With questions neither asked nor answered, Andalin Durante’s father whisks her away during the night to Braitwood Hall, the home of Ellison, Baron Cadogen, aka the masked Dark Rider of local myth. There she is to become the Baron’s ward—taught dancing and social etiquette and be presented in Society as a lady in search of a suitable husband. At first, the masked Ellison is intimidating, brooding, and secretive, but as time goes on Andalin sees a softer side and craves his company as he comes to need hers. One night she follows him on one of his midnight sojourns into the Black Forest and learns more than she would wish to know.
The sinister forest backdrop is atmospheric and the mystery surrounding the Baron and his lost family creates a diverting, gothic read with supernatural elements. The romance arcs towards a natural conclusion, but the author’s techniques add tension which makes the inevitable very beguiling. The manor house staff members are all integral to the story. Themes of self-forgiveness and trust are dealt with compassionately, integrated into a very well-thought-out tale. Recommended for readers who love a clean romance with a difference.
Romance, suspense, and the supernatural effectively intertwine in this captivating Regency from Walker (Love in Disguise), which pairs an inquisitive beauty with a reclusive baron. Andalin Durante’s life is turned upside down when her poor tradesman father sends her to live with the Dark Rider, an infamous baron-turned-highwayman. Heirless, the Dark Rider, Lord Ellison (“Ellis”) Cadogen, intends to make Andalin his ward, planning for her to eventually inherit his manor, but is taken by her unexpected beauty. For her part, Andalin’s initial fear of Ellis is soon allayed as she finds him surprisingly kind and frequently absent on nightly rides through the Black Forest in Corbridge, England. Ellis piques Andalin’s curiosity and she spends her time alone in the manor searching for clues to his past, discovering that Ellis is on a quest to avenge the death of his parents and the disappearance of his twin sister 10 years earlier, both of which are somehow connected to a woman called Sephira, the witch of Baltar. The engrossing central mystery and electric chemistry between the spirited characters keep the pages turning. This rousing romance is sure to win Walker new readers.