Danger in the air. Lovers on the brink.
And we’re back for another magical, dangerous and hot as sin story with Lucien and Stephen in the third book of the Charm of Magpies trilogy. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, you really need to do so or you would be rather lost – plus they are well worth reading! Lucien, Lord Crane, continues to be one of the hottest, most intelligent, carelessly elegant heroes I’ve had the pleasure to read about. While he possesses no magical talent of his own, his relationship with Stephen and their erotic encounters are a catalyst to boost Stephen’s powers.
Lucien, Lord Crane adjusted his ascot and contemplated himself in the mirror. His shirtfront was perfect, the close weave of the silk and linen blend utterly opaque and snowy white. His new suit, handmade… at staggering expense, was exquisitely fitted, a masterpiece of tailoring… his pale blond hair was sleek, his demeanour impeccable. In fact, he looked the very model of a correct English gentleman.
‘God, you’re a fop,’ said the naked man who lay behind him, sprawled in the tangled bedsheets Crane had recently vacated.
For his part, Stephen is adjusting to life with Lucien, still somewhat surprised that Lucien is actually continuing to stay in London despite hating the confines of society. Stephen’s work with the judiciary keeps him over-worked and under-paid, fighting against the paranormal villains.
This book brings back a villain from the first book, who is out for revenge against Lucien and Stephen, and it results in mayhem for all involved. There’s a creepy artist who can manipulate and torture people using portraits he’s painted of them, and an intriguing new character named Jonah who will have his own book. Merrick, Crane’s manservant/companion, is his usual snarky self:
“I’m the eighth Earl Crane and the twelfth Viscount Fortunegate. I don’t have to work the stove.”
“Two extra names and you can’t lift your arms any more. Bloody lucky they didn’t make you a duke too or you’d forget how to brush your own teeth.”
I enjoy the way Ms Charles writes these books – the relationship between Lucien and Stephen is so very believable, amidst the fantasy of the magic and the battles they have to face. The showdown, as it turns out to be at the end, involves all of the main characters and brings the staggering power of the Magpie Lord into play. And this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the magpie tattoos that take on life of their own, mainly when the two men come together for their erotic bedsport, but also in wildly different ways this time. It’s truly a unique idea!
All in all, I think I loved this book a wee bit more than the last one but all three are so good I was sorry to come to the end of the trilogy. I could happily read more of Lucien and Stephen’s adventures, both in and out of bed (the sex is on fire between these two). Or even a prequel with Lucien and Merrick in Shanghai – the tales Lucien spins of his past life sound quite amazing! Still, it wraps up in a satisfying way, that leaves you with a happy grin on your face and you can imagine the two of them carrying on in their life together. Two for joy, that would do very well indeed.
“But I do hope you are aware, my sweet, somewhere in that absurd heart, that I am ever, entirely, and quite pathetically yours.”