ORDER A COPY: Winterblaze (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: February 26, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5 star
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
In the third installment of the Darkest London series, Poppy Lane, also known in the supernatural world as “Mother”, finds herself alone. Her husband Winston has left her after 14 years of marriage after his nearly deadly attack by a werewolf. As a Police Inspector, Winston faces liars every day. He can’t stand liars and he is devastated that his Poppy has been the biggest liar of all. She has hidden the supernatural world from Winston, right under his nose—hidden her true self from him, and it is more than he can bear.
When a deadly demon is freed from his hellish prison, sent there by Poppy herself, he has sworn to pay back Poppy by destroying “her heart.” So whether Winston wants her or not, Poppy will be there to protect Winston from the evil which his coming for him.
But unbeknown to all, Winston is hiding the worst secret of all. A lie so great it could prove their whole lives as a lie.
Now they will have to play the demon’s game in order to fight for their very lives.
It is undeniable that passion still flare between Winston and Poppy, but can they both look past the lies and betrayals and rebuild the lives they once had full of undying love and mutual respect.
When I first read Firelight (which I loved), I wasn’t at all interested in Poppy and Winston. After Moonglow (which I didn’t like as much), they suddenly had my full attention. I was a lot more interested in Poppy and Winston and wanted to see if they could repair their shattered marriage.
Since this story mostly involved the fact that Winston and Poppy were separated and had an emotional wedge between them, I liked how we kept jumping between the present and the past so we could see how Winston and Poppy met, how they overcame their differences in station so that they could get married, and how much they wanted to be with each other before things went so wrong.
I was disappointed, as I usually am, that our hero and heroine both wanted to get past this chasm in their relationship, that they both missed each other and that they both loved and desired the other, BUT when it came to putting themselves out there and possibly to be hurt again, neither one of these brave, strong people were willing to be the one to take that step. My little brain keeps going, “You’re facing evil that wants to hurt you. You might die shortly, but you can’t tell the person you love the most in the world that you love them and miss them in what could be the last hours before you might die? Really? What are you waiting for the regretting part as you lay dying?” Stupid characters.
I also liked the fact that our secondary characters weren’t content to stay in the background as secondary characters are supposed to do, part of that is the set up for the next story. I am excited to say that there will be more stories now that we have finished with the tales of the Ellis sisters.
I am looking forward to seeing where we go next.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“You do not think it romantic that her love for Hamlet was so great that she fell into unending despair when he left?” he asked.
Sharp red brows snapped together, and he wanted to kiss the little furrow between them. His hand curled into a fist as she, oblivious to his lust, proceeded to lecture him. “Romantic? Bah. Such a man’s idea of how a woman ought to love. By all means, let us poor, emotionally weak females fall into utter helplessness for the want of a man. Especially a man who couldn’t be bothered to treat her with any sort of—“
He kissed her. Because he couldn’t stop himself and didn’t have to. Her lips were soft, her tongue tart and slick and he slid an arm about her slim waist and suckled her lower lip before breaking away. “You’ll soon have me in despair,” he whispered, smiling against her mouth, “if you don’t believe in all-consuming love.”
Her arm snaked around his neck, her cool fingers slipping into his hair to toy with it. Had he the ability to purr, he would.
“That isn’t love,” she said.
He nuzzled closer, brushing his mouth against hers. “Kiss me again.”
“We are in public.” But she sipped at his upper lip as though she liked the taste of it.
Winston chuckled and reluctantly stepped back a pace. His gaze landed again on the storefront window beside them, and he looked back at a wonderfully flushed and mussed Poppy. “Do you realize you take us past this empty shop with every walk we take?”
Her cheeks darkened more. “Do I?” She moved to go, but he blocked her way with his shoulder.
“Yes.” He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “And you won’t get me to believe it’s by chance, either. Confess, Boadicea. Why this shop?”
Standing straight and smoothing her hair back into place, she attempted to look past him, her sweet lips pressed into an annoyed line. But then a noise of defeat sounded in her throat, and she glanced at the shop before meeting his eyes. “I want to let it.”
When his brows rose in surprise, she pushed on. “It is a book shop. Or was.” Her nose wrinkled as she made herself speak. “I would like to see it reopened. I—I have always wanted…It is a silly dream, I know.”
Her words cut into him. He hadn’t expected her to have dreams. Why? Why hadn’t he thought of her wants? It shamed him that he’d been so oblivious. Putting a staying hand around her waist when she squirmed to get away, he looked over her shoulder and studied the shop. “Have you any experience in running a book shop?”
