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The Dark One by Ronda Thompson
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The Dark One
4 Stars

Rosalind Rutherford is in a bind as her sadistic stepbrother is intent on selling her to the highest bidder. Determined to ruin herself for marriage, Rosalind propositions society’s most notorious member, Armond Wulf, Lord of Wulfglen. Armond knows the he must resist the temptation posed by Rosalind for his family is under a terrible curse that is triggered by love. Yet the more time they spend together, the more difficult Armond finds it to stem both the physical and emotional desire he feels for Rosalind.

Armond is a fabulous hero with tremendous inner strength and stoicism in the face of the family curse and society’s affront. He also has a profound sense of honor despite the rumors that abound and is kind and solicitous toward Rosalind and the dowager duchess. Rosalind is a courageous and spirited heroine although she does have moments of intense stupidity that tend to undermine her character. Armond and Rosalind have spellbinding chemistry and their romance is sensual and steamy.

Although the murder mystery subplot is predictable, it does lead to some intense moments and exciting action scenes. The villains are truly despicable and it is satisfying to seem them get their well-deserved comeuppance.

While not all that original, the Wulf family curse is an interesting plot device that works well within the storyline. Nevertheless, more detail could have been included regarding the origins and exact effects of the witch’s spell.

The next two books in the series focus on Armond’s brothers - Jackson the playboy and Gabriel the introvert, and I look forward to reading their stories. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
This was highly entertaining and surprisingly addictive. Only sleep and work got in the way of me finishing this in one sitting. The ending was a little disappointing but it was happy so I can't really complain. I look forward to reading the other books in this sadly unfinished (due to the author's death) series. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
I read the first novella in the late Ronda Thompson's Wild Wulfs of London series quite some time ago and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get back to these books, but I'm so glad that I finally did. I have a feeling The Wild Wulfs of London is going to become a new favorite series in the paranormal romance genre for me. Ronda Thompson's writing style is very emotionally engaging. She really makes me care about and relate to her characters. Her love scenes are sweetly sensual and each one builds on the last to propel the story along. The bathtub scene where Armond and Rosalind first share some real intimacy was quite steamy. I also enjoyed the light mystery/suspense portion of the plot too. Although parts of it were rather predictable, I could still feel the air of tension surrounding Armond's investigation of the murders and Rosalind's stepbrother trying to keep her under his thumb. Everything just came together to make this book a perfect read that will definitely be placed on my keeper shelf.

Armond is a man tormented by his family's curse which makes its male members turn into werewolves if they fall in love, so he has vowed never to do that. Of course, he didn't count on the sweet, beautiful Rosalind capturing his heart and stirring his passion from the moment he meets her. Publicly, the ton believes that the Wulf family curse is madness, and because of it, Armond and his brothers have a dark reputation. When the story opens, he is already a suspect in a murder case. In spite of his perceived bad boy image and the beast inside him, it is clear right from the start that Armond is far more honorable and gentlemanly than most human men. Even though Rosalind was throwing herself at him, desperately wanting him to ruin her, he didn't completely debauch her and even gave her a plausible excuse for her absence from the party. Throughout the entire story, Armond exercises incredible self-control which is a quality I love in a hero. It was very sweet how he simply held and comforted Rosalind through the night the second time he secretly came to her room, and even after they were married, he gave her the choice of whether to consummate their union and when. Now that's not to say that he isn't seductive. He told Rosalind up front that he wouldn't play fair, and it was really cute how he asks her every day, "Have I told you I want you today?" I also loved his protectiveness. From the moment Armond met Rosalind that instinct in him came out and only increased as his love for her grew. On the surface, his declaration to Rosalind that he would never love her seemed cruel, but it was really just his determination to protect her from everything, including himself, that made him say it.

Rosalind was my favorite type of heroine, one who is kind, gentle and sweet on the outside, but inside is strong and intelligent. She had been badly abused by her stepbrother and he was now prepared to “sell” her in marriage to a man she found loathsome. In sheer desperation, she thought that being ruined by the most dangerous and shunned man in the ton would be a better option, but she didn't count on Armond having a heart of gold beneath his dark facade. I thought that act alone was a pretty bold move on her part, but time and time again, throughout the story, she shows her bravery. She stood up for Armond when he was wrongly accused of murder and gave him an alibi even though it did ruin her. She willingly married Armond and always saw him for the decent man he was rather than the madman waiting to happen that the ton thought him to be or the monster he saw in himself. She instinctively sensed that he would never harm her no matter what form he took, and he always lived up to her faith in him. Rosalind didn't really want to consummate their marriage until Armond was able to give her his heart, but in the meantime, she could barely resist him. She is very curious and loves sharing intimacies with her handsome husband. Rosalind is also quite intuitive, understanding that Armond's sometimes hurtful words are meant to protect her, and looking beneath the surface to his actions which speak louder than his words. She was very intelligent too, figuring out her brother's schemes on her own and trying to put a stop to them.

There are a number of exciting and colorful secondary characters in The Dark One. Rosalind's stepbrother, Franklin and his accomplice made dastardly villains. The Dowager Duchess of Brayberry was a lively old lady who was a true friend to both Armond and Rosalind. Armond's two brothers, Jackson and Gabriel are introduced as well. Unlike his two brothers who are responsible and hard-working, Jackson is a rake with a wild reputation, but incredibly charming with the ladies. It appears that he is going off on a quest to break the family curse and prove himself by finding and killing a certain witch. His story becomes the next book in the series, The Untamed One. Gabriel is the strong, silent type, a man who is very much tied to the land of the family's country estate. He catches the eye of Rosalind's new friend, Amelia who on the surface is a good girl, but deep down is a very passionate young woman who longs to be scandalous. Gabriel and Amelia's story is the last in the series, The Cursed One.

