Dark Angel by TJ Bennett:
When young widow Catherine Briton is washed ashore, the sole survivor of a violent shipwreck, all she wants is to go home to London. But injured as she is, she can't escape when a shadowy stranger rescues her and takes her to his castle—where she's healed with suspicious, almost magical speed.
The more time Catherine spends in the castle, the more her curiosity rises where her fiercely handsome new "master," Gerard, is concerned. As she begins to investigate, though, her discoveries only bring more questions. It seems Gerard isn't the only one on the island keeping secrets…
The small town is full of strange mysteries and townspeople who know more than they should about her. And when a hulking beast that stalks the nearby hills and valleys catches up to her, Catherine must figure out what's going on before it's too late.
About the Author
RWA Golden Heart nominee TJ Bennett writes outside-the-box historical romance with richly detailed settings and unusual subjects. Her varied background includes extensive travel as a military dependent in Europe; owning a consulting business; teaching college-level English; and working as a civilian contract negotiator for the US Air Force. TJ knows about the black moments in life, too, and uses it to enhance her writing. She believes nothing is ever lost, and no painful experience is in vain.
Read an Excerpt
A Gothic Fairy Tale
By TJ Bennett, Liz Pelletier, Shannon Godwin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 TJ Bennett
All rights reserved.
Somewhere on the Irish Sea
Death had courted me most of my life, but I was not prepared to make his formal acquaintance just yet. That is why, when I spied from the bow of my pitching lifeboat a tower silhouetted against the roiling storm clouds, I clutched at the image as though it were a talisman against my fate.
"Land ho!" The wind snatched my words away before any of the beleaguered passengers sharing my lifeboat could hear.
The curtain of fog shifted, revealing dark stones and a flickering light in the distance. Hope surged even as the raging gale tore my bonnet from my head, subjecting my coiled hair to the wind's violent lashing. I finished tying off a makeshift bandage around the lacerated scalp of an oarsman while I struggled to get a better view.
"Where, Mrs. Briton?"
"There! An island." I pointed again, even though I could no longer see it.
He narrowed his eyes, peering where I indicated. "Can't see anything. Not through this rain." He gave me a pitying glance. "Are you certain you saw something?"
"Yes —" I gasped as a wave smashed over the sides of the stalwart vessel, hitting me full in the face and leaving me drenched. The lifeboat listed to starboard like a drunken sailor, slamming me against the side before righting itself. My ribs ached from the impact. I swallowed seawater, my stomach threatening to rebel.
The oarsman reached out, steadying me. "Careful, ma'am. Wouldn't want ta lose you in this mess."
Holding my cloak an inch from my body while freezing water soaked it through, I lifted my chin. "It will take more than this bit of a rain shower to do me in," I assured him. I did not wish to worry him. He had been rowing against the storm for hours and he had enough to concern him. Exhaustion etched deep grooves into his otherwise youthful face.
With a nod, he went back to his rowing.
The gray mist obscured everything around us at its whim. Lightning streaked across the sky, and I caught a glimpse of a dark tower before the clouds curled in tendrils around the fleeting image, concealing it once more.
I threw a desperate glance at the captain, his white beribboned hat a landmark at the stern of the boat. Despite his mishandling of the Merry Widow, he remained our best hope for getting out of this storm alive. We had managed to survive. We would not die like the passengers of the other lifeboat.
We would not.
I had to tell him of the possibility of salvation, but there was no way he could hear me over the storm. With determination, I dragged myself against the roll and pitch of the boat past the remaining twelve passengers and crew to the captain's side.
"Captain, land ho! Off the starboard bow!" I had to shout to be heard. "I saw an island."
Gripping the tiller, the captain stared futilely at a compass whose needle rotated in gyrating circles inside its protective glass case. He cut me a glance, his face white with the effort of steering, and now with something else — fear. "You saw nothing, lass. There be no island there." He flicked a stark look over his shoulder in a hunted gesture. "Go back to your seat."
"I know what I saw." I pointed to where I had last sighted the tower. "Land. A tall tower and a light. We must make for it before this boat goes under."
He set his jaw. "I told you, there be no island. Get back to your seat, or I'll have you tied down for interfering with me duties."
I had no intention of returning to my seat. This man had no idea of my resolve, which would cut through his resistance like the two-edged sword that it was. The people on this boat needed shelter; several were injured. We must find refuge, and despite my upbringing as a proper English gentlewoman, I had learned the hard way that in order to defend the helpless and downtrodden, one must show more fortitude than those who placed obstacles in one's path. Right now, this man was an obstacle, and he would be overcome.
I drew myself up to my full five feet in height, throwing back my shoulders as I did when addressing the doctors I worked with who had little respect for the nurses who toiled beside them.
"See here, sir. You will find that I am not so easily dissuaded. If we survive this folly, you will also find I have friends who can pull your command out from under you." I finally had his attention, even if I was shamming. I had lost my highly placed friends years ago when I opted to serve our British soldiers in Turkey instead of choosing a life of privilege in London.
