The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels #1)
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: 1 September 2015
They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster…
Dorian Blackwell, the Blackheart of Ben More, is a ruthless villain. Scarred and hard-hearted, Dorian is one of London’s wealthiest, most influential men who will stop at nothing to wreak vengeance on those who’ve wronged him…and will fight to the death to seize what he wants. The lovely, still innocent widow Farah Leigh Mackenzie is no exception—and soon Dorian whisks the beautiful lass away to his sanctuary in the wild Highlands…
But Farah is no one’s puppet. She possesses a powerful secret—one that threatens her very life. When being held captive by Dorian proves to be the only way to keep Farah safe from those who would see her dead, Dorian makes Farah a scandalous proposition: marry him for protection in exchange for using her secret to help him exact revenge on his enemies. But what the Blackheart of Ben More never could have imagined is that Farah has terms of her own, igniting a tempestuous desire that consumes them both. Could it be that the woman he captured is the only one who can touch the black heart he’d long thought dead?
This has everything I love in my romance novels. You've got a brooding, tortured hero with a dangerous edge. A strong, intelligent heroine drawn to our dark hero despite her misgivings. Danger and mystery lurking everywhere. Kidnappings and castles. I could go on but I may swoon.
Basically this had all the ingredients for a fabulous romance that could sweep me away. And that's exactly what it did. I loved it.
Farah is a great heroine who doesn't back down from a challenge and stands up to Dorian when other people would be quaking in their shoes. She honestly has a heart of gold and can see past Dorian's exterior to the man in pain underneath. After the devastating loss of the boy she loved when she was young, Farah has hidden her painful past and forged a life and career for herself. That is until she's kidnapped by the dangerous Dorian Blackwell.
Dorian is a man with a horrific past and it's the pain and rage from this that fuels his need to power his empire and seek his vengeance. Dorian makes no bones about who he is and the things he's done in the past and will continue to do in the future, but your heart can't help but break for the man you get glimpses of. Dorian is fiercely protective and has a stubborn streak a mile wide, but he's my favourite kind of hero. Sometimes he'll drive you mad with exasperation but the whole tortured, alpha hero thing definitely floats my boat.
I know there will be some people who read this and don't like the darker tone of the sexual scenes, or won't enjoy some of the melodrama that does arise in the plot but if you sit back and just let yourself go with it, it's one hell of a fun ride. There's darkness to the story which is lifted by lighter moments between the characters and the chemistry between Farah and Dorian. Seriously, the sexual tension between those two is off the charts. They have their fair share of obstacles to overcome, including the fact that Dorian can't stand to be touched, but they come together in a blaze of passion, pain, lies and love to break down those obstacles.
There's also a great cast of secondary characters who often help to alleviate the tension between Farah and Dorian. Many of them have enough of their own story peppered through the book to make you care for them as well.
Overall, I couldn't recommend this book more. I heartily enjoyed every moment of this story,even as I wept my wimpy little heart out- seriously I'm a total watering pot. But I challenge any person not to get emotional during this story; it's filled with so many warring emotions and heart-rending situations. I'll be looking forward to more from Kerrigan Byrne, that's for sure. She's whet my appetite for stories about the characters we've been introduced to here and I'm excited to see what else this author can produce.
*I received a review copy from the publisher, for my honest opinion. Thank you!