Damien Knight, the earl of Winterley, is proud, aloof, and tormented by memories of war. Though living in seclusion, he is named guardian to a fellow officer’s ward. Instead of the young homeless waif he was expecting, however, Miranda FitzHubert is a stunning, passionate beauty who invades his sanctuary and forces him back into society. Struggling to maintain honor and self-control, Damien now faces an even greater threat: desire.After absolutely loving Lord of Fire, I was pretty confident that I would like Lord of Ice. After all, we had already been introduced to Damien, and already knew that he had issues to deal with relating to his time fighting against Napoleon.
A bold, free spirit, Miranda has witnessed the darkest depths of Damien’s soul–and has seen his desperate need for love. But before she can thaw his unyielding heart, she must endure a terrifying nightmare of her own. . . .
Knowing that tortured heroes are one of my favourite types of heroes, I was all set to adore this book, but then I started reading and found that if this book had a promising hero, it also unfortunately had one of my least favourite types of heroines - the young, just out of the school room heroine. Having said that, this certainly was still an enjoyable read, but I would have much preferred an older and wiser heroine for the lovely Damien.
The book opens with Damien being informed of the death of one of his close friends. He had apparently been murdered, and Damien had promised to look after his friend's niece should anything happen to him. Damien is insistent on doing the right thing and therefore journeys to the ward's school to inform her of her uncle's death.
The night before going to meet his new ward, he ventures out to watch a performance on stage and is enchanted by the young actress on stage. Little does he know, the woman on stage is the girl who is now his ward, and should have been taken out of the horrible school environment that she was in a long time ago.
Damien is insistent that he will find Miranda a husband, but finds it increasingly difficult to even contemplate such a thing as his own feelings for Miranda grow. Along the way he has to deal with the remaining members of her estranged family, who would like nothing more than to get hold of Miranda and her fortune.
Miranda also seems to be a target of some one else with far more sinister motives than just getting hold of her fortune, as she has not one or two but three 'accidents' that could in all honestly have been fatal. As Damien draws on the resources available to both himself and his brother (including some rather shady characters from the criminal underbelly of London), there is a desperate race to find out who could be targeting the young lady, and also a race for Miranda to find a way through Damien's barriers in time to save him from his own demons.
There is a lot going on in this book. There is not only the burgeoning relationship, and the threat to Miranda's life, but also Damien needs to figure out who murdered his friend and why, save some orphans from the horrible school that Miranda had been left in for years, neglected by everyone who should have been protecting her.
I did like this book. If I had to choose between the twins though, I would have to say that my heart belongs to Lucien! It would likely to have been a much closer competition if the heroine in Damien's book was not just out of the schoolroom!
Lady Jacinda Knight is the daughter of a notorious woman. Her mother - Georgiana, the Duchess of Hawkscliffe - had scandalised society with her affairs, earning her the moniker of the Hawkscliffe Harlot. All her life Jacinda has been aware that the eyes of the ton are upon her - waiting for her to follow in her disgraced mother's footsteps.Having matched off the three elder brothers, it is now the turn of Miss Jacinda Knight to get her happily ever after.
Now - faced with the prospect of an arranged marriage - Jacinda may well be about to prove her critics right. Running from her fate, Jacinda finds herself alone on a dangerous street face-to-face with Billy Blade, the notorious leader of a band of thieves. Jacinda is dangerously attracted to the handsome, mysterious rogue and only just escapes the experience with her reputation intact.
But Billy is no ordinary criminal. Years before he had turned his back on his tyrannical father, the Earl of Rackford. But Jacinda makes him contemplate the unthinkable - returning to the civilized world to reclaim his title.
After reading the first few pages of this book I was a little concerned that I was not going to be able to enjoy this book. We meet the beautiful Miss Knight as she has made her way to a coach house in a less than savoury part of London. She is running away from an arranged marriage, and is determined that she is going to escape to Paris...alone. Whilst at the coaching house, she flashes her cash a little too openly (and we won't mention the diamond necklace that she is wearing), and is quickly seen as an easy mark by a young thief. Not content with having been robbed, Jacinda chases after the thief into one of the little lanes nearby (can anyone say TSTL??), and soon finds herself having to hide as the lane becomes the setting for a fight to the death between two rival gangs. Anyway, Jacinda is discovered lurking behind some crates by one of the gang leaders, who goes under the name of Billy Blade. Given that she has just witnessed the fight Billy feels that he has no choice but to escort her back to his home.
Billy is immediately attracted to the young lady, and they share a passionate encounter, which wouldn't be a problem really until Billy realises exactly who the young society lady is that he has been improper with. Once he knows who she is, he quickly takes steps to return her to her brothers, assuring them that whilst he has kissed her, he did so before he knew who she was!
Of course, Jacinda has no clue who Billy 'really is' either. She is attracted to the wild young gang leader, and she is sure that this attraction must be as a result of the bad example that she got from her mother. After all, all of society is just waiting for Jacinda to put a foot wrong, just like her mother. After being banished to the country because of her actions, Jacinda fixes upon a plan where she can be free to do as she wants. She just needs to find an old man to marry, and then wait for him to die, and then she can be a merry widow - the perfect solution to her problems.
In the meantime though, Billy's crimes are about to catch up with him, and it is only be revealing his true identity that he escapes with his life. It is from this point that the novel changes a little, and becomes a more standard kind of romance, where there is an unpolished young man who is being tutored by a society miss. However, whilst everyone believes that Billy has truly reformed, he has found a way to get revenge against those who have crossed him.
I loved Billy, well as much as one can love a gang leader who has sent more than a few people on their way to their grave. I loved getting to know him, and finding out how it was exactly that he ended up leaving his childhood home, and the journey that took him to the top of the gangland tree. I loved that his heart was set on Jacinda from very early on, and that he was patiently building the intensity of his pursuit of her. From a very rocky start, Jacinda ended up growing on me, although there were a couple of eye-rolling moments throughout the book when it came to her actions.
I can definitely see why this Knight Miscellany series has been so successful. I've already picked up the next book in the series from the library and I am definitely looking forward to reading it, and the rest of the books in this series.