I moved closer in order to lower my voice. "If we stay out here, we will die. You know it."
He stared past me. "I'll not make landfall in these parts. Not for gold or glory. If it's death you fear, 'twill find you more surely back there than on this boat. I'll take my chances with the sea, thank you."
Another wave crashed over the side. I clutched his arm, my heart pounding. Soaked and sputtering, I glared at him. "Then you did see it."
"No." He stuck his face into mine. The terror in his narrowed gaze chilled me to the bone. "Only the dead or dying see that island. Only those who set sail and never return home see that island." His hand tightened on the tiller. "I — dinna — see it. Now go back to your seat!"
At that moment, someone screamed and the boat beneath my feet rose and rose — and pitched downward in a terrifying descent into Hell.
* * *
Sand. Wet and gritty beneath my cheek, between my fingers. My lungs seized.
I need air.
I sucked in a ragged breath, then coughed and choked as water arose from my belly and I became violently ill. The taste of salt and bile lingered on my tongue. A horrible, jagged pain lanced my side, and I gasped. Freezing surf rushed in, swirling around me, trying to drag me back into its depths.
I could not remain here, at the water's edge, where the sea had deposited me and now tried to suck me back into its yawning mouth. I made my limbs move despite the lethargy commanding me to lie down and die. The belled hoops of my sodden skirts fought my frantic attempts at freedom, and I dragged them sopping wet across the sand and seaweed.
I hurt. But I welcomed it because it meant I lived. Nothing else mattered.
I inched forward like a turtle toward higher ground, beating back the dark haze of oblivion so I might live a few minutes longer.
Finally, I could go no farther. If my life depended on it, and it very well might, I could not fight the feeling of a great weight pressing down upon me. I rolled over, staring at the storm clouds above. It must be nearing dusk, but the thunderheads blocked out the weak light of the setting sun, leaving day as dark as night. The rain had moved on, but the wind still wailed like a banshee.
The mist, cold and thick and wet, hung over the ocean and crept up onto the beach. Tendrils of it floated over me, caressing my hands, my legs, my face. Bitter cold touched my heart, and gray surrounded my vision. The pull of oblivion beckoned. My breath shuddered from my body, and slowly my heavy eyelids drifted shut in blissful surrender to Death.
Another wave crashed over me, causing me to sputter awake. The salt water stung my eyes. Twilight was bleeding into the darker black of night. Shouting in the distance made me turn my head. It pounded ruthlessly, bringing on an almost overwhelming nausea. Fighting it back, I blinked hard. A rush of wind rose above the sound of the waves and a shadow passed over me.
I tried to follow the shadow with my eyes. The mist parted, and for a moment, I saw something move along the edge of the shoreline: a sleek, powerful beast, its fur black as midnight, its pale gaze fixed on me, its enormous body swaying as it stalked closer.
Fear possessed me, made me dimwitted with terror. On the periphery of my vision, bobbing lights, far away shapes snaked down the beach toward me from the direction of the structure high on a hill — the one I had seen from the bow of the lifeboat before — before —
I stretched my hand toward the lights.
"Help," I cried weakly. "Help me, please! I am here ..."
My vision wavered again, and a dark form loomed over me. I tried to scream, certain the beast was about to lunge for me, but my lungs would not draw breath. I turned to face it, but the creature was gone. Instead, a man was there, reaching for me, his large hands clasping mine and pulling me just beyond the waterline and up onto the beach.
"I have you," he shouted.
Though the pain in my side stabbed at me, the waves no longer touched me, and the mist had disappeared. He hung over me, sheltering me from the biting wind. Intense eyes beneath a slash of dark brows stared down at me from a lean, striking face — a face hewn out of wilderness and shadows, more frightening than beautiful, and yet somehow both.
I closed my eyes.
It did not matter who he was. I was safe.
"How in bloody hell are you here?" The deep voice above me sounded utterly perplexed.
"How the devil did you accomplish it?"
I coughed out more water and said the only thing that came to mind. "Please do not — swear at me, sir." A spasm of pain seized me, and I flinched.
"Well," said the bemused voice. "You've spirit, at least. Good. You will need it."
My tenacious grip on consciousness loosened, and I fought to retain it. I looked up at him with a sense of urgency pushing me on. I had to warn him. "A wild animal ... I think — it might attack ... "
His unblinking gaze reminded me of the creature's fixed stare. "There was no animal when I arrived. You must have imagined it in your distress."
He leaned back on his heels and snapped out orders, giving sharp commands for my comfort to the others who had finally arrived. I squeezed my eyes shut as strong arms cradled me.
"I must move you," he said. "Be brave."
He lifted me and I cried out, my side screaming in agony.
He grunted. "Damned dress must have soaked up half the ocean. Why didn't you drown?"
