London, 1881Once the flames are ignited . . .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.
They will burn for eternity . . .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.
This is essentially a story about two tortured souls. Both find themselves having big secrets about who they are for survival purposes. When they find each other, they are also forced to hide those same parts from the other. Neither seems to be able to trust that someone would accept the whole of themselves. I mean if they can't accept their own self wholly, how can they ask another to do the same?
There is also a mystery involved. One that has Lord Archer fully within it's grasp. However, Miranda is no shrinking violet, and to tell her to stay out of it is really an invitation for help. So despite a few bungling attempts at trying to get to the truth the answers remain elusive. Both are equally matched and even though the mystery and the intrigue was not well paced, it still gave a good background for the love that starts to develop between Archer and Miranda. In fact, that path to true love between the two characters makes this book worth reading.
For example, how Miranda felt about Archer even though she never saw his face:
"...In truth, she could not dissect Archer into parts. She saw him as a whole. She thought of Archer not in pictures but with feeling. Archer was warmth, laughter, kindness, and excitement."
And how Archer felt about Miranda:
"...no one has made me feel the way you do, as if every day is an adventure. You make me laugh. And I never laugh. I go around smiling like a witless fool. So yes, I kept it from you, because I am so desperately in love with you that the knowledge that you might love me too was irresistible. And I was afraid it would turn to dust should I take off that mask."
These feelings came out of getting to know each other. Seeing past the lust into the soul of the person they wanted to get to know. And despite the secrets, each got to know each other in a way no one had ever had before. The passion was there, but the time they allowed it to take in developing a friendship first make that passion burn brighter when they finally admitted their love. Yes, the romance is well written. You can take that from a cynic. ;)
I give this adult book 4 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance despite the mystery and the events surrounding them were unevenly paced. It still did not distract the love connection the two main characters developed within the story.