DARK ANGEL by TJ Bennett is a gothic fairy tale. This is
the first book I've read by TJ Bennett, but after reading
this story, I am eager to read other stories by this
author. I found DARK ANGEL fascinating to read because it's
not your average historical romance. Littered throughout
the book are wonderful gothic elements. Catherine Briton is
shipwrecked on an island with a very Shangri-La feel to it.
The secrets of the island of Ynys Nos are intriguing and
make for a great backdrop for all the magical things that
Catherine sees and experiences.
Catherine's rescuer and host on Ynys Nos is just as much a
mystery as the island itself. Gerard is a delicious and
complex hero: magical, very masculine, and powerful. He
is "Master" to the inhabitants of the island but I enjoyed
trying to figure out exactly how powerful he is, what
exactly he is, and what being "Master" entails. A Master
seems to be part magician and part caretaker of the local
populous. As much as he exudes a sort of dark sexuality, he
is also a healer and protector for the people of Ynys Nos.
The passionate and at times gentle, words of love and
devotion he says to Catherine are swoon-worthy. Catherine
is also a bit of a mystery. Her history is slowly revealed
bit by bit throughout the story, making her behavior easier
to understand. There are some painful things she's
experienced in her past that make her reluctant to trust
Gerard and grab at a chance of happiness. She is a woman
strengthened by her experiences and Gerard appreciates
that. They have trouble understanding each other at times,
in spite of the fact that they both harbor a heavy sense of
guilt for things that happened in the past. It is obvious
that they feel they don't deserve happiness to a certain
extent, and both struggle to let go and make peace with the
DARK ANGEL is a very sensual romance between two
flawed characters. I enjoyed the secondary characters of
Mrs. Howard and her
cousin Matthew Pangburn. Both of them had such compelling
stories of their own, and I would love to read about them
in the future. DARK ANGEL is a fascinating story, highly
erotic romance, intriguing supernatural tale, and gothic
mystery all rolled into one. I very much look forward to
reading more 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
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
In this scene from Dark Angel, my heroine Catherine Briton,
a former nurse who served in the Crimean Theater with
Florence Nightingale, has just washed up on the shore of
Ynys Nos, an island somewhere in the middle of the Irish Sea
—or so she believes.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.”
“I must move you,” he said. “Be brave.”
He lifted me and I cried out, my side screaming in agony.
He shifted me in his arms, tucking my head beneath his chin,
warming me with his body heat.
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.