by Ronda Thompson

November 2005
ISBN: 0-312-93573-0
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Although the phrase, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” was used to describe Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb may have been speaking about the notorious Wild Wulfs of London. These four brothers are nearly shunned by polite society because of the suicidal madness of both their parents. However, mental illness is not the root of their despair - they are cursed.

Love is supposed to soothe the savage beast, but in their case, it activates the spell that invokes their namesake. Resigned to a solitary existence, three of the brothers have retreated to the country, leaving only the oldest, Armond, to live in the shadows of the glittering ton. An unsolved murder in his stables has added to his mystique, and even his rugged good looks cannot overshadow his notoriety.

In a rare appearance at a society event, Armond is approached by Lady Rosalind Rutherford with a scandalous request. She wants to be ruined. In fact, she is desperate to foil her stepbrother’s scheme to marry her off like a prize broodmare. He has already squandered her fortune, and now that her father has died, she has no one to protect her from Franklin’s machinations. Armond is struck by her loveliness, and vows to be a gentleman. Obviously, she has made a wager with some dim-witted girl about bearding the lion (or wolf) in his den. She does make his blood run hot, though, and a few liberties may teach the young miss to be careful about her requests in the future.

Armond does her no favor by witholding her disgrace. Her sadistic stepbrother is livid about her interest in such an unsuitable man, and is quick to punish her for her disobedience. Since they are neighbors, Armond quickly learns that all is not well at Rosalind’s house, and that she is in desperate need of protection. Can he keep his heart isolated from his chivalric nature long enough to help her? Will her generous spirit and tempting form be his undoing?

Author Ronda Thompson has begun an exciting quartet of stories with The Dark One. Almost gothic in its depths, this story will have you riveted from the very first page. Armond is a most noble hero, his solitude a prison. Rosalind brings the light into his life and opens his heart to the healing power of love. We see a few glimpses of two other brothers, just enough to tease the reader into hoping their stories arrive soon.

Reviewed in October 2005 by Paula.

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