The Dark One has more of the feel of a Regency-era historical romance with a somewhat lighter paranormal element. Aside from Armond having heightened senses and physical abilities, the supernatural portion of the plot doesn't really come into play until the last quarter or so of the book. The rest of the novel is about the mystery and suspense surrounding the murder investigation, and the emotional turmoil that Armond and Rosalind deal with because of the curse and their gradual growth into realizing how much they love each other. Overall, The Dark One was a well-written, well-plotted, emotionally satisfying story that has definitely left me quite eager to get to the next book in The Wild Wulfs of London series. ( )
  mom2lnb | Oct 31, 2013 |
Great first installment in the Wild Wulfs of London paranormal Regency series of four brothers that are cursed to be werewolves unless they can break the curse. Armond Wulf meets the love of his life who needs his help from her brutal stepbrother. Armond marries her to save her reputation and the terror of her stepbrother even though he has sworn he'd never marry or fall in love. He finds himself at the mercy of his family curse - will his new wife accept him as he is once she finds out the truth about him? I loved this book, eager to read the next. Worthwhile historical paranormal!

http://ktleyed.blogspot.com/2011/04/dark-one-by-ronda-thompson.html ( )
  ktleyed | Apr 24, 2011 |
Ronda Thompson has always been a master at the paranormal, but she's taken it to a new level with her new "The Wild Wulfs of London" series. Beginning with THE DARK ONE, we're immersed into a paranormal regency world where nothing is what it seems, and where the choices you make might not have the outcome that you had proposed.

For Lady Rosalind Rutherford, things have gone from bad to worse. Her stepbrother, Franklin Chapman, has incurred large gambling debts that he cannot pay off. He's unable to sell the estate he's been living in, since it was a gift to his late mother from her late husband, the Duke of Montrose. Even if he'd been able to find a way to get around the fact that the estate wasn't his own, now that his stepsister Rosalind has come to live in the home, there's no discernible way to erase his debt. So Franklin, in typical evil-rogue style, decides to marry his dear stepsister off to the highest bidder, and use the acquired funds to clear his gambling debts.

The Chapman estate sits next to that of the Wulf's, a family of brothers cursed by an ancient witch many years ago. Love was their downfall, and now, whenever there's a full moon, the Wulf's turn into something much more dangerous than mere men. But when Lord Armond Wulf is introduced to Lady Rosalind at the first ball of the season, he's immediately smitten-or, more accurately, immediately filled with lust for the raven-haired beauty. Armond, however, knows that he's doomed to live a life of solitude, a life without the warmth and love of a woman. A woman caused their family's downfall, and he's determined to now allow the same to happen to him.

However, Lady Rosalind has other ideas. She has no plans to sit idly by while her stepbrother sells her off like cattle, so she sets out to do the one thing that might foil his plan-ruin her reputation so far beyond repair that no one will want to marry her. And she's found the perfect way towards this sinful fall from grace-Armond Wulf, a man who already has the type of reputation she wishes for herself.

Unfortunately, even though Armond has no desire to marry, he does desire Rosalind, and now that scandal threatens them both he has no choice but to offer her marriage. But what will happen when the full moon rises over London, and Rosalind discovers exactly what type of man she's fallen in love with? And as for Lord Wulf, what happens when a man destined by a curse to never love fully finds himself heading in that direction-even though he's vowed to never allow his heart to rule his emotions? As mysterious happenings surround Armond and Rosalind, as their hearts move ever closer to a full unity, and as the full moon approaches, you'll never guess of the surprises that are in store for you.

Ronda Thompson has created a delightful new series with her Wulf family, and I for one can't wait to see which brother will be featured next. Set in 1800's London, THE DARK ONE is a romantic paranormal romp that's sure to delight readers of the genre. Kudos to Ms. Thompson for this unique and exciting new series! ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
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This book is dedicated to my fellow cubbies: Marilynn Byerly, Barbara Cary, Susanne Marie Knight, Diane Drew, Delores Fossen, Debbie Gafford, Liz George, Katherine Greyle, Anita Lynn, Kathy Ishcomer, Katriena Knights, Gael Morrison, Norah-Jean Perkin, Laura Renken, Catherine Sellers, Patricia White, and Karen Woods. Youre support over the years, your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise, but most of all your friendship, have meant more to me than you will ever know. Rock on, Ladies!
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His heart was the deepest, darkest chasm of hell.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312935730, Mass Market Paperback)

Rosalind Rutherford knows full well the scandal she courts when she attempts to seduce the notorious Armond Wulf--in fact, she's counting on it as a means to escape her sadistic stepbrother's control. Unfortunately, Lord Wulf's better instincts prevail...although not before he gives Rosalind a tantalizing taste of what she's missing. And when the opportunity arises to rescue Armond from a grim fate while changing her own, Rosalind knows she must seize it...
 
Armond can no more ignore the Rutherford woman than his ancestor could resist the temptress who cursed the Wulf men with a terrifying transformation that occurs at the appearance of the full moon--and is set in motion by love. Now, to save her reputation and his freedom, Armond must marry Rosalind. But he vows that while they may share the pleasures of the marriage bed, she will never have his heart...
 
Yet as strange and mysterious events bring them closer in body and soul, Armond finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings for his new wife locked away. Especially when the reality of unquenchable desire--and certain danger--burn stronger than ever by the light of a full moon...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

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