Poppy’s expression closed. Tension tightened the muscles along her back. But she did not drop her gaze from his. “No.”
He looked into her dark eyes, his hand firm upon her. “Then you shall learn.”
She flinched. “What?”
He smiled then, tucking a stray lock of fire-bright hair behind her ear. “We have need of funds and a place to live. There is a flat attached to the shop, I see. You want this shop. So you will have it.”
Her breath left in a gust. “Win..How can you…” She drew herself up. “What if I fail?”
Slowly he shook his head. “My love, I have no doubt that if running a bookstore is what you want to do, then you will do it. And do it well. You are too strong-willed to fail at anything.”
She gaped at him, and he cupped her cheek. “I believe in you, Pop. I always will.”
ORDER A COPY: Moonglow (Darkest London)
Publishing Date: July 31, 2012
Paperback: 327 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her. Yet her new-found freedom is short lived. A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy’s door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors . . .
Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society. But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets. Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead. As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret, and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.
This second book in the Darkest London series focuses on Miranda’s sister Daisy, who has recently been widowed after years of a loveless marriage to an abusive husband. Finally free to live her own life, she plans to take a lover and live outside of the Ton’s strangling rules. But those plans are thwarted when she attacked in an alley by what looks like a werewolf.
When Ian Northrup, the Marquis of Northrup, comes upon the commotion outside the London alley, he can smell the werewolf, worse he can smell the disease which is leading the lycan to give in to his baser werewolf form. Since Ian is a lycan, he knows the danger this werewolf presents not only to the helpless citizens of London, but to the rest of the lycans living quietly among the unsuspecting human population. He will do anything to catch this mad wolf. He will also do anything to protect the beautiful and spirited Daisy, who is now the focus of the werewolf, whether she likes it or not.
But the biggest problem could just be the fact that the immortal Ian is in more danger…of falling for the lovely Daisy. Ian gave his heart to a human woman decades earlier and had to watch that love wither and die as his wife aged and grew to resent Ian’s eternal youth. Can he risk his heart and soul to another mortal woman no matter how perfect she is for him?
This was an intriguing, well written continuation of the Darkest London series which leaves us wanting more. We were introduced to various new and interesting characters and learned some deep dark secrets hidden by both Ian and by Daisy’s family. Ian is sexy and charismatic and Daisy is spirited and brave like a good hero and heroine out to be.
What I think says most about the author is that I had no real interest is sister Poppy and his husband, Winston, after I read Firelight (Poppy=meh), but after Moonglow, I have to know where they will be going in the next story, Winterblaze.
Kristen Callihan is proving herself to be a very talented author and I am looking forward to more from her in the future.
See our past interview with Kristen Callihan.
Lucien became utterly still, and his gleaming eyes immediately dimmed. A caress of ice-cold air touched Daisy’s cheek and then surrounded her breasts. Icy prickles rippled over her sensitive flesh, beading her nipples. She sucked in a gasp as a cold draft blew between her legs. “Oh!”
A viscous snarl burst from Northrup, and he was out of his seat, his hands fisting Lucien’s collar. The man’s head flopped to the side as if he were stunned. Northrup gave him a violent shake. Fangs sprang long in Northrup’s mouth, his eyes going round and filling with blue. “I’ll tear yer fuckin’ head from yer neck, if ye don’t leave off!”
The air around her whooshed past her. Lucien’s prone body jerked and he blinked, his eyes returning to normal. Still caught in Northrup’s grip, he offered an innocent little smile to the snarling lycan bearing down on him.
“Temper, Ian. It was only a bit of fun.”
Northrup was past hearing. His jaw cracked as it lengthened, the fangs in his upper and lower jaw growing longer. “Not with her.” A snarl tore out as his claws sank into Lucien’s neck.
The man gurgled as Daisy leaped up. “Northrup! Stop.” He bared his teeth at Lucien, and the muscles along his forearms bulged. Crimson blood ran in rivulets down Lucien’s neck and into his snow-white cravat.
“Ian.” With a shaking hand, she touched his arm. He jerked as though shocked, his eyes, gleaming ice blue, turned to her, unseeing and wild. “Let him go, Ian. You don’t want to kill him. Not truly.”
Northrup cocked his head, his nostrils pinching as though he were inclined to disagree. His tense frame vibrated as a series of low growls rumbled in his throat. Daisy blanched but did not let him go. She had to trust in his promise not to hurt her. “Ian. Stand down.”
On a shudder, his body began to ease back to normal and the confusion and rage in his eyes cleared, to be replaced by a possessive heat that made her blush. A grunt of acknowledgment left him before he turned away from her.
