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.
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.
And here is Celia's review:
Let’s just get it right out there: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t and wouldn’t stop reading it. When I had to put it down to say, go to sleep, I’d think about it until it drove me crazy and the next thing I knew, the light was back on and I was reading again. It had all the elements I love; a bad ass heroine, a moody, sensitive yet bad ass hero, and sexual tension so thick you’d have to use a machete to cut through it.
I am always a little wary of historical romances because of how weak many of the heroines are but Miranda is BA from page one. She can and does hold her own in a fight, particularly against the hero, Lord Archer. While she has your standard heroine fiery red hair and flashing green eyes, on Miranda the traits seem natural. Or rather, supernatural. I absolutely love it that she has supernatural gifts of her own and that all the power isn’t one sided in their relationship. She doesn’t fall apart as soon as Archer walks in and she doesn’t let him control her. So refreshing! Right from the start she shows him that if she must be forced to marry him, she’s not going to be quiet and demur about it.
Basically, I’d want Miranda on my side in any sort of fight, physical or verbal. And just so that Miranda doesn’t seem SO BA that she’s no longer relatable, Callihan gives her two sisters who can keep up with her and bring out her fun, gentler side.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Archer. Not because he’s a little scary and standoffish (though he’s both) but because of this scene near the beginning where he takes a moody, cold shower in his green house. On top of that, he proceeds to have a mental debate with another woman who has yet to be mentioned anywhere, in any context related to this story! I had trouble taking the scene seriously. It raised so many questions for me such as, why does he have a shower in his greenhouse? Why is he already mentally cheating on Miranda with some lady who I haven’t met but who he clearly loves? Is he a crazy person? Is that what he’s hiding behind the mask? What am I missing here?
I was finally able to move on from this scene and I do think Archer is a fascinating character but wow, that one threw me for a bit. Although, on later contemplation, it may well be my favorite scene in the book. In a world of secrets, masks, and murder, it takes a real man to take an angsty cold shower in a glass greenhouse.
I enjoyed how well Callihan wove her plot. The secrets were kept just out of reach until I nearly threw the book down in frustration, then picked it up because I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened next. The sexual tension was fantastic. She denies Miranda and Archer until the last possible moment, until you feel like they’ll burst their pants with anticipation. The verbal sparring between Miranda and Archer is creative, witty, and very entertaining. As I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. I feel it richly deserves an A.