Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
In Luna Kayne's Step Darkly, Emilia had run away years ago to university, leaving her past, her pain, and her secrets behind. Leaving Joshua Darkly behind too. He and his mother had been insufferable, his mother, her step-mother for a short time, had been trouble from the start, but Joshua's hurt had been gradual. They weren't even speaking by the time she left. She was happy with her life now; she worked hard to pay her way through university, and while her grades weren't amazing, she wasn't going to fail either. But then her life was turned upside down. The loss of her father was a devastating blow, but so too was discovering that in his will he'd left her to Joshua. That's to say, if she wanted any of her father's legacy, for one year she had to be his ward, learn from him as he had from her father. She had left to run away from her problems, but now she was right back where she started and her problems were still waiting for her.
Luna Kayne's Step Darkly: His Ward is a page-turning, slow burn, dark romance centered around Emilia Connor and Joshua Darkly written from alternating first-person perspectives. I enjoyed how Luna Kayne draws you into the characters' lives through internal monologue and plot development while we learn about parts in each of their pasts which shaped their future, decisions, and relationships. Secrets, heartbreak, rebellion, domination, and submission drive the plot as Emelia is forced to not only learn her place but learn about herself. Both characters have their own frustrations and conflicting emotions, and watching them come together to challenge each other made for a gripping read. The BDSM aspects are handled tastefully to create hot and steamy scenes of exploration and discovery. But this book is not just about sex and character growth; things are going on in the background that give the story and characters depth and a full and complete world. Just because Emelia was the boss's daughter doesn't mean she's not in danger.