A shiver tore through me, the cold wind biting into the wet layers of my clothing. "Would you have preferred it?" I asked, my teeth chattering.
That earned me a quiet laugh. He shifted me in his arms, tucking my head beneath his chin, warming me with his body heat.
The spicy scent of wood smoke and pine clung to him as if he spent most of his time out of doors. I turned my head, encountering warm skin beneath my cheek. He was not wearing a neck cloth. Instinctively, I pressed my face into the opening of his shirt, feeling comforted by the sturdy rhythm of the heartbeat beneath, by the scent of the underlying musk permeating his skin. It drew me, that scent, and I rubbed my nose against him in response. His arms tightened around me for a moment, a rampart against the storm.
I did not question my immodest action, did not feign a diffidence I could not feel. He represented warmth and protection, life and hope. I would cling to him like a barnacle to a hull if he would only make the terrible pain go away, banish the lingering horror of what I had endured beneath the water's depths as the sea had tried to murder me.
Memories assailed me of the captain's terrified face, of the futile push of oars against a raging sea, of bodies tumbling past mine in the water, of someone reaching out, capturing my hands, dragging me to the surface —
I struggled to lift my head and battle back the darkness long enough to ask him about my fellow passengers. My throat was raw with the seawater I had swallowed. I forced my head up. "Did you ... save the others?"
He paused in midstride, then resumed walking. I heard the great weariness in his voice when he spoke again.
"There are no others."
He gazed down at me, a dark angel pronouncing their fate. Shock flared through me, and despite the shimmering torchlight, I had only a hazy impression of the hard angles of his face, the exotic shape of his eyes, the blackness of his hair before the vision wavered and I plummeted into quiet, blessed oblivion.CHAPTER 2
Murmuring voices flowed toward me through the darkness, drifting like strands from a symphony heard through an open window. One of the voices belonged to my savior, of that I was certain, but the other was unknown to me.
I did not open my eyes, as the important task of bearing the pain that covered me like a mantle occupied the whole of my attention. I shoved at it with my mind, but it persisted; I may have moaned in response. Something cool pressed against my cheek, smoothed my forehead — it was a woman's touch. A cloth swept across my brow.
"Poor wee thing. It looks as though she was nigh unto being drowned," a female voice whispered.
A male voice rumbled in response.
I perceived that I lay indoors upon a hard, raised surface covered with soft blankets. The acrid smell of burning tallow hung in the air, and a soft light flickered beyond my eyelids. The mass of stiff material and steel hoops supporting my dress shifted and loosened. I cried out and arched my back as a blade of pain ripped through my side.
Were they trying to kill me? To finish what the storm had started?
"Take care," my savior's voice snapped.
"Master, we must get these wet things off her before she catches her death," the woman protested. Her voice sounded worn with age. "I'll need to clean the blood from her wounds." The woman's voice dropped into a conspiratorial whisper. "Then we will see what ye can do for her. Turn round and I'll prepare her for ye."
"She's practically half-dead. What bloody difference could my seeing make to her?"
There was a long pause. When he spoke again, his voice, to my distracted ears, sounded reluctant.
"Oh, very well," he grumbled.
From the sound of his footsteps, he moved away.
The woman shifted me and bright pain bloomed again, the blackness threatening to engulf me once more. I hovered on the edge of consciousness, praying for the void to come while my wounds were cleaned. The pain in my side made my breathing shallow, and I panted softly. Something warm and scratchy — another blanket — was draped over me.
"Master?" the woman called to him.
The footsteps returned.
"Feel there. Her ribs, perhaps?" she asked.
A large hand spread itself against my wounded side beneath the blanket.
"Yes," he said, his voice tight.
The warmth from his hand penetrated the fog of throbbing pain. I should have been shocked, or at the very least embarrassed by this stranger's touch on my bare skin. The pain eased. An odd coincidence, but my addled mind made the connection.
I opened my eyes barely a slit. He gazed down on me, his expression troubled, a deep frown of concentration furrowing his brow.
The gray mist of his gaze enveloped mine and blocked all else from the periphery of my vision. The untamed beauty of his face struck me even in my half-conscious state.
Another woman might have found his high cheekbones and exotic eyes excessively proud or the swarthy hue of his skin too foreign or the black slash of his eyebrows too authoritarian. Nevertheless, to me, he was beautiful like a wild thing was beautiful, some creature of the forest and the fields.
"Do not —" I barely croaked the words.
His frown deepened, and he leaned closer. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his hand against my side seemed to grow hotter by several degrees.
"I won't hurt you," he vowed, the fierceness of his expression belying the comfort in his words.
I tried again. "Do not let go," I managed, and saw him blink in surprise.
His head moved in a slow nod of understanding.
"Sleep," he commanded, and I closed my eyes in obedience to his one-word decree.
* * *
Consciousness returned by slow degrees, revealing itself in streaks of flickering light behind my closed eyelids. There was a familiar sound: windows rattling as the driving rain pelted against them. And a less familiar sound beneath that — an almost indiscernible breathing — indicated I was not alone. A scent lingered in the air, of wood smoke and heather and pine.
