Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hero: Ethan Winslowe
Heroine: Megan Carey
Date of Publication: June 01, 1991
Started On: January 25, 2016
Finished On: January 25, 2016
Be it a historical, paranormal or contemporary romance, Anne Stuart is a master at crafting tales so superbly that you enjoy every single minute of the ride. Night of the Phantom was a story that according to Anne Stuart, was inspired by Phantom of the Opera. I guess it shows in certain elements of the paranormal and mystical variety included in the story. Didn’t detract at all from the storyline, but rather added to its charm, making Night of the Phantom the winner it is.
Ethan Winslowe is a recluse who lives in a forgotten part of the country that people seldom talk about. However, as reclusive as he is, Ethan is a genius in the field of architecture, and it is his splendorous designs that Megan Carey’s father used to rise to the position of fame and glory that he enjoys. Things go awry however, when Megan’s father begs her to take his place to meet Ethan who has threatened to bring the whole Carey corporation down. Megan, having never been able to say no in the face of her father agrees, albeit reluctantly. A decision that she regrets from the moment she steps foot in the godforsaken town.
Megan’s entrance into Ethan’s carefully structured plans is hardly a welcome one – at first. However, when Ethan realizes the perks of having Megan at his mercy, Ethan changes his plans accordingly, all the while knowing that Megan might prove to be detrimental to the heart that he keeps closed off from the rest of the world. Ethan enjoys the darkness, revels in the darkness that is his life. Megan, whose heart had craved romance and adventure when she had made plans to go traveling prior to having had to come see Ethan, finds her soul reaching out to that of Ethan.
Night of the Phantom turned out to be such a good book, one that I just had to finish in one single sitting. Anne Stuart’s books have a way of making me lose out on precious sleep, not something I would ever regret, given how well written her books are. Ethan makes for a darkly alluring hero. Hidden in the shadows with the darkness of the night wrapped around him, Ethan beckons your soul in ways you would never think possible.
There’s a surreal and ethereal edge to the story as it unfolds. Timeless in the way Ethan and Megan circle each other; Megan frightful of her wanton desire for a man who doesn’t trust her enough to show his face and Ethan, frightened by just how much he needs, wants and lusts after Megan, all of which hides the deeper emotions that he fights to keep at bay. The town’s reluctance to harbor an individual as Ethan in their midst, regardless of what his presence means to an already dwindling community was one that proved to be another facet of the novel that fascinated me.
The ending when it came, was perfectly fitting to the story and the characters. Megan being the one to finally go after Ethan didn’t detract from the fact that someone as reclusive as Ethan had made the decision to go after her as well. That in my opinion, was the most wonderful ending they could have been given.
Final Verdict: Anne Stuart takes you away on a journey of darkness and splendor!
She paused for a moment, stretching like a contented cat as she stepped out of her fallen dress. She felt sinful, sensual and deliciously evil as she stood there in her shocking underwear and her high, high heels. If he hadn’t needed life-support systems before this little act, he would now.
Leaning over so that her hair fell in her face, she slowly unhooked one sheer black stocking. Sliding it down her leg, she stepped out of her shoes with a trace of regret. Men were supposed to find high heels unbearably erotic. She wanted Ethan Winslowe to suffer.
The next stocking followed. She unfastened the garter belt and tossed it in the corner beneath the video camera with all the aplomb of an elegant stripper tossing her clothing to a hungry crowd.
For the first time in her life, she didn’t feel ten pounds overweight. She felt luscious.
“Stop fighting me, angel,” he whispered, and his hand brushed her skin, the soft, sensitized flesh of her stomach. The row of tiny buttons had disappeared and her nightgown was open to the night air. “Stop fighting yourself. Give yourself to me.” And his hand moved between her legs and touched her.
What strength she had in her legs vanished and she sagged against him. It happened with shocking speed, scarcely had his long, deft fingers found her than she dissolved, lost in a darkness of sensation and despair. She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out but a strangled gasp of surprise, of release, of an astonished pleasure so intense that what little existed of reality vanished, and her last, amazed thought was that, for the first time in her life, she was going to faint.
“You’re lying,” he said bitterly. “I know revulsion when I see it.”
“Do you?” She stopped thinking. He was tall; she was barefoot and tiny. She reached up, cupping his face with her hands, both sides of his face, and pulled him down to her, kissing him full on the mouth.
For a moment, he froze, and she could feel the shock trembling through his body. Stillness washed over them, a silent eternity.
And then he pulled her against him, hard, slanting his mouth across hers, kissing her back with a passion that was devouring, frightening, filled with such longing that she felt as if she were going to be sucked up into a vortex of emotion.
“You could have gone with Palmer. If you’d asked again, Salvatore would have let you go.”
“I didn’t want to go.”
“I live in darkness,” he said, still not touching her, his voice low and urgent. “In the shadows, in the warmth and safety of the night. If you come to me, you’ll live in shadows, too.”
She lifted her head to look around, and her hair rippled down her bare back. “The moonlight is bright enough for me,” she said quietly.
He reached out then, his hands cupping her face, his thumbs caressing her cheeks. “I must be mad,” he whispered. “You’ll destroy me.”
“I’ll love you,” she said, but the words were silent.
“You’ll destroy me,” he said again, closing his eyes in sudden despair. And then he kissed her.
He knew how to judge her reactions perfectly, the shift, the restlessness, the ripple of reaction, the strangled breathing. He knew when she was just on the edge of explosion, and he knew how to expand that edge, to draw her over it, willingly, tumbling to her doom with no more than a strangled cry. He knew how to prolong it so that she was clawing at his shoulders, sobbing frantically, certain her body could take no more until he showed her, with inexorable determination, that it could.
And yet it wasn’t enough. She convulsed against his mouth, her body going rigid in reaction, and still she pulled at him, tugged at him, wanting more and more of him, wanting him, not his mouth, not his hands working their fiendish magic, she wanted all of him.
He had his face turned away from her so that all she could see was his unmarked profile, the sheath of long hair between them. His muscles were bunched, slippery with sweat beneath her hands, and she was loath to give up holding him, touching him, but she had to. Reaching up, she caught his face, turning him to look down at her, full face, his bisected beauty mesmerizing her. She kissed his mouth, his nose, she kissed the marked side of his face. Pushing his hair out of the way, she kissed the side of his neck where the mark continued down between their joined bodies.
For a moment, he stilled the hypnotic, powerful rhythm of his body and she was afraid she’d gone too far. She met his gaze fearlessly and she said the words she’d only thought, the words that would be her death knell. “I love you.”
She had no sense of where they were, and she didn’t care. Inside the door, he released her, ripping off her clothes with the same shaking passion that suffused her body. She was trembling so hard, she couldn’t help him, didn’t want to help him. All she wanted was to touch and kiss his body, to possess it, possess him, until there was nothing left between them, no secrets, nothing held back.
And then she was naked, wet with rain and sweat, shaking with fear and desire, and he was naked, wet with rain and sweat, and he lifted her up in his arms, pushing her back against an unseen wall and entered her, driving deep with a fierce thrust that made her cry out in instant, shuddering satisfaction. He wrapped her legs around him, holding on to her hips as he drove in and out, in and out, like someone possessed, and his mouth against hers, the words that tumbled forth, love words, sex words, angry and despairing and tender, simply fanned the flame higher and hotter until she thought she might explode from the power of his thrusts, the power of his love.