A Case of Possession

(A Charm of Magpies, #2)

Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. True, Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician’s disappearing act bothers Crane more than it should. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, Crane knows a smart man would hop the first ship bound for China. But something unexpectedly stops him. His heart.

Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes watching him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. And Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.

The rats are closing in, and something has to give…

“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.

   Book Quotes:

“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.”