live without each other made me grin like a stupid. They were just hot together… extremely hot.
There’s a series of murders happening in which Archer is a suspect. Miranda takes his side in whatever his going through and the killer turned out to be exactly who I had expected. I never, for even one second, thought Archer was the true killer despite his obvious temper. And then, after finding out the truth, Miranda decision to kill the murderer and save her husband was a pure joy. How she changed from a person who was constantly scared of her power to embrace it to be with the person she loves.
Oh my… I kept saying that whenever a chapter ended. I just couldn’t get enough of Archer and Miranda and finding out what he was and how he turned like that. I admit not being entirely expecting his curse to be something so beautiful, despite the killer instincts within him. Part statue part human, in my mind’s eye he was absolutely gorgeous.
I loved the fact that Miranda kept chasing Archer and he sometimes had his weak moments. His love for Miranda made him human, a contrast with his other self, and the fact that he kept denying to make love with her because he was afraid of losing her was what had me frustrated… and again, I repeat, a good frustration. When they finally open up to each other, no more secrets and hiding behind a mask did I managed to loosen by grip on the book and relax.
There was a particular scene which had me looking everywhere but the book ‘cause it sounded too awkward and weird; the first kiss with no lips but only tongues! Yap, their lips don’t touch but they trade caresses with their tongue… French Kiss?! It sounds a lot like it. But it was weird to read it despite the immediate action scene later filled with an extremely sensual moment on a dark alley.
The pace was balanced with the discovery of their background stories and the action that hunted the killer. We slowly find out things as the story flows instead of being bombed in the beginning with information.
A series to follow definitely… I recommend it to you if you like mystery, fantasy, Victorian London, sexual tension and romance.