Series: Dark Gothic #1
Release date: November 1st 2005
Genres: New Adult, Historical, Gothic, Romance
Add to TBR: Goodreads
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Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he's a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate, where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances ... and the murders.
With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man ... or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?
Note: All books in the Dark Gothic series can be read as stand-alone novels.
The Faerie Queen’s review
I read Dark Desires as part of my challenge to read a different subgenre of romance each month, and the first month happened to be gothic romance, just in time for Halloween. I wasn’t entirely sure what “gothic romance” was going in, so I did some reading and basically got “old school mystery with a dark, dangerous, brooding hero”. Apparently, Jane Eyre falls into this category? Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
Anyway, I chose Dark Desires for two reasons:
- It was a fairly recently published gothic romance, and I really wasn’t feeling a desire to read old school stuff. Partly because I wanted steaminess. Don’t judge.
- Also, it was free on Kindle. Eve was doing the whole ‘make the first book free and they’ll come back to pay for the rest of the series’ trick. It might just work for me… Let’s see!
Full disclosure: I was going through a super depressed phase when I read this, and I read it instead of reading what I should have been or studying for an exam. In fact, the night before and morning of the exam were spent devouring the book instead of studying. I was so whacked out I couldn’t do any of the things I was supposed to, but Dark Desires managed to give me comfort in a weird, twisted sort of way.
Why twisted? BECAUSE THERE ARE BODY PARTS AND BLOOD EVERYWHERE. The book is about an anatomist (Damien Cole) and the girl he takes on to help around the house (Darcie Finch). Except that she ends up seeing disembodied hearts and things. Yeah. My morbid curiosity, like Darcie’s, was piqued. I mean, I had to study anatomy as part of my undergrad degree, and I still have all my textbooks and posters, including a very detailed photographic book of anatomy. So why the hell was I so squeamish about some of these scenes?! I guess I’ll put that down to Eve’s skill at freaking people out.
Dr. Cole had not been forthcoming as to the reason that a fresh corpse sat in his carriage.
Also, for most of the book, I was utterly, 100% convinced that Darcie should be running waaaaay away from Damien. CREEPTASTIC. It was only logic that told me that I had to be missing something, because this was supposed to be a romance novel in which, presumably, the heroine ends up living HEA with the hero. So again, props to Eve for messing with my head so well.
My biggest disappointment? You’re going to laugh at me now, I swear. I was sad that it wasn’t more steamy. I mean, the chemistry was pretty good, and there were a couple of ooh la la, get yourself a fan scenes. Oh, and innocent Darcie learned the value of a well-placed knee, if ya know what I mean. BUT I WANTED MORE, K! While the scenes were graphic, they were super short. So maybe some people will actually prefer this book to something more sustained; maybe I just need more heat than most people (while still having a plot). Literary nymphomania is a potential diagnosis. (If no one else has used that term before, I’m claiming it.)
“I want to do all manner of things to you, and have you do them to me. Wonderful things. Pleasurable things.” He ran the pad of his thumb across her lips. “Wicked things.”
I AM YOURS, DAMIEN.
But let me make this clear: I did enjoy the chemistry. There was definitely insta-lust, but the deeper feelings built over time. Damien was such a tortured soul, so he definitely fit into the whole gothic romance hero stereotype. However, he was also very caring, and he backed off when he believed his advances were unwanted. Hashtag gentleman. Also, he really respected Darcie and saw more to her as a woman than other men of the time. While other men thought women belonged in the home, popping out offspring, he saw no reason they couldn’t be pursuing medical careers.
“Do you know, Darcie, that it takes a good deal of thought for some medical students to reach that conclusion?”
“There are no women in medical school.” The observation slipped out before she had time to question the wisdom of opening such a Pandora’s box.
“No, there are not.” Their gazes met and held. Darcie sensed something in his expression. As he continued to watch her, she felt a warm wave ripple through her, a feeling of pleasure and confidence that blossomed and grew. “There are no women in medical school,” Damien repeated. “Yet.”
I did not expect the end at all. I mean, I knew Darcie was going to get herself in trouble, and she was completely reckless, but the how and who of it? Nope, didn’t see it until nearer the time. In all honesty, though, the end was a little weird, which made it more unexpected. It got a little bit rushed and…sloppy? I would have liked it more if mental health wasn’t suddenly used at the very last minute to take the blame. Own your evilness!
Overall, I had fun reading this, even if it made me queasy at times. Actually, it probably made me enjoy it more. If you haven’t read gothic romance and want something written in this millennium, I’d definitely give Dark Desires a go!
I would recommend this book to…
…anyone wanting to try gothic romance but preferring something more modern! Also, the desire to read about body parts being cut up and studied would help, even if it’s a very secret desire.