Northrup hauled his prey close, his nose butting up against Lucien’s. “Play with your own lass, aye?”
With a final snarl, he shoved Lucien back into his seat. The chair slid a foot before Lucien’s boot heels stopped it. “A thousand pardons,” Lucien said, panting. “I forgot myself.”
Daisy, on the other hand, having just realized that the cold touch was Lucien, suddenly felt far from appeased. “That was you?” she said through her teeth.
The man held up his hands in apology, and she turned to Northrup. “I was wrong. Tear his hands off.”
Northrup’s eyes glinted with wicked humor as he winked at her, his smile feral and still showing a bit of fang. He turned back to Lucien and let his claws free. Lucien backed into his chair, his handsome mouth opening in alarm. “Here now!”
Daisy gave him an evil smile. Now that Northrup had calmed, he wouldn’t follow through, but he put on a very convincing show. “I wouldn’t be too alarmed, Mr. Stone,” she said. “After all, I appears you do not need your hands to get into mischief.”
ORDER A COPY: Firelight (Darkest London)
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: January 31, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 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.
Lord Benjamin Archer made a fateful decision one night long ago, one that left him cursed and horribly disfigured. Hiding his face behind a mask, he has come back to London to claim the only thing he desires above all, the hand of the beautiful and spirited, Miranda Ellis.
Miranda Ellis might not be hiding behind a mask, but she too hides a secret as dangerous and deadly as Lord Archer’s. It is Miranda’s special gift that caused her family to lose their fortune; leading her father to use her to steal to support the family. Miranda decides to accept Lord Archer’s proposal of marriage. Maybe, just maybe, this man would understand her pain, and not turn away from her if he learned the truth.
When bodies start to turn up around London, all eyes are turning to Lord Archer as the murderer. Can Archer and Miranda learn to love beyond the masks and secrets; and can they find the true perpetrator, or will they are forever be torn apart by the murder?
This novel needs a category all it’s own; part-historical, part-paranormal and all wonderful romance. When I requested a copy of this novel from netgalley.com, it sounded interesting, but I was not really sure what I would be getting. Let me tell you, as a romance, this book was sexy, sweet and funny. As a paranormal mystery, it kept me guessing until the final reveal.
This story kept me enthralled until the very end, and I am refusing to tell you anymore since the very mystery of what happened to Lord Archer is the driving force of this story. Added to that mystery is the wonderfully written beauty-and-the- beast/phantom-of-the-opera type romance between Miranda and Archer. Who could not fall for the vulnerable, tortured Archer, or the bright and strong Miranda?
If paranormal romance is your thing, then I can’t recommend to you enough that you should try this story.
I am definitely picking up the prequel: Ember, as well as the sequel Moonglow in August.
Received an ARC from Netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
Check out my interview with Kristen Callihan for more information about this series.
Go to the Kristen Callihan’s website for bonus scenes.
He glanced at the stairwell as though he’d like nothing more than to flee. “Perhaps we should go. It is getting late.”
He moved to put on the mask once more, and her hand flew to clutch his arm.
“Don’t,” she said gently. The muscles beneath her hand hardened like granite yet he did not pull away. He loomed over her, his newly revealed features inscrutable, all the more because she did not yet know the subtleties of them. Without the warm rumble of his voice, she seemed almost a stranger to her for a moment, but for the scent of him and the familiar lines of his form.
“You startled me, Archer. That is all. I had no right to rail at you.” Absently, her thumb caressed the fabric of his coat. She forced it still. “Thank you. It is a gift you gave me, and I am the richer for it.”
Flushing and unable to meet his eyes another moment, she let him go. His silence was almost unbearable, but she could not turn from him. She had promised to stay. She gripped the cool balustrade and hoped it might keep her in place.
On a sigh, his stiffness released, and his hand came down to rest next to hers. “I felt you,” he whispered. “That is how I knew.”
She raised her head, and the world seemed to fade down to a narrow focus of just him, just her.
“I feel you,” he said, “whether stalking me through the streets of London, or hiding behind a screen in my library.” His words were soft as bunting, buffeting her skin, shivering inside of her.
Her hand opened on the balustrade, fingers stretching toward his. The very tips of their fingers met, the touch sparking between them like a current.
Archer’s fingers grazed hers. “I feel you. As if you were connected to me by an invisible string.” He touched his chest. “I feel you here. In my heart.”
She couldn’t think past the mad pounding of her blood. She swallowed painfully. “I feel you too.”