Published by Signet on May 4th 2004 (first published August 1988)
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Purchased: print book
She felt his tongue gently stroke her lips...and his hands, caressing her shoulders, moved downward to mold her hips. "No, please," she said, sobbing with desire...
Beautiful Victoria Abermarle feared and fled the imperious desires of handsome Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. But there was no escaping her own desires when she was rescued on the lawless highways of Regency England by Damien's identical twin, Rafael Carstairs.
Though Rafael matched the strength and daring, he was gentle where Damien was violent, caring where Damien was callous. The icy terror that Damien inspired melted in the flames of passion that Rafael ignited. And in a whirlwind of adventure, intrigue, and danger that set brother against brother and good against evil, Victoria fought to make the overwhelming power and glorious fulfillment of love the winner...
Trigger warning: Rape.
I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Twins square.
I have to say that the third book in this trilogy is my favorite. Maybe because this book calls back a location from one of Coulter’s medieval books, I want to say “Fire Song”. I have to look it up. Either way, I loved the little Easter eggs that are dropped. Plus we get to see characters we have known now through two other books. I really did enjoy that Frances/Hawk seem very much in love. So you can kind of block out the horribleness of the first book now. Plus I really enjoyed the heroine/hero in this one. For those who are looking for “Virgin Best First Time ” square, you can use this book for that one as well.
Our heroine Victoria flees from her sister’s husband Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. Yeah he apparently thinks that rape is not that big a deal. Do not get me started on Victoria’s appalling sister as well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, since it’s pretty apparent her marriage to Damien is awful and on some weird level she likes it. When Victoria runs away she ends up being rescued by Damien’s twin brother Rafael. Readers meet Rafael in the second book in the Magic Trilogy, so it was nice to see him get his own story-line. As good as Rafael is, we get to see though that Damien is awful.
Rafael is gentle and kind and decides he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep Damien from hurting Victoria. You can see that it pains him to see that his brother seems to just be “wrong” and not care. And Damien seems to loathe Rafael for having the same face. Yeah, there was some weird twin stuff happening in this book. There is also some grossness though with Rafael trying to control Victoria through sex.
And there is some jealousy of Rafael believing his brother that perhaps Victoria was really with him sexually which I was wondering about his intelligence at this point. Rafael tries to play a trick on Victoria, but as we quickly find out though, Victoria is able to tell Rafael and Damien apart from each other simply by how her body responds. I guess if one man tried to rape me I would always be on edge around him.
There are some familiar and beloved secondary characters in this one. I absolutely loved Frances and Lyon’s aunt in this one. The men, meh to you. They were fine, but the women really shine.
There is a secondary plot going on with men abducting young women in the area and raping them. So yeah, stay away if you don’t want to hear some terrible men’s justifications for what they are doing. And weirdly this book made me think of Nora Roberts “Brotherhood in Death” which had that same type of plot in it. I really wasn’t happy with the final resolution to that storyline, but I get it though, the times were that things like that were not seen as a great deal until a girl of quality is kidnapped. Apparently when it was the poor it was a hard shrug.
The writing was okay, but the plot with the gross club kidnapping and raping women take up a great deal of the book. I did like the love scenes. Give me a good love scene and I am usually all over a book.
I think the flow was okay too, nothing to complain about there. Even though I have read this book a million times (exaggerating) it always feels new to me. Maybe because this ended up being my favorite couple out of the three couples who are featured.