Rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Puck—ever the trickster in clothes and out of them…
In the second installment of Michaels Blackthorn series readers get the pleasure of being introduced to the youngest Blackthorn, Robin Goodfellow or Puck. Puck is the carefree, mischievous brother. Yet where his other brothers have failed, Puck succeeds. The majority of polite society accepts him, even though he’s a bastard, and he merely buys or connives his way to win over any who oppose. When Lady Regina Hackett crosses his path at a masquerade, Puck believes he’s stumbled upon the woman of his dreams, except it will take far more than a simple assignation to win her heart.
Regina Hackett merely wanted an adventure when she agreed to attend the masked ball with her cousin, but she never expected to be tempted to sin in a garden, nor that her cousin would be abducted while she allowed herself to be ravished with kisses. With her mercenary merchant father wanting to sell her off to the highest bidder, and sweep her cousins abduction under the rug, Regina must seek the help of the devilishly attractive, devious Puck. The problem is can she keep her heart from falling for this bastard or will she become his final conquest?
If I had to choose between the heroine and hero, I truly enjoyed Puck the best. What I liked even more was the conflict and the stakes. Michael’s truly stepped it up in this novel. The villains were downright diabolical and I loved how Puck and Regina thwart them together. The dialogue is snappy, and brilliant. With the main characters deftly anticipating and outmaneuvering everyone in their path, including each other, from the moment they meet at the masked ball:
“ What is your name, scarlet lady?” he asked her, looking into her wide, unblinking eyes, feeling himself becoming lost in those clear, swirling depths.
“I’d first know yours. Is it Mister Black or Mister Gold?” she said, showing spirit yet again.
Puck laughed. “It’s neither. My name is Robin Good-fellow.”
The truth was rarely believed, and it wasn’t now.
“Oh yes, I’m quite sure that’s correct. And I am Titania, Queen of the Fairies.”
“Ah, fair Titania,” Puck allowed, quietly surprised that she would know the characters from Shakespeare’s farce until he realized that she must be an actress. He was about to break his most sacred rule and tumble an actress. “Then you do not believe me?”
“No more than you believe me, no. But does it matter? I don’t imagine you’ve brought me out here for an exchange of names.”
“And why have I brought you out here?” he asked, even as he lifted the silken hood back and off her head, revealing a mass of artfully placed curls nearly black in the dim light.
“I’m not entirely certain. I was rather thinking it was to kiss me.”
“To kiss you,” Puck repeated, taken aback. She said the words as if they were dangerous in the extreme. “And you came here to be kissed?” *How far the kiss goes is a question that can only be answered by buying this wonderful story now. Honestly the first book in this series did not captivate me as much as this one. There's no issue of getting into this story, and even though some of the situations are a little off the beaten path from other historicals, Puck’s antics and attitudes make everything buyable. Regina is his perfect fit in more ways than one, and I found myself draw to her spunk and loyalty.
Definitely for those who enjoy a good historical with a mystery involved this is one to get immediately. For those who read Jacquie D’Alessandro or Stephanie Laurens.
Originally reviewed for The Season.
*excerpt may be altered in final copy.