Excerpted from Dark Angel by TJ Bennett, Liz Pelletier, Shannon Godwin. Copyright © 2013 TJ Bennett. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A gothic romance novel. A well written story with a strong female lead, a supernatual yet believable plot, and a handsome love interest. A cheap and quick read- 300 pages
It was difficult to put this creepy, atmospheric read down--even though the plot is fairly slow-moving, the story never felt as if it was dragging. On the contrary, the pages practically turned themselves. There are a lot of spooky clues and details to pick up on as you go, and more than a few surprises as well. There is a definite Beauty and the Beast vibe going on here--even down to the detail of the fabulous library within the castle (which of course is the most crucial part of the Beauty and the Beast story, right?). Overall, I loved this book and cannot wait to read more from this author. My only complaint is with the ending--it is fairly abrupt, and tends a bit toward the info-dump end of the spectrum. I would have liked to have seen the conclusion unfold more gradually as the rest of the story had. Still, this is one story that had me completely engrossed, and looking forward to Ms. Bennett's next offering! A- rating. I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
booksbysteph says "Talented Author; Captivating Story" After their ship sank somewhere in the Irish Sea, Catherine Briton tried telling the Captain of her lifeboat that she saw land. The Captain denied her claims, saying, "[o]nly the dead or dying see that island." After the lifeboat capsized, Catherine felt someone pull her to the beach of the island. When she opened her eyes she saw "a sleek, powerful beast, it's fur black as midnight." When she heard a commotion, Catherine tried calling for help. "'How the bloody hell are you here?' [A] deep voice above [Catherine] sounded utterly perplexed. 'How the devil did you accomplish it?'" Catherine soon finds out that she is the only survivor who washed up on the shore of Ynys Nos, Welsh for the Dark Island. She learns that "all the inhabitants of this [island] have been suspended in time and have ceased to age[.]" Catherine was "the real first contact [they] have had with the outside world in many years." A hundred years in fact. "No one ever leaves the Dark Island." Catherine is stuck on a mysterious island under the supervision of a man the residents called Master. I GIVE THIS BOOK: 5 Stars An extremely talented author pens an intriguing and captivating story. Ynys Nos may not exist but this author brought it to fruition. To me, the Dark Island existed. Well placed detail, that did not distract from the story, created a real yet mystical image. I could feel the fog closing in around me and the terror of the inability to see past the nose on my face. The fog is a character in itself but you do not realize it. The two main characters, Gerald and Catherine, are hot tempered and full of passion in the sense of what they believe and who and what they stand for. Two stubborn people so concerned about their own agenda to realize what is right in front of them. The author stuck true to the era of each character: Catherine in the mid 1800s and the inhabitants of the island in the 1700s. The idea Catherine gave the resident gynecologist had me in fits of laughter. And the ending of this book shocked me. An end that I never saw coming. I hope this is the beginning of a series. The author could take this story and build so much on it. Until next time, live life one page at a time!
Yesterday I finished Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy by T. J. Bennett. Let me first tell you that it's a Gothic story by all accounts that make a Gothic story what they are. Yes, it does have the air of gloominess and mystery, which are key elements to a Gothic romance. To say the least Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy wouldn't a light easy read. Oh no, mystery and intrigue would be your best bet. The story wouldn't be complete without a strong and equally stubborn heroine. At the beginning, we don't see Catherine Briton as this strong and stubborn woman until the story start to progress. She starts to realize that she can never leave island. Where there is a strong and equally stubborn woman there must be an even more strong and equally stubborn man. After all, our heroine can't have no willy-nilly hero, Gerard. Now Gerard is the master of this mysterious island that Catherine has landed on. A masterfully written story with dark undertones that will captive the imaginations of most readers. Yes, Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy tale isn't your walk through the park kind of read. However, a visually stunning read even if it's a dark read. Those who are drawn to Beauty and the Beast kind of stories will find Dark Angel: A Gothic Story an interesting take of that particular fairytale. Overall, I found Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale a marvelous read, but taxing. This story isn't for the faint of heart (more like those who love happy stories). Granted the story does have a happy ending, but it's a little darker and the sun isn't going to magically appear and the story becomes bright and cheery. Not going to happen, so if you don't mind a story that leads you into a little gloom, you might enjoy Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale. Copy provided by the publisher
***Received from Entangled Publishing for an honest review*** Shipwrecked and injured, Catherine finds herself on the island of Ynys Nos where she is taken in and healed by the island's master, Gerard. Told she cannot leave Ynys Nos, because those that come never leave, Catherine gathers her wits and strength and goes searching for a way to leave. After all, she has children to care for in London. Staying on Ynys Nos is not an option. Gerard and Catherine make an amazing pair in this story. Gerard is shrouded in mystery. He's possessive, demanding, and arrogant at times. But underneath all that lies the heart of a man who cares for his island, for the people on his island. And Catherine's no weeping willow. She's curious, but strong and feisty. I love that she's not easily bowled over by Gerard's charm, neither is her curiosity easily satisfied by placating answers. This novel is told from Catherine's point of view. As such, we are not granted access to Gerard's thoughts, but they, in my opinion, are not needed. Ms. Bennett did such a beautiful job of describing everything in this story that I felt like I was there in Catherine's shoes, experiencing her new world like she was. An amazing tale of intrigue, suspense, romance, and magic, this was an excellent afternoon read for me. I have not had the pleasure of reading any of Ms. Bennett's other works, but if they are anywhere close to the level of storytelling in "Dark Angel", I can't wait to read them.
