by Mia Marlowe
Series: The Order of MUSE #0.5
Pub. Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Select
Source: Entangled / Netgalley
Wherever Cassandra Darkin goes, fire is sure to follow. It's not until she's swept into the arms of a handsome, infuriating stranger that she learns she's responsible for the fires. As it turns out, Cassandra is a fire mage...and with her gift comes a blazing desire for sins of the flesh.
With his pretenatural ability to influence the thoughts of others, Garrett Sterling is sent to gather Cassandra for the Order of the M.U.SE. He's entirely unprepared for his immediate attraction to the comely little firestarter. But it's an attraction that he must quell, even as his body craves her touch and her fiery, sensual hunger.
For Garrett's gift has a dark side...and the moment he begins to care too much for Cassandra, he knows he will doom her to an inescapable fate.
I don't read many paranormal historical romances, other than those involving time travel. I'm not sure why - but I don't like the mixing of the genres as much. That being said, this a nice little quick read. It kind of made me think of a historical X-Men or A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. You have the Order of the M.U.S.E. - a group of individuals with psychic or "sensual" abilities. These individuals served to protect the monarch, or I imagine the public in general as the series progresses.
The time period of this book is Regency England, and it felt like the book was more historically detailed than supernatural (if that makes sense). We got to experience the Bon Ton, Almack's, period dress, Prinny, and a bit of scandal and suspense. The supernatural element was limited to lesser details of the MUSE's abilities - it was a light touch, not overwhelmingly paranormal.
One aspect of the book that was a little outside of the historical norm was the sensuality element. Our heroine, Cassandra, has come into her powers as a fire mage. This has some interesting side effects... mainly that Cassie's passion burns as hot and fast as her fire power. As Garret, Lord Stanstead, is paired up with Cassie to help her, er, release some tension, a sweet romance between the two unfolds. The relationship felt a tad superficial sometimes, but I liked both characters well enough and enjoyed reading about their blossoming romance.
There were no really bad villains in the story - not like we are accustomed to seeing in the standard paranormal where the main characters are going up against the big bad of the story. But there are some interesting secondary characters, all with some sort of ability, that I think will be paired up in future installments. The Duke and Vesta most likely, and maybe Meg with the bedlamite guy (can't remember his name).
The title is a bit of a misnomer as the story focused more on Cassandra than it did Lord Stanstead... and his "curse" is not resolved or explained overmuch. I look forward to reading more about the various abilities we ran across from fire mages to telepaths to finders to time thiefs. It all sounds very interesting, and I will continue on with the series.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Entangled in exchange for an honest review.