She was an orphan plucked off the slums of 19th century New York by an unscrupulous con who taught her to steal for a living. But all Mystere really wants is to be free of the clutches of her devious ‘uncle’, find her long lost brother and trace her family legacy.
He was the orphaned heir to a ruined society elite who climbed back from near destitution to become one of gaslight New York’s rich ‘robber barons’. But what railroad magnate Rafe Belloch really wants is revenge on the Four Hundred whom he scorns for turning their backs on one of their own.
They first met in a dark alley where her accomplices held him at gunpoint while she relieved him of his money … and for fun, his clothes. He swore justice on the masked lady thief even as he committed the shape of her body and her blue eyes to memory.
Their paths crossed again two years later at a high society event. Only this time she’s disguised as a New Orleans miss making her debut in New York high society. No one, saved Rafe, ever suspected that she’s also the elusive jewel thief the newspapers christened Lady Moonlight … for even with her bosom bound and her lush womanly charms hidden under demure clothes, her unforgettable eyes betrayed her resemblance to another thief from his recent past. Their fates became inextricably bound as their dance around the truth begins …
With that kind of seductive plot and delicious character development, could you doubt that I wouldn’t get caught up? This sure is one emotionally charged romance, and McKinney weaves a powerful tale that vividly captures the setting of New York in the 1880s, allowing readers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy elite, as well as the poor.
Coming fresh from my binge on historicals set in England, this book was a fresh breath of air. The verbal sparring and matching of wits between the leads heightened the romantic tension that the author so expertly built. There were tender, poignant moments that left a lump in my throat, such as their profession of feelings towards each other, the one night of passion before Mystere stole away in order not to endanger Rafe’s life. The heroic rescue towards the end, as well as the love confession, were other high points that had me turning the pages. And re-reading the book immediately after finishing.
I love the two central characters. His forceful personality, and tenacious pursuit of her certainly gets my stamp of approval. Her spunky, gutsy determination to regain her freedom from an oppressive ‘guardian’ and selfless love for him touched me deeply. And one of the verses that had my eyes misting is this:
‘ … the truth is your wounded soul matches mine in every way. The only way we can mend is to be together.’
I’m definitely going to read another McKinney romance, cos she’s got the perfect balance of intrigue, passion and tension, while her strength in plot and character development makes for a highly enjoyable read. This is one author that I’ll be looking out for from now on, starting with the backlist.