The Count’s Lair
by Stephanie Burkhart
Count Anton Varga is haunted by the curse of the moon. It tugs on his emotions, ravishing his soul. Anton abhors the beast he must learn to tame if he is to find peace.
Lady Amelia Andrassy is an accomplished pianist, but her life in Budapest has been filled with heartache. When Amelia faints in the Duma's bookstore, it's Anton's strong arms that cradle her fall. His unusual eyes spark with hers, replacing their individual loneliness with the promise of feral passion.
After a two-month separation, Anton is ready to walk into Amelia's life again, but is Amelia ready to fan the spark they shared into a flame?
"Amelia, to be honest about my intentions, I want to court you."
"Court me?" She stepped back.
He grabbed her wrist, as if desperate to keep her near him. His eyes impaled her, making her breathless. Was it too soon to think of always and forever with him? Had he really changed? Her heart believed so. Now, she just had to convince her head.
"I have no one to ask for permission, but you. Search your heart. I care for you deeply. I want to explore this, Amelia, but only if you do. I swear I'm ready for this."
Her lips trembled as she stepped forward, moved by the conviction in his voice. Dare she fall in love again? The chance was worth it. "Yes."
"Thank you." He wrapped his arms around her, infusing her with his warmth. She melted against the length of his body, savoring the contact. It felt right.
He parted from her, placed his hands on her upper arms, and looked at her. "The feelings I have when I'm near you are nothing like I've had before, but--"
"Go on." She prompted when he delayed too long.
"But I have a secret, too -- a secret that chokes me when I think of telling you."
"Anton--" A secret?
He held up his hand. "Let me finish. I promise to tell you, but I can't right now. I can only
give you clues." "Really?"
"You must accept this, Amelia. I know it may be unusual, but it's the only way I can think of to be honest with you."
Taken off guard, she faced him. Anton's full lips and smoldering eyes riveted her to him. In fact, his looks were everything she was attracted to in a man, but it all came down to trust. Could she trust him? If she said yes to him right now, then she was giving him her trust, which included his secret.
"How many clues do you have?"
"Three. Once you know my secret, if you want to break our courtship, you can. I'll understand."
Her body shivered. Was his secret dangerous? Even if it was, did she care? A part of her just wanted to throw herself into his arms and let come what may. Another part of her told her to keep her feet firmly on the ground.The Count's Lair by Stephanie Burkhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Count's Lair by Stephanie Burkhart is a 2013 Desert Breeze publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Count's Lair is the second book in the Budapest Moon series. Anton Varga was a sad and broken man when we last heard from him. He had gone away for some soul searching, but now he is back home. The chance meeting he had with the accomplished pianist, Amelia Andrassy sparked something between them which at the time neither were in place to explore further. But, now that some time has passed is it possible for them put their painful past behind them and forge a future together, or will Anton's dark secret come between them?
It was good see Anton let go of his anger and bitterness. He now has many regrets but is striving to be a better person. Amelia is a widow still coping with her deceased husband's betrayals. She is not sure she can trust again, but wants to believe Anton has changed and wants to give him a chance.
In the background of the story is the meeting between Varga and a gypsy family being terrorized by the wolf pack that caused so much anguish for Anton. He takes the family in but danger continues to lurk.
The story's primary focus in on Anton's needing to convince Amelia they are soul mates and have her fall in love with him so that she can accept his condition. But, as they begin to fall in love, Anton finds it more and more difficult to give Amelia that final piece to the puzzle. I enjoyed the added sensuality to this one. Maybe it's just me, but I thought this one was a little steamier. Anton is so conflicted I couldn't help but feel bad for him. I also enjoyed the action as Anton battles his enemies. There were some really tense scenes toward the end.
Overall this one is a steady and true chapter in this series. 4 stars
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/budapest-moon-book-two-the-counts-lair-stephanie-burkhart/1029218357?ean=9781612529509
a Rafflecopter giveaway