There is a lot going on in Lord Lucifer – a young lady married off to a much older man, the heir to an earldom returning from the dead, evil step-children bent on destroying their step-mother, and a murder to be solved. Throw in a second-chance romance and you’ve got the first book in Jade Lee’s new Lords of the Masquerade series.
The story begins the night before Lady Diana is to marry Lord Dunnamore, a man three times her age. Lucas Crosse, the future Earl of Wolvesmead, decides to rescue Diana from this fate. He loves her and convinces her to run away with him but only if he acquires the sum of three thousand pounds by morning (an amount she thinks is necessary to help support her family). Lucas raises the funds, but through such questionable methods that he decides it is no longer honorable to tie Diana to his ruin – he uses the money instead to buy a commission and leaves Diana to wed old Lord Dunnamore.
Fast forward twelve years and Lucas is back in England, having barely survived Waterloo. Widely believed dead, he is actually in hiding, making a living as the head of security at the Lyon’s Den gambling club when Diana’s brother finds him and states “I need your help. Diana is in trouble.” Lucas drops everything to come to Diana’s aid.
Diana has made the best of her marriage but now that her husband is ill, her step-children are making threats against her, so her brother hires Lucas and his men to protect her. She, however, is less than thrilled to see Lucas. She has been dealing with her husband and his vindictive children for years and doesn’t appreciateLucas’ interference. But her stepson is getting more and more aggressive towards her, so she decides to let Lucas help. Lucas uses their close proximity to show Diana that he is now worthy of her. But when her husband is poisoned to death, the authorities believe Diana is the culprit and it is up to Lucas to find the real murderer.
I enjoy a good second chance romance but I had a hard time believing this one. Diana and Lucas only knew each other off and on for a few months (as teenagers) before Diana wed and their lives diverged so greatly for twelve years. Neither is even close to who they were back then, so when Lucas describes Diana as “a lady and a goddess, as holy for him as the Madonna” I have to wonder if he has placed an image of her on a pedestal. I just couldn’t feel any yearning desire for them to be together.
I also had trouble with parts of the storyline. I wondered why Diana was not shocked to see Lucas since he is thought to be dead. He is an earl’s heir, she is the daughter of an earl and wife to a lord. How did she not know he was presumed dead? Also, the reason for her hasty marriage was squirrel-y. She states that “Mama needs a man to manage things” and so Diana is to be sacrificed so that Lord Dunnamore can take care of the family finances. But then Diana talks about Lucas having to have at least five thousand pounds a year to devote to her family needs. And then later describes her brother as a “titled man of means”. So – why in the world was Diana sacrificed at the altar? Did her family need funds or not at that time? Questions like these took me out of the story.
I did enjoy getting to know Diana. She took a bad situation (her marriage) and turned it into a decent life by standing up for herself – and she is not about to give up her independence or let some man swoop in and save her. She’ll save herself, thank you very much! I had a harder time warming to Lucas – his devotion to Diana was over-the-top – and I would have liked to have understood better the source of that devotion. Even when they talk the night before her wedding, the chemistry between Lucas and Diana is lukewarm.
So Lord Lucifer just didn’t win me over. If you are okay with a few open questions and are just looking for some entertainment, this might work for you. I just wanted a tighter story and a more developed romance.