“Look, I have three choices. I never see you again so I’m not tempted; I give in to temptation and milk you for power until I’m a raging madman; or I control myself. I don’t like the first two options.”
The second isn’t as good as the first, but it’s close.
Stephen and Lord Crane have returned to London, continuing the relationship they started from ‘The Magpie Lord.’ Stephen’s self-doubts and hectic work schedule interfere, while Lucien has to endure the London life he hates so much. His hatred isn’t helped when a friend starts blackmailing him. This same friend is blackmailing another person in his inner circle. He is thrust into the professional part of Stephen’s life when he assists in an investigation, one which ends up opening all kinds of cans of worms.
The story was exciting – plenty happening from the first page, I seriously can’t put these down. Between the relationship struggles, which never grow annoying, and the hectic, frantic plot, the book flies by. I wish the author would have made them longer, they have enough substance to be padded out. Besides the interesting magical system and world she’s created, this plot has the added allure of a Chinese myth of sorcery woven in.
The bedroom scenes are still steamy as Stephen’s submissive side meets Crane’s dominating one. Between moments of stimulating plays are genuinely sweet, heart-squeezing ones. The scene where Lucien reveals his full feelings made me melt. His sarcasm and fashion obsession is funny, his dominance thriller, his sweet side endearing.
“I like to make you know your master," Crane Said." It's only fair. The rest of the time you've got me so thoroughly enslaved, I might as well be wearing a collar with your name on it.”
Besides the two main characters, who I absolutely love, the reveal of Stephen’s partner and her husband was nifty. The scene where they find out the truth was especially awesome. Couldn’t have been better.
I love the magical system and Victorian world K.J. Charles invented. Only wish these books were longer. There’s plenty of humor that works, but it’s not quite as funny as the first. Overall, an excellent sequel with characters I’ve fallen head over heels over.
“My life changed four months ago, and I utterly failed to understand that until just recently, and therefore… I may have omitted to tell you that I love you.”