A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can’t resist…Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.
A tormented warrior she should fear, but can’t deny…
Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.
Surrender to dark desires…
Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs — and claim his heart?
You can’t say I’m not persistent. Even if it does take me forever to get anywhere. Sarah and I started this buddy read back in 2014, in anticipation of the release of Book 15…in August of that year, I read Book 3. In February of this year, I read Book 4. Now it’s only December and I’ve re-read book 6! Woot! Progress! Maybe we can actually get caught up in time for the release of Book 18…
So, I think by now it’s fairly clear that I like these books despite quite a few things that would normally make me rage. I can’t even tell you why they don’t here. But they don’t.
These characters can do horrible things to each other, seriously, beyond the pale kind of things. Betrayal, lies, big misunderstandings…doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. I’m not kidding. If you’ve made it this far and think the things that these beings do to their mates is outrageous….you’ve not seen anything yet.
I’ve been trying to figure out for years why these books don’t push my buttons like some others with (far less) provocation. I’m not sure I have a good answer yet. But I can say that the absolutely impossible and extenuating circumstances that Kresley Cole puts her characters in helps a more than a little. The circumstances don’t excuse the treatment, but I can understand the position that they’re in. And even if I couldn’t forgive it, I can understand how the other character can. Which makes it easier for me to not hold it against them.
By the end of every single one of these books I’m left happy for the couple. Regardless, or maybe because of, all the pain, trauma, deceit and conflict that’s come before.
And I feel like I start every one of these book reviews off talking about the series in general. Maybe because it’s such a consistent and long series and I consistently have the same amazement and feelings while reading it. And despite me not waxing poetic about it for paragraph upon paragraph here, you can trust that the world and plotting in this series are as amazing as ever.
I noticed while reading this time that I’d forgotten nearly everything that happened. I think this is as close as I’m ever going to get to reading this series for the first time again. And I adored that. I was just as caught up in the trouble, and the drama, and the growing conflict this time as I know I was last time. I didn’t know how they were going to get out of it, how they were going to stay together, and I was rooting for any way except the way that was sure to cause the most pain.
Sometimes there are no good paths.
But Holly and Cade manage despite it all. Let me talk about Holly for a moment. I adore her. She’s a geek and a nerd, plain and simple. Additionally, she’s got OCD – the real thing (though hers isn’t as bad as I know some people have to live with), not the thing the majority of us call when we have to be incredibly well organized. And I love how it’s a real part of her life, and not brushed aside as either debilitating or ridiculous. I think it’s handled with a fair amount of care. And that does create a bit of a problem for me. Holly doesn’t lose all of her ticks and tendencies, but her OCD does pretty much go away after she stops suppressing her Valkyrie side (which is why her OCD manifested in the first place apparently). I like that it’s not completely gone, and even at the end she still likes things in multiples of three and has her need for certain things to be the way she’s always needed them to be. So maybe it’s not a case of it disappearing all together, but that it’s not the consuming part of her life it was previously. It definitely “gets better” by any standard. While it’s not like I wanted her to suffer forever or anything, I hate the idea that everything has to be “cured.” So….I’m not sure I’d have done anything differently, but it’s always kind of niggled at me.
Cade. Damn, I have conflicting emotions about Cade. Much like Holly herself in this book. He’s a chauvinist. And I hate that about him. But at the same time he’s never truly disrespectful to women or females. He has a ton of respect for women of the Lore and their abilities to protect themselves, fight, and kick ass. And he never tries to rule Holly’s life. He just says some incredibly stupid stuff. He’s also completely considerate, kind, and thoughtful. He knows Holly has troubles with food that’s been prepared or unpackaged. So he takes her to dinner and accounts for it. She can’t have the lips of the water bottles be touched or she can’t drink it. When he learns of this, he just opens another bottle for her, ensuring that there’s no transference. There’s never any disgust or making fun. There’s no judgement whatsoever. He just does what he can to make her life easier and more manageable. And he teaches her to fight. Plus he tries, really, really tries, to do what’s right.
The choice on what’s right isn’t always an easy one though.
And I think that’s another thing I love about this series. They make me think critically. This world isn’t black and white, it’s not good versus bad. It’s all shades of grey and variables and a million different choices and decisions that bring about a single course of action. The complexity makes my brain hurt sometimes, and I can’t wait to dive into the next one.