Catherine Briton and death are old friends, after losing her family to illness; Catherine became dedicated to helping people avoid death. When her ship heading to England runs into a storm she and a small band of survivors are on a lifeboat and trying to survive the crashing waves. Catherine spots and island but she is the only one that can see it. When the lifeboat overturns, Catherine awakes to find herself on a mysteries island, which seems to be full of secrets. Gerard, the master of the island heals Catherine and makes her a guest in his home. Catherine is informed that there is no way off the island and even if there was her life would never be the same again. The island is full of secrets and the biggest belong to Gerard, will Catherine be able to uncover them all without getting hurt in the process? I loved the story, the plot was very intriguing and kept me entertained throughout, would be a wonderful Halloween read.
This is a really good story. I did have a hard time getting into it, but after a few chapters it grabbed my attention and held on until the end. Catherine Briton is a young widow traveling back home to London when a storm destroyed the boat she was on. She is the only survivor to wash up on the shore of the island that no one ever claims to see while out on the ocean. She knows she has injuries, but after the stranger who found her took her to his castle and checks her for injuries, all the pain in her body eases. She starts to notice strange things that are happening on the island, but when she asks questions she never seems to get an honest answer. Gerard is the ‘master’ of the island. He has the most secrets out of everyone she’s met, and Catherine is determined to uncover as many as possible. As she and Gerard spend time together they start to become closer, and she hopes that will cause him to open up to her. What’s more unnerving is how everyone on the island seems to know quite a bit about her when she hasn’t told anyone about herself. There are more and more mysteries as the days pass, and no one will explain the beast that seems to be following her whenever she is out during the day. Will Catherine ever return to London, or will she be stuck on the strange island forever? I received an e-ARC of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely love Gothic romances. Especially those set on a mysterious island, with mysterious people, and a mysterious atmosphere. So, the basic equation for things like this is: This Book + Me = Instant Love. Simple as that. Sadly, the literary world is filled with unpredictability, and over 50% of the time, this isn't the case. But, because of all the good karma I racked up in the past few weeks, the universe decided to do me a huge favor and make this book likeable. Catherine almost drowns in a violent storm, but luckily, she winds up on an island. However, this island is supposedly cursed, and anyone who's on it never returns. Stubbornly determined to get back to England, she believes she is prepared to get past everything in order to return to the orphans she takes care of. For the first half of this book, I loved almost everything. There was this atmosphere of unknown, and it was utterly compelling. After half-way, though, the writing got lazy and I found myself bored. In most books, there's one out of two female protagonist: There's the sweet, innocent, boring Mary Sue, or there's the stubborn, fighting, and so obstinate that it gets annoying Mary Sue. Both are the epitome of perfection, just shown in different ways. Catherine was the second type, and for me, that's the type I like better. She was a nurse, and she basically believed that she knew everything there was to know about medicine. Specifically, the class known as Human Growth and Development. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I'm talking about the manufacturing of historic condoms. Condoms. And it wasn't even the out of the blue spout about the magical thing called safe sex. Oh no, it was the intended conversation about goat intestines being shaped into these lovely objects. And the marketing of them. Go ahead. Call me a prude. But you have not read Catherine's rant about condoms. But hey, I now have an interesting dinner conversation: Ah yes, the French were a great inventor of many things. Take, for example, how they stretched a goat's intestines to fit over a humans's- yeah, no. Anyways, moving on from those pointless paragraphs to the rest of the characters. Particularly Gerard, who's name I can't say out loud for some reason. You know who he reminds me of? Jericho Barrons, from the Fever series. But, just not as awesome. Don't get me wrong, he's still pretty amazing, but- I don't know- I just didn't really like him as much as I thought I would. Probably because for some insane reason, I can't say words with two "r"s in them with less then a letter in between. Also, I cannot, in any way possible, picture a "Gerard" as some insanely sexy person. It just doesn't happen in my mine. Sadly, though, Gerard was not the only thing I couldn't pronounce. There was the name of the island- Ynys Nos. I hate, for some strange reason, things I can't say out loud. Parts of the book were just too predictable for me- particularly towards the end. The "mystery" was so obvious that I couldn't help but take short breaks to recover from some characters' stupidity. Other than that long list, though, the book was actually pretty good. The library description alone was enough to give it three stars. There was enough character development to make it seem real, the atmosphere was suspenseful, and even secondary characters seemed interesting. This was a well written retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I will definitely be reading more of Bennett's work.
