Lord of Darkness
Grand Central / February 26, 2013/ $7.99 print, $6.64 digital
He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife . . .
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn't seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more . . .
When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband-the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both.
Book five in Elizabeth Hoyt's enchanting Maiden Lane series, Lord of Darkness tells the story of the mysterious Godric St. John, recently revealed Ghost of St. Giles, and his effervescent bride Margaret Reading. A marriage of convenience saved her from scandal and him from blackmail, but the two are essentially strangers in a wholly original beauty and the beast tale of redemption and hope. Living apart after their hasty marriage, Megs and Godric have led separate lives, but when Megs decides she wants a baby, her return to London and to a husband she hasn't known turns their world on its head and changes both of them forever.
Megs disrupts everything in Godric's controlled life when she bustles in with her house party from the country and takes over his home, strewing chaos and humor all about. But she quickly learns Godric isn't at all what he seems. Believing he's a tired old man, Megs is shocked to learn in the cloak of night he serves as the masked avenger of London's roughest slums, and with this he proves he's an equal match for her.
“Do I?” She threw her head back, her dark eyes shining, her hair already beginning to struggle out of its confines as she started pacing in front of his fireplace.
“Until yesterday evening I thought I knew you. I thought you were a staid, elderly scholar who lived by himself in a much too dusty mansion and once in a while for a bit of excitement went out to coffeehouses. And then” – she spun at the far end of the room, waving her hands as if battling birds attacking her head – “and thenI find that you're a notorious madman who runs about in a ridiculous mask and gets into fights with footpads in St. Giles, and, Godric, I really, truly don't think I know you at all now.”
She stopped dead and glared at him, her breast heaving. Dear God, she was magnificent when she was in a rage.
He cleared his throat. “Elderly?”
Godric has been merely existing after the death of his beloved first wife, and he comes alive only when exacting vengeance as the Ghost of St. Giles, an initially surprising but fitting role for him. Megs has been grieving the loss of her young lover, shockingly murdered and never brought to justice. The best thing about their match, what they don't even realize at first, is that their similar tragedies allow them to bond and connect with each other. Megs believes that a baby will help make her whole, and though at first Godric isn't convinced he can let go of his memories to give his wife what she desires, their pull to each other, the slow blossoming of something between them, is soon hard to fight.
As she made to walk past him, he forestalled her by the simple expedient of grasping her hand.
His fingers were cool as they wrapped around hers, and she froze, looking at him before he dropped her hand again as if her warmth had burned him.
He licked his lips, and if she didn't know better, she'd say that Godric was nervous. “I actually came out here to tell you something.”
She tilted her head in inquiry. “Yes?”
“I've decided ”– he focused those clear gray eyes on her face – “I'd like to consummate our marriage tonight.”
Thankfully, the walls of grief and uncertainty they have both built so impenetrably around them crumble fairly quickly, and there is a nice, continued juxtaposition of Godric's darkness to Meg's light, a balance that saves each of them. She won't be deterred from her mission, first of having a baby but soon of having him—body, heart, and soul—and her bright personality renews his spirit in a way he didn't know was possible anymore. And as Godric risks himself as the Ghost to solve the mystery of another vicious crime ring in St. Giles, Megs fights for him when their future may be at stake.
Once again, mystery and suspense are weaved into Hoyt's story in a way that only heightens the deepening love between Godric and Megs, ultimately adding another wonderful addition to an incomparable historical series.
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.