I have to say that I’ve been looking forward to Powers’ story since the end of Lady in Red. He is a man destroyed by the deaths of his wife and child. He is an ass. He drowns himself in opium. But we saw a glimpse of something more when he interacted with Mary. We saw glimpses of his vulnerability and could tell that with the right woman, he could rebuild what is broken inside himself. Margaret is to be that woman.
As the story begins, Powers is the unwilling guest of a madhouse. His father put him there in a last ditch effort to save him from himself. Margaret is the woman tapped to help get him through his addiction. An Irish lady by birth, she now makes it her mission to aid men ravaged by war. Though Powers’ circumstances are a bit different, she hopes to help him face his past so that he can move forward to a life filled with things other than booze, drugs, and street fighting. Things get complicated, however, when his father makes her an unusual proposition.
The Earl wants her to marry his son. That way she can give him constant care and the heir his title demands. She would have said no, but for the fact her brother needs the aid the Earl’s money can buy. Thus begins a marriage of convenience. But it’s only a matter of time before it blooms into so much more.
One of my biggest problems with Lady in Red was the fact that I though Mary overcame her addiction too easily. To this book’s credit, the same can’t be said for Powers. He really goes through a terrible time with his withdrawal. It made it so much more believable as we suffered through it with him. I loved watching how hard it was to allow himself to fall in love with Margaret… how hard it was to let himself feel anything, really. I liked that the book didn’t feel all that predictable. The circumstances of Powers’ wife and daughter’s death came as surprise. So did the danger Margaret finds herself in.
Speaking of Margaret, I found I liked her, despite the fact that Powers stole the show for me. She has a quiet strength and dignity… a thread of steel inside of her that allowed to her to not only survive adversity, but to rise above. I liked her pragmatism and her no-nonsense approach to dealing with Powers, his father, and even her fool brother. I found that she was a fantastic match for her husband and I really found myself rooting for them to be together.
I do think I would have enjoyed a little more in the way of sexy times. We do have some, but not a lot. I also felt like the end wrapped things up a little quickly. I think I would have liked a little more time with Powers and Margaret after the big climax. But overall, I did enjoy this one and would recommend to readers who enjoy a tortured hero.
*ARC Provided by Signet Eclipse
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Dark Affair
by Maire Claremont
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Signet Eclipse