Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London #3)

Winterblaze by Kristen CallihanAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Pam

Once blissfully in love . . . Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . . .

Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test. Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

The first time Winston Lane sees the striking woman at the train station he knows she is the one for him. From that day forward after meeting Poppy his life changed completely. Winston was nineteen and already set in his ways, bookish, orderly and logical and for a woman to make such an impact on his life was extraordinary.

Winston and Poppy have been married for fourteen years, however something has happened and he left her without asking for explanations. He felt betrayed and that their life together was a lie.

Winston was attacked and left for dead one night and when he found out Poppy was with the SOS and there are strange creatures living among humanity, he had not even waited for the details, he just left her. Ian and Archer had harassed him to stay at Ranulf House to get well and train his body. They’d taught him how to fight, both with his hands and with a sword.

Poppy was meeting her sister, Daisy and Mary Chase in her office which was very unusual, Daisy had only recently found out who she was. Mary was a GIM (Ghost in the Machine) as was Daisy, they were the best spies there are, as they learn and secret away bits of information until they find out the truth. Daisy wants Mary to meet Mother, the head of The Society for the Suppression of Supernatural’s or SOS, an organization whose purpose is to keep the world from learning the truth, that monsters were real. Mother was someone no one was ever to meet however two GIM’s now know Poppy’s secret.

Mary’s service as a GIM was over and she wants to be a Regulator. A tough life as a fighter and often a short one as they come face to face with things that give monsters nightmares. Daisy tells her that Mary knows who Poppy is and that Mary would be a good companion as well as protector. So Poppy tells Mary that she has her chance as a Regulator and to get ready as a demon has just escaped his prison.

Poppy finds out that Winston is on holiday in Paris, she is shocked as he always hated Paris. He went there after he beat a suspect almost to death several weeks ago. The CID, which was Winston’s life let him go and he is a little lost. Win had given up everything to become an inspector, including being cut off from his family. Now Win is coming back to London on one of Archer’s ships, so Poppy rushes to meet him because she believes he is in danger, telling him that a demon is coming for him. When last she knew the demon he went by the name of Lord Isley. She thinks he got the identity from an Earl he had murdered. Demons can change their appearance to suit their needs by using someone’s blood, so you can’t trust anyone. Years ago, Poppy put Isley in prison as he had killed her mother. Miranda and Daisy think their mother died shortly after giving birth to their brother, but Poppy knows the truth. Now that he is free, Isley sends her a message saying that he is going to take something of hers and destroy it.

The demon (Jones, Isley) finds Winston on board the ship and he tells him that he is a grantor of bargains in exchange for souls. And he has come to collect his due. Fourteen years earlier Winston signed a contract he does not remember signing, the demon says that part of the process is that he forgets about the whole transaction. Winston remembers losing himself to the power of Absinthe in his early days, because he had wanted a woman that he could not have, so Jones gave him a new life, to be rid of the family responsibilities and have Poppy. Winston is confused because he thought that all this time his father had disowned him – in reality his family thought he was dead. Because

Win had cheated death earlier, he was in breach of contract, therefore the grantor can take the soul of the first born, however the demon is willing to bargain as there is something he wants, a woman by the name of Moira Darling.

He has four days to complete the task and tells Poppy about the meeting also telling her how he feels, like a hypocrite, he left Poppy because she lied to him and yet he feels he has done something ten times worse.

As they work toward finding the secret of Moira Darling, Win and Poppy must find the trust they once felt for each other, they must work through the anger, betrayal and hurt they both are feeling. The danger they face is overwhelming and they realize that others are also in trouble. They send Mary to find Jack, the shifter, since the being inside his body is not him, they find him almost dead. Poppy also must be completely honest with her sisters and tell them the whole story as there are new details that come to light that even Poppy did not know about until recently.

What a great addition to this series. I have been looking forward to Win and Poppy’s story since Moonglow. Winston and Poppy are truly made for each other and it is heartbreaking to watch them struggle with feelings of betrayal. You just want to slap Win sometimes as he seems so uptight and when he realizes he may have committed the same type of mistaken he still has trouble with his feelings about Poppy. However Poppy is also very stubborn. I felt the story was compelling and engrossing and will keep you turning the pages until the end. There are several twists and turns and some surprising revelations in the end. Jack’s story is next and what a tale that will be.

I give Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan 4.5 stars!

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