Sir Carlton Morley is famously possessed of extraordinary will, singular focus, and a merciless sense of justice. As a man, he secured his fortune and his preeminence as Scotland Yard’s ruthless Chief Inspector. As a decorated soldier, he was legend for his unflinching trigger finger, his precision in battle, and his imperturbable strength. But as a boy, he was someone else. A twin, a thief, and a murderer, until tragedy reshaped him.
Now he stalks the night, in search of redemption and retribution, vowing to never give into temptation, as it’s just another form of weakness.
Until temptation lands—quite literally—in his lap, taking the form of Prudence Goode.
Prim and proper Pru is expected to live a life of drudgery, but before she succumbs to her fate, she craves just one night of desire. On the night she searches for it, she stumbles upon a man made of shadows, muscle and wrath… And decides he is the one.
When their firestorm of passion burns out of control, Morley discovers, too late, that he was right. The tempting woman has become his weakness.
A weakness his enemies can use against him.
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Prudence Goode has waited a long time to agree to marry, but finally accepted the Earl of Sutherland’s proposal. As her wedding draws closer, she learns that her betrothed doesn’t love her, is marrying her for her dowry, and is notorious for his numerous affairs. Pru begs her parents to allow her to end the engagement, but they are adamant that she go through with the marriage. Now resigned to a bleak future, Pru decides to take one final action before she takes her vows. She’ll give her innocence to a man of her choosing, and hopefully experience the passion she’s only heard about. She sneaks off to a brothel where men provide pleasure for money, and literally falls over her lover for the night.
Sir Carlton Morley, Chief Inspector, is living a double life. During the day, he’s a by-the-book officer, but at night he dons a mask and acts as a vigilante, one whom the press has dubbed as the “Knight of Shadows.” His current investigation of a murder has led him to the brothel, when a beautiful woman knocks him off his feet. It’s obvious that she believes him to be one of the male prostitutes, and that she’s chosen him as her temporary companion. At first contact, fireworks happened between Pru and Morley, something even the straitlaced Inspector couldn’t deny. The intense passion they share is everything Pru wished for, as Morley fulfills her every desire. Pru is about to reveal her identity to him, only to find that he has disappeared.
It seems that there is a connection between Pru and Morley, as her father is Morley’s superior, thus requiring that Morley attend the wedding of his daughter. He reluctantly arrives at the church, still not realizing that the bride is his mysterious lover, only to find the service disrupted by a bloody crime scene. A murder has occurred, and Pru is the main suspect. Morley now is tasked with investigating the murder, with his superior strongly suggesting that his daughter is innocent, while the evidence clearly shows that Pru is the most likely to be guilty.
Morley is a complex man, one who has devoted his life to his vocation. He’s foregone relationships, instead focusing on battling crime and stopping murderers by whatever means necessary. His tryst with Pru was totally out of character for him, and he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Now fate has placed her in his custody. Though he treats her with every courtesy, Morley still battles his attraction for Pru, who steadfastly declares her innocence. Pru knows she didn’t commit this murder. As she and Morley become more intimate and their passion grows stronger, she begins to hope for a genuine future with him, only to become heartbroken at his lack of trust.
A DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT is yet another stellar entry into the Victorian Rebels series, though it can easily be read as a standalone. If you’ve read the previous books, you’ll be happy with the glimpses of couples from previous stories, as well as finally having a happy ever after for Inspector Morley. Amid the uncertainty, the distrust, and the doubts, Pru and Morley are falling deeply in love. It’s a swoonworthy moment when Morley decides that it doesn’t matter to him whether Pru is guilty or not – he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her from prison, and to make her his own. The romance and steam between this couple is breathtaking, and I loved them for the people they are. There are a few twists to the story – I had my suspicions about the murderer, but the motive was a surprise. A DARK AND STORMY KNIGHT is one of those books I read straight through without stopping. All of the elements – the wonderful writing, the mystery, but most of all, the romance held me captive, and left me wanting to go back and revisit the previous books. Kerrigan Byrne has a magical quality to her writing, and I highly recommend this latest installment in the Victorian Rebels series to all historical romance lovers. ~Rose