In A VERY PROPER MONSTER, Josephine Shaw spends long nights filling the pages of her Gothic stories with the fantastic and the macabre, unaware that the suitor her father has arranged is one of the dark creatures she’s always dreamed. For Tom Dargin, courting an ailing spinster was only one duty in a long life of service to his sire. But after he meets the curious Miss Shaw, will Tom become the seducer or the seduced? Can a love fated to end in tragedy survive a looming grave?
In GASLIGHT HADES, Nathaniel Gordon walks two worlds—that of the living and the dead. Barely human, he’s earned the reputation of a Bonekeeper, the scourge of grave robbers. He believes his old life over, until one dreary burial he meets the woman he once loved and almost married. Lenore Kenward stands at her father’s grave, begging the protection of the mysterious guardian, not knowing he is her lost love. Resolved to keep his distance, Nathaniel is forced to abandon his plan and accompany Lenore on a journey into the mouth of Hell where sea meets sky, and the abominations that exist beyond its barrier wait to destroy them.
Tom Dargin has been an immortal for 70+ years and by Patrick Murphy’s side for every single one of those years. As Patrick’s right-hand man, Tom is uniquely positioned to help Patrick build his growing empire and, eventually take over control of the Dublin area. One of the single most important steps in the building process is buying the Shaw’s shipping and mill interests but the buy isn’t going to come easily.
Old man Shaw has spent his life building his businesses and putting plans into place so his only daughter, Josephine is protected after he is gone. Patrick Murphy’s place among the vampire community is certainly on the rise but that status can change at any time. The ideal situation would see one of Murphy’s men married to Shaw’s daughter so there could be no contesting the sale/transfer of the business once the old man is dead and gone. Willing to do what he must to further his friend, boss, and sire’s interests, Tom agrees to marry Josephine is she will have him.
There just a few people in the world who really know who Josephine Shaw is. Much of the world sees her as the invalid daughter of a powerful businessman. In truth, Josephine is ill but she is much more than just the daughter of a businessman, she is also an accomplished writer known (under her penname, of course) for her macabre Gothic stories. Surrounded by books since she was a child, Josephine has translated her love of the written word into a career and only a very few know her true identity. Marriage has never been in the cards for Josephine Shaw but Tom Dargin changes everything! Tom is kind and gentle and shares Josephine’s love of literature. He keeps crazy hours just like she does and he doesn’t seem to mind that their time together will be so very limited.
Both Tom and Josephine know the score going into their marriage. What neither expected is the intense love that develops between them in a very short amount of time. For a vampire, protecting his or her mate is of the ultimate importance and when Tom all-too-soon faces losing Josephine, he makes the decision to meet the sun when she is no longer with him. The only possible way to save her is to turn her and that would take an act of mercy.
The Bottom Line: What a wonderful addition to the Elemental World series. Josephine is so delightfully weird that it would have been a real shame to allow her to die off. Hunter excels at writing characters/couples who balance one another and Tom and Josephine are no exception to this rule. Tom is strong and steady, smart yet cunning and totally in love with his Josie. Josephine is a woman far removed from her time and place and every one of her eccentricities is balanced by her mate. Her love of the macabre, her desire to see real vampires and creatures of the night is simply perfect and makes her transition from human to near-immortal all the more special. If ever there was a character who deserved a HEA, it is most definitely Josephine Shaw! In all, yet another fine addition to the ever-growing Elemental World series.