ORDER A COPY: Temptation & Twilight (Brethren Guardians)
Publishing Date: June 19, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred – except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him except hatred.
All of society believes Elizabeth, blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary – filled with exotic tales – she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly allows Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.
Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.
The final chapter of the Brethren Guardian series, focuses on Iain Sinclair, the Marquis of Alynwick. The Brethren are decedents of the Templer Knights charged with hiding several religious treasures, including the Holy Grail.
Iain is an unrepentant womanizer and rake…or is he? Iain is about fight a duel for being caught in a compromising situation with the wife of Lord Larabie. Being caught in the compromising position was all part of the plan. He and his fellow Brethren believe Lady Larabie knows the villain, Orpheus, and will introduce Iain to the man who has been a danger to them, their families and the secrets they hide. But as possible death looms over his head, there is only one thought that fills him. He wants to see Elizabeth again and apologize for the wrongs he did to her a dozen years ago. He also wants her to know that she is always in his thoughts and if he survives the night, he wants to start anew with her. When he walks into the room and sees Elizabeth’s hand on the arm of the Earl of Sheldon, he looses his head and attacks him and drags Elizabeth out of the room. He then learns what he fears most, that Elizabeth has no desire to forgive him or to ever see him again.
Lady Elizabeth York might have lost her sight, but she has not lost her mind. It is one thing to be young and innocent and allow yourself to be seduced, used and tossed away by a cad like Iain Sinclair, but she is almost 30 and does not intend to be fooled again by his tempting touches and sensual murmurs. If only she can get her treacherous body to agree.
As the fight for Elizabeth’s affections begins, the hunt for Orpheus heats up. The real question will be does Orpheus fall into the hands of the Brethren or will the Brethren fall into the trap set by Orpheus.
I was unaware when I chose this book that it was the third of a series, but I had no trouble catching up with the happenings of the series. I was simply intrigued with the idea of a sightless heroine and how that would be addressed. With all the reading that I do, I am always amazed when a story can keep me in the dark until the final reveal. Every time I thought I had Orpheus nailed down…not him!! Who is lying? Who can be trusted? This story twists and turns so much, and admitted in the end, I was bug-eyed…screaming “What!!” I did not see that coming. Very well done!!!
Elizabeth was a remarkable heroine. Even though blind, she was headstrong and independent. Iain’s inner monologue was amazing in his feelings for Elizabeth and his true desire to make up for his past actions and how much he loved and admired her and how desperately he wanted a future with her.
Here’s the catch – Iain is not much of a sharer of his feelings, and every time Iain got near Elizabeth he turned into a drooling beast in heat. Don’t get me wrong, many of Iain’s attempts as seducing Elizabeth left me fanning myself to cool down, but story wise, Iain would have been better off declaring at the beginning that he intended to seduce her into an offer of marriage. Poor, blind Elizabeth was trying so hard not to be made a fool again and be used and tossed aside by a master scoundrel, she kept pushing him away and getting more angry. If only he started his seduction with the forewarning that he wanted a lifetime with her, things wouldn’t have been so frustrating for both Iain and the audience.
When they finally got to the point of discussing what had happened between them in the past and how it affected both their lives, it was heartbreaking, and when Iain finally confesses to Elizabeth and kissed her goodbye knowing that in finally confessing the truth, he would loose her forever, I was teary eyed.
With the exception of Iain’s dog in heat attempts at seduction, this a well written, captivating story.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of Harlequin Books. Thank you.
Elizabeth’s cheeks were pink, her pure skin glowing in the sunlight that streamed through the window. Her voluptuous curves were encased in a dark blue, form fitting coat edged in black bear fur, her delicate hands covered in black kid leather. In one hand she carried a book, the oxblood-coloured leather spine of which was cracked and peeling with age.
Atop her head she wore a jaunty little hat with blue and black roses, and a beguiling black veil that only added to the sensual mystique of Elizabeth York. Angel on the outside, succubus on the inside. Damn it, how the demon within him wanted her with a ruthless, dangerous need that completely consumed him.
Before he faced death on Grantham Field, Iain had been able to bury that need. To use the savage control and discipline his father had made him acquire to bury his feeling for Elizabeth where they could never be found, or disturb him. But something had changed that night. Like Pandora’s box, the long-ignored feelings had sprung free from their hiding place, bringing chaos and fury, and a sickness that clung to him. Every thought, every decision was made with a purpose to reunite him with Elizabeth. For the past few days he’d felt as though every breath he took as for her. Always her. Only her.
And now here she was, robbing him of breath and speech, and the brutal self-control that hid everything he was. Elizabeth had done this, taken a wild, snarling wolf and turned him into a damnable, drooling lapdog!
Before, the very idea of allowing himself to fall so easily, to be vulnerable to another human being, would have sent him lashing out, reeling against feeling anything. Surprisingly, he did not feel angered by the fact that Elizabeth had softened his hard edges, but rather he was grateful for it. It had been a long time since he’d allowed himself a modicum of truth in regards to his feelings, but in this, he had to be honest. He had never stopped caring about Lizzy and her well-being. Had never stopped desiring her. Had always loved her, knowing she held nothing inside for him but a seething hatred he all too well deserved.
Iain had always feared his love for her, feared examining his feelings about loving another—so fiercely, and not having the same feeling reciprocated. She could have no idea what it was like to lie in bed at night and ache for another, to love only the one other on earth and know that person did not feel anything in return but contempt. Did she know how lonely he was? Could she imagine his guilt, regret, the hatred he held for himself and his actions twelve years ago? Could she fathom that he, the Mad Marquis, the Aberrant Alynwick, could harbour such deep sentiment, a love that would cross oceans of time, even lifetimes? A love that would never die?
Would she believe him if he told her all this? If he exposed his feelings to her, and in doing so, exposed himself to her ridicule and rejection?
How did one take such hatred and turn it into love? As she stood before him, he pondered that, questioning how he could take something dark and forbidding and make it pure and desirable. He’d give away his fortune, his title, all his earthly possession for one chance to make Elizabeth see it—his worth. His love.
He didn’t know how to pray. He was not a man of religion and faith, despite his vocation as a Brethren Guardian, but he swallowed hard, closed his eyes and silently pleaded Please, give me one more chance to earn her forgiveness. Let me love her well, like I should have all those years ago. One more chance at redemption, and I shall do whatever You ask…