I usually don’t like to read adult fairy tales but this one I like. It made me change my mind. I really like Catherine & gerard. they were perfect for each other. there was some twist & turns.
Catherine Briton has been courted by Death for as long as she can remember. Now it looks like he will claim her when her ship sinks during a horrible storm, but there is a miracle! She is saved by a dark mysterious man when she washes up on the beach of an uncharted island. His name is Gerard and he is the Master of the Dark Island. He lives alone in a great mansion. He seems to have everything but he is tormented by secrets. The attraction between Catherine and Gerard is potent. When they are together the fire burns strong, but the island's dark past stand between them. Why can no one leave? What of the wild beast that roams the night? Dark Angel is a compelling love story of mystery and magic. I love Catherine and Gerard. Their romance combined sexual attraction and dark tragedy. Love and trust did not come easy to these two souls but when it did I was transfixed. A wonderful story that retells the tale of Beauty and the Beast. I couldn't put this book down. It truly is a darkly beautiful Gothic Fair Tale.
Find this review and more at Lusty Penguin Reviews! Dark Angel—A Gothic Fairy Tale, by TJ Bennett, perfectly blends a Victorian historical romance and a mystery with bone-chilling paranormal elements that complete draw the reader into this page-turning novel. Vividly revealing the details of Ynys Nos, the Dark Island, and those that reside on the island, Bennett has a graceful writing style that shines throughout making readers feel like they are on the island too. Using first person voice, Bennett beautifully tells this story through the eyes of Catherine Briton. Recently widowed, Catherine focuses her life on helping society’s disadvantaged children. Fate has other plans for Catherine’s future when she is the sole survivor of a shipwreck and trapped on Ynys Nos. Gerard, the master of the island, informs Catherine that there is there is no way to leave the island, and she is now a permanent resident. Not letting Gerard’s words to deter her, Catherine remains stubbornly determined to return to London and get back to helping the children, which I loved about her. Gerard captures the imagination as a charismatic protagonist with a mysterious edge about him. In Gerard, Bennett masterfully creates a strong, dominant, and arrogant character who is also a passionate lover, making him a delicious alpha male. Strong-willed, Catherine is the perfect partner for him since she will not put up with his attitude and stands up for herself, which I just adored. Sparks fly between the two and they verbally lock horns as Catherine adjusts to being on the mysterious island. Completely captivated by the reoccurring fog and the fearsome predator within it, I needed to find a blanket to stay safe and warm. Entertaining characters, intriguing paranormal creatures, and plenty of plot twists lead to the dramatic conclusion that I didn’t see coming but absolutely loved! With hints of Beauty and the Beast, Dark Angel—A Gothic Fairy Tale is an emotional and gripping novel. I received an eBook copy of the book for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
DARK ANGEL is a sumptuous, Gothic-inspired, fairy tale romance. If you like strong heroines, tortured heroes, sizzling romantic tension, and a well-written story, this might be the book for you. I’ll admit this right off: I’m not the biggest fan of romance or romantic relationships. I almost always criticize them, because I’m picky. But books published by Entangled have never let me down. DARK ANGEL is no exception. The book's style might take some getting used to, because the author is very descriptive. I like that sort of writing when it's done well, and I thought it was done well here. The lush descriptions help set the scene, as well as build the characters of Catherine and Gerard. I want to say it's almost Victorian in style; I can't say for sure, not having read books written in that era. DARK ANGEL starts off strong and dangerously, with Catherine in a lifeboat in the middle of the sea. Overboard after a disaster, she sees an island, or thinks she does. When she entreats the captain to set sail for the island, he refuses to, for only the dead and dying see it. After the lifeboat turns over, Catherine wakes up to find herself on the shores of that island, and that's where the real story begins…. The island, Ynys Nos, is like no other place Catherine has ever seen. And for an English gentlewoman, she's seen quite a lot, having given up her privileged life to help the less fortunate. She was even a nurse in the Crimean War. But even more compelling than the mysterious island is its master, Gerard. Gerard takes Catherine into his home, sparking off an intense battle of wills between the two. There's an immediate attraction between them, but Catherine fights it every step of the way. Gerard does everything he can to make her give in. There is PLENTY of blazing romantic tension, which is something I enjoyed. Gerard is the epitome of a tortured, dark hero, with so many secrets that he needs a vault the size of Fort Knox to keep them all. He's an alpha male, supremely confident in himself and in his ability to seduce Catherine. Usually such confidence and a "you're mine" attitude bugs the heck out of me, but I liked it here. It just fit the overall story. Plus, his vulnerabilities helped balance out the alpha attitude. Beneath the big strong male, there’s a little boy who grew up without friends and the weight of the island on his shoulders. DARK ANGEL has a mystery behind the romance, and a few paranormal touches. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, and it also influences the book. Overall, it’s a very atmospheric read. I sometimes thought I was on the island, following Catherine as she tried to figure out all the mysteries and gets answers for Gerard’s secrets. The ending did leave me wanting a little more, but that was mainly because I didn’t want to leave Catherine and Gerard’s story. The book does move along a bit slowly, due to the descriptive writing and setting everything up, but that wasn’t a con for me. I was too caught up in the mystery of Ynys Nos, as well as the growing relationship between Catherine and Gerard. I’d recommend DARK ANGEL if you like romances, historical fiction, or paranormal. There’s a little something for everyone here. == Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was a good but I just couldn't stay interested enough to stay focused for a lot of people this will be a great book but for me it was ok.
