Malcolm Cole is back only to accidently find his true mate. We do get hear from Lily and other characters from Book 1, which is great and a running theme in this series. I will say that there are some sexually graphic scenes that some may not feel comfy with. There is strangulation, bondage, violence, forced body violation, and sexClaire St. James, goes by Charlie, is a strong independent woman who does enjoy rough play with her best friend (w/ benefits). She is put through some graphic and humiliating acts by the villain and his henchmen. If you don't want to kill them yourselves, something is wrong (:-) ). Not every story can be easy where "bad boy" meets his love and no issues right? NOT in real life or in the supernatural word. I originally read the series on kindle but purchased on paperback. Yes editing my not be perfect, but I promise the story and the series is so worth it. Not everything is resolved in this book but that makes the next book and series just that much better.
Two years after relinquishing Lily to Daniel, Malcolm remains without a mate and is still under a Romanian curse that shimmers him to new murder scenes. At such a scene in Vegas he senses a Dormant--and he must find her and mark her. Malcolm Cole can't seem to get his alpha power working for him or anybody else in this book. It basically takes a "village" to make the "bad guys" retreat and regroup.
Charlie has been learning self-defense from a sadistic trainer named David Reese. She knows he is mean and ruthless, but he is the best. She is a "bad boy" magnet and needs to be able to defend herself. However, all her training fails to keep her from being kidnapped, used and abused.
Jessie Graves is Charlie's lawyer and best friend with benefits. He's given the okay to sign her band to a 6-month Vegas casino contract. She feels uneasy about the deal because she has never even talked with the club owner, Gabriel Phelan.
Gabriel Phelan is an alpha with the gift of shape shifting. Charlie does not know what she is--a female born werewolf Dormant--but Phelan has known about her since she was twelve. He has been watching and toying with her for 15 years, and he is not willing to let her go. Gabriel is an extremely powerful alpha and psychopath--only matched by the warlock Seth. Gabriel and Seth together are nearly unstoppable.
Lily Kane's visions show two alpha males in the Charlie's path--Lily knows the green-eyed male, but the other alpha she has never seen before. The band's drummer is in danger and Lily is on her way to Vegas to befriend and help Charlie. Lily's husband, Daniel, is just not likeable and it is easy to see why they might have marriage problems.
Malcolm has tricked Charlie in order to mark her. As a result of the intermingling of their blood she receives some of Malcolm's power along with the mark, and he is linked to her in an unexpected way as well. Charlie's "special" gift is a twist on an old ability that can now be used for good. Just like Lily, Charlie gets a "guardian" after she is claimed and receives an offer to become a member of an unusual triad.
It's a decent story with subplots; there are mages, warlocks, witches, black magic, a dungeon of torture, explosions, muscle cars, Harleys, a Sentinel, a Hunter, a grandfather, a uncle, and a claiming, but...
The violence to which Charlie is subjected is disturbingly graphic and extends outside my comfort zone--too much pain. I hated the villain and his henchmen and really wanted them dead. I must wonder why the author has allowed a pleasure response to such brutal treatment. There is strangulation, bondage, violence, forced body violation, and sex. I suppose a number of loose ends are to be continued in another story since they were not resolved in this book.
No SPOILERS or plot summaries. Recommendations included.
HIGH LEVEL: BOOK 2 of the "Big Bad Wolf" paranormal romance series. You REALLY need to read The Heat (The Big Bad Wolf Series) first. This story centers around a character introduced as an antagonist in that book. Main thing to know about this series is that it is INTENSE and not for everyone. I loved book 1 and was totally thrilled with book 2. The mythology is relatively standard, but continues to evolve through the books in intriguing ways and it's clear the series will continue to grow.
BE WARNED: There is some incredibly vicious violence & torture in this book. Violence against women especially. If that will be hard for you, you might want to avoid it.
PLOT: Satisfyingly complex without getting over complicated. Pacing is fast and furious- to the point where you might be desperate for a breather, but you won't want to walk away until you know what happens!
CHARACTERS: The characters in these books are flawed and realistic- aside from all the shifting into wolves, psychic powers and magic. They aren't perfect, but they are sympathetic. Supporting characters are nearly as colorful as the leads- Lily and Daniel continue to play important roles.
SEXUAL CONTENT: Very sexual, elements of BSDM and sexual sadism. Not for the light hearted. Makes a clear distinction between sexual play that is invited and that which is NOT. The parts that are meant to be are extremely erotic, the parts that are meant to be are very distressing, but our heroine is a strong woman and never breaks down. The hero is the perfect man for her and they make a very sexy couple.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a great series for those who can take it. I can't WAIT to keep reading.
RECOMMENDATIONS: (These are also dark and intense. If you want lighter, go for Vivian Arend, Dana Marie Bell and Moira Rogers.)
1. R.G. Alexander's steamy vampire/were/witch romance series: Regina in the Sun (Children of the Goddess) 2. Lara Adrian's Kiss of Midnight (The Midnight Breed, Book 1) - darker, more violent, but incredibly intense. Vampires protect the world from their evil brethren. 3. Dana Marie Bell's Dare to Believe (The Gray Court) - sexy, light, humorous para-romance with all manner of fae: Sidhe, dragons, leprechauns, vampires and more. LIGHTER than the rest I'm listing. 4. Kresley Cole's adventurous and intricate magical romance series (never mind the ridiculous title): A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, Book 1) 5. Diane Duvall's new Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians) - immortal warriors protecting the world from evil vampires. Similar to Kenyon's series and lighter than most on this list. 6. Jacquelyn Frank's Jacob (The Nightwalkers, Book 1) - demons, were, vamps and other fae finding their better halves in races that should be the enemy 7. Larissa Ione's Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, Book 1) - demon centric romance series that sets up a demon-run hospital under a human city. Odd mix of lighter writing and darker subjects. 8. Alexandra Ivy's When Darkness Comes (Guardians of Eternity, Book 1) - vamp/demon/were romance with loosely connected characters 9. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Fantasy Lover - Dark Hunter series with shifters, vamps and Greek gods. The first book is not as good as the rest- it just gets better and better. 10. J.R. Ward's Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) - also darker, more violent and incredibly intense vampire romance series. Vampires protect the world from their evil brethren. Vivid glimpses into the evil perspective as well. 11. Gena Showalter's The Darkest Night (Hqn) - sexy, demon-possessed immortals looking for true love in a world of hidden magical creatures. 12. Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1) - romance series which features weres and psychics, but also carries plotlines with some substance