This delightful historical romance features humor, searing intimate scenes, and memorable characters in a fun tale that also gradually reveals a mystery that needs to be solved. The principle that kids and pets ‘steal the show’ is aptly demonstrated as the perpetually curious Indio and his faithful but somewhat clumsy Italian greyhound companion facilitate a meeting between the ‘monster in the garden’ and his beloved mother, much to her chagrin. It was refreshing to read about an actress who was secure in her talent, multi-faceted, and willing to acknowledge her own passions even as she balances her maternal protective instincts and her desire to get to know the mysterious behemoth who is invading what she considers to be ‘her’ territory. The snippets of the tale of the Minotaur which begin each chapter provide an intriguing allegory to the main story and the revelations of the horrific background that have brought the mysterious gardener to this point in his life ensnare the reader in a tale that is both heartwrenching and mesmerizing. This story can be read as a stand-alone tale but the cameos of other characters from previous tales in the series plus the enigmatic personages who play pivotal roles in this story makes one anxious to read both the previous novels and any subsequent ones. A sigh-worthy combination of heat, romance, humor and mystery that reminds me why I like this author’s stories so much!
“Darling Beast” by Elizabeth Hoyt is part of the ‘Maiden Lane’ series and centers around the mysterious individual found in the garden by actress Lily Stump’s precocious son, Indio. Lily is a little down on her luck and has sought refuge for herself and her small household in the burned-out remnant of the grand theater she had expected to star at. The unexpected discovery of a rather enormous but mute gardener poses an unwelcome mystery and an unwilling allure to the intrepid woman and her son. Matters worsen when it transpires that the surprisingly gentle and amiable man has dangerous secrets of his own, which may destroy everything and everyone around him.
A MAN CONDEMNED . . .
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .
A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .
London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.
OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.