This book was a nice twist on the Beauty and the Beast . I really enjoyed the Catherine and Gerard characters they were really well written. Catherine has a great fiery spirit that refuses to be crushed no matter how many tragedies seem to befall her she will always fight for what she believes in and Gerard is a man used to getting his way yet troubled by past events in his life he tries to control everything in it now including Catherine. It was great to see how they interacted. I would definitely recommend this book
Delightfully creepy, dark, and romantic, Dark Angel was a wonderful Gothic romance. It was deep, dark, intense, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Loved this book! Catherine was a strong heroine. She has had a tough time, but has made the best of it. Not only that, but she turned a tragedy into something good-a home for abandoned children. She's very devoted to her work and a force to be reckoned with when she was determined to have her way. I really liked her. She was strong, clever, and selfless. Occasionally, her stubbornness was frustrating. But, otherwise, I thought she was a great character. Gerard was a puzzle. He's the master of the island, but we don't really know much about him at first. Then, as we find out more, he gets even more puzzling, right up until the full truth is revealed. He definitely had a lot of secrets. After a few of them were given up, I started to suspect what was really going on, but it most of it still took me by surprise. But, beyond the enigma he presented, he was wonderful. He was very sweet and devoted to his people and to Catherine. I thought he was perfect and I adored him. The romance was intense. When Catherine and Gerard fell in love, they fell hard. And all the secrets made the whole thing even more tumultuous. These two were very sweet together. Despite all the secrets, their feelings for each other were always constant. And, they weren't afraid to act on them, with all the chemistry going on between them. There was definitely some steaminess going on there. I thought they were a lovely couple. The plot was fast paced. I was hooked the entire way though. The mystery of what was going on had me on the edge of my seat, and I was taken by surprise when I finally found out. I really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was perfect. Dark Angel was a brilliant read! It was dark, creepy, and romantic. In other words, a perfect Gothic romance. I loved every bit of this book. Romance lovers, if you want something different that will have you hooked, then you definitely need to read this. *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Catherine and others are on a boat and while on this life boat she sees something. The captain tells her that she sees nothing and neither does he... for if you do see something you NEVER return! Next thing she knows she is trying to survive from drowning. She sees something- A man is there and helps her. The gentleman is mysterious and authoritative, but she won't allow any man to dominate her! She calls him Gerad and wants to know his secrets that he is hiding. Caring/friendship is established but can he return her affection or will the beast get her 1st? Gerad finds Catherine at the edge of the water on his Island. He allows Catherine to call him Gerad rather than Master as others do. He is dominating and bossy but is really enjoys Cat's personality, attitude, looks, spunk and more! He asks for time for her to let him open up and learn to tell her things... but can he ever tell her his true feelings before lies and beasts get her? This was a unique storyline. I was intrigued from the 1st page to the very end!! I finished this book all in one setting and couldn't put it down! It was a breath of fresh air with beasts, boats, people's perceptions, dominant males, strong willed women, deception and more! If you love fairy tales, sexy men, beasts/animals, strong women, love, friendships and more then you will love this story! I loved this book and would definitely read another book by this fabulous author! Well done! ** I received a copy of this book by Entangled Publishing for an honest review**
Dark Angel. TJ Bennett. Well, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book – seemed to be a sort of mystery romance. Well, it was, and it was so much more too! Catherine is the only person from a shipwreck to get washed up on an island off the Irish coast. She's desperate to return home, but the islanders seem so secretive about her chances of that, try to put her off whenever she raises the topic, and are keen to involve her in life on the island and accept a place there. There's so much they aren't telling her, and she needs to know more to get back home. Why are they keeping secrets about her chances of getting home? She can't understand the rationale as they all seem very keen to help her in other ways and delighted to meet her. Then there's Gerard, handsome and inscrutable owner of the castle. He healed her with incredible speed, and yet any questions about that or anything else she's curious about he deflects cleverly. There's a simmering attraction between them, but all the while she has in her mind the need to get to London and her responsibilities. When some of the secrets are revealed she simply can't believe them, passes them off as superstition, but what about the mysterious fog that comes in so quickly, and the dangerous Beast that stories tell roams the island. Its a great story, enough conundrums and enigmatic secrets to keep the reader guessing just where the story is going, along with the slowly developing romance between Gerard and Catherine. What’s going to happen? Will she get off the island and return to London – and if she has the chance, how will she leave Gerard if the blossoming romance does go further? All questions that get answered – but not at all in the way I expected. The ending came as a real surprise and yet – it fitted the story so well. When I began reading somehow the style reminded me of the Victoria Holt novels I devoured as a teen, but as the plots moved on it became a much more individual and interesting narration than the stories I remembered. I think its the sort of gentle, historical setting, and the air of mystery about the story that prompted my musings. Certainly the whole of the story is much more personal and interesting, moving and emotional, and with enough mystery to give me the shivers at times, but not to frighten me off – I'm easily scared sadly, so anything more than the slightest hint of spook and my mind is away and summoning up depths that terrify me :) makes my kids and grand-kids laugh when I can't even watch kids films cos they scare me.... ARC provided via Netgalley Stars: I've had a real roll of good reads recently and this is yet another five!
