His Dark Desires

The Mistress of Trevelyan
Touch a Dark Wolf

Silken Shadows
by Jennifer St. Giles
(Berkeley, $7.99, NC-17) ISBN 978-0425-21794-8
I am not usually a fan of paranormal books but I love Gothic romances and this one comes close to finding a spot on my shelf to revisit time and time again. Jennifer St. Giles has written a masterpiece of suspense and sexual romance. In fact, it is the too, too hot nature of the romance that keeps this from full keeper status.

Silken Shadows is the third in a series, but stands well on its own. Gemini Andrews is one of three sisters who all share in names of the stars with paranormal attributes. They have all been involved in the hunt for a murderer (a la Jack the Ripper) and just when they thought he was gone, there is evidence that another murder has been committed. Gemini is determined to help discover if he is back and to help the dead women. Gemini, you see, can talk to ghosts and at times, helps them find peace.

The murderer is Jack Poole, an ex-constable who has threatened every one of her sisters. Gemini herself has felt his evil when she tried to help one of his murder victims and actually felt the victimís pain and torture. While Gemini is scared, she is determined. Gemini is only nineteen and is a bit impulsive. Luckily, she is not stupid, but she could stand a bit of maturity at times. At other times, her naivete as it relates to sexual issues is the guise she uses to get her man. He cannot withstand her "innocent" seductive efforts.

Captain Deverell Jansen is more than he seems. He is the captain of the Black Dragon, a fine sailing vessel which he turned to when his military career went sour during a mission. Dev was framed and he was blamed with killing two men, both of whom served under him. Dev was also accused of trying to steal money rather than help the British gain control of the Suez Canal. The two men, Davey and Pierre are now ghosts who follow the captain around, determined to stay until his name is cleared. But Dev has no intention of doing so. He has denounced his title and his family and intends to spend his life in pursuit of riches and fame on the high seas. He is also highly respected, despite his past. He has been attracted to Gemini for almost a year, but he has stayed away, fearing she was too young for him.

Now, Gemini, with the help of her sister, has stowed away on his ship to get to the location of the newest murder site. Of course, she is discovered and their adventure begins. Said adventure includes convincing Dev of her powers and then of letting her help in the investigation. Marriage results and their power struggles are a sight to behold. Sexual explicitness abounds, while the horror of the murders and the various sub-plots work together to form a tightly written and eminently engaging tale.

Deverell and Gemini are good together and their relationship is well developed on all levels. That is one of the things that make the story believable. The secondary characters are surprisingly full of depth, considering the story is written in the first person from Gemini's point of view. The ghosts provide some comic relief too.

I highly recommend this tale. My only caveat is that there is so much in it, something had to suffer. That item is the sexual relationship. It was almost as if St. Giles feared that her story did not have enough so she threw in every type of sexual activity she could think of. The detail and amount of action was overkill and detracted from the tale enough to drop it from the coveted five heart status.

Silken Shadows shouldn't be missed, however, especially if you are a fan of the paranormal.

--Shirley Lyons

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