I fell in love with this book. As I write this review, I have literally just read the last few words of Dark Angel and am absolutely besotted by the words within. T.J. Bennett blends paranormal, fantasy, romance and historical fiction into a beautiful novel filled with mystery and heat. Catherine finds herself trapped on an island where time has little meaning. While she tries to discover a way off the island, she ends up discovering much about the land that time seems to have forgotten. Catherine is everything you could want in a female character within historical fiction – proper and ladylike yet spunky and strong. She refuses to back down, to be lorded over, and her determination to uncover the mysteries of Ynis Nos leads readers on a captivating journey of fantasy and mystery. Having saved her from death, Master Gerard quickly becomes wrapped up in everything to do with the beautiful Catherine. She tends to throw him off-balance, correcting his mistakes and refusing to accept his domination. They’re interactions are filled with tension, often lusty and angry. But Gerard also has a caring side, a slightly vulnerable side, and it makes him all the more enjoyable to get to know. I give Dark Angel 4.5 stars. A wonderful addition to the library of any paranormal or historical fiction lover, T.J. Bennett’s mysterious and romantic writing will keep you up late at night as you devour her words.
A young widow is washed ashore to an island frozen in time. The occupants of the island try to keep it from her knowledge that they are hundreds of years old but not aging. She is curious to know what secrets are being held on this island and why she can't get off back to the orphans she has been helping. The Master of the island is keeping a deep dark secret that he is afraid will scare her away forever, but thinks she might be the one to save him. This book is a great read, I ended the book wanting to know more.
This was an interesting read for me. I'm more of a contemporary reader. So reading what in essence is a historical fairy tale was a big change. I thought it was well written and I would have no problem trying something else by this author. Catherine wakes on the shore after the ship she was on was destroyed in a storm, and the life boat suffered the same fate. She awakens first to the sight of a large animal some distance away and as she tries to focus her eyes a man comes into her vision. He picks her up, and takes her away to care for her injuries. When she wakes, she meets the man who rescued her, Gerard. He treats her injuries, and tries to make her stay comfortable.He informs her that people are unable to leave the island. She refuses to believe this is true, and is determined to find her way back to London to the childrens home she ran. As she tries to find out more information about the island and its inhabitants in an effort to leave, she notices a lot of strange things happening. People are reluctant to tell her about them but they all seemed to be linked to Gerard especially when Catherine is in the company of other men. Gerard is very possessive of Catherine. As Catherine tries to uncover the islands secrets, she also becomes closer to Gerard. I did enjoy the story, but I was at times puzzled by Gerard's behavior. I get that he played the part of tortured hero, but at times the things he said were so cutting that it put him at odds with other things he said. It's an interesting story and I would recommend it to people, especially those who read a lot of this genre.
This is a haunted fairy tale that's also a mystery....and a little bit Brigadoon, Lost Horizon and Beauty and the Beast. It has a lot of twists and turns but also a strong heroine and a tortured hero ( who you just have to love) and it's an enjoyable read. I recommend it.
This book was different but in a good way. Catherine has face death a couple of times but alway managed to pull through and live. Catherine has watched her husband and daughter die and she lives on to help other children in need. On her way back from a trip her boat capsized and she though she was dying. She ends up on ynys nos. she meet Gerard, who took her in and helped her get better. Every one called Gerard, Master. Catherine wasn't going to, she didn't call anyone master. She knew something was going on but she didn't know what, so she wanted to go to town to find out. She went to town and they told her that ynys nos was a place that people didn't age, there was no way off the island and they have been there for 100 years. She didn't believe them at first, all she wanted to do was find away to go back home. Gerard wanted Catherine for himself and was jealous of her spending time with other people. Gerard had secrets of his own that he didn't want to tell but Catherine has a way of getting what she wants and in the end their chemistry wins.