I am a huge fan of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series and so far I’ve gobbled down all the books like candy (except the last full length one, which I’ll remedy very soon). She is a master of world building and making a landscape appear in your mind. Add to that her sassy way of writing and I’m a goner.
Sophie, who is a witch consultant for the LAPD, is still recovering from gunshot wounds she received when a police operation went awry. When a stranger contacts her with an offer nobody could refuse she jumps at the chance: An inaccessible house in the UK plus the entailed land and a significant annuity will belong to her if she can gain access to said house.
Nikolas Sevigny’s loyalty to his men is unshakable. Of the hundred he had only nine are left, the stranded Daoine Sidhe knights of the Dark Court. Cut off from his homeland he fights with every fiber to help bringing down the Queen of the Light Court and her trusted man Morgan.
Sophie and Nik meet under less than ideal circumstances. Two weeks prior while doing a reading she saw a vision of Nik attacking her. Only it didn’t seem like a vision. It’s only natural that now, being in the UK, her defenses are up and her distrust for this beautiful man is firmly in place. She is drawn into a war that isn’t hers. With the house. that is almost like a fortress, she has a lot to offer to Nik and his men and he is ruthless enough to take it if helps his mission.
At the sight, Nikolas’s mouth tightened. The ghost of the man he used to be turned uneasily in its grave. He had no illusions about himself. Once he would have been filled with remorse at bruising a female, but long ago he had turned cold and hard.
You know those heroes, the ones that are hard to love in the beginning…but when you start loving them, you go all in? Yep, Nikolas is one of those. He was such an asshat in the beginning, I wanted to slap him into next week. The enlightenment came quickly though. He is a couple of hundred years old and in the last decades his sole focus was on getting himself and his men home. There was no room for niceties. Of course he bristles and gets his boxers in a twist when he meets this beautiful witch who keeps mouthing off at him.
“You’re a damn mouthy broad,” he said and kissed her.
Nik is everything you expect in an alpha male: overbearing, sometimes rude, commandeering, controlling, rough. But also loyal and gentle and caring.
“I’ve lost so many people. So many… I thought I didn’t have it in me to care about anyone else again. But now I do, and yes, I’m struggling, because I don’t think I could take losing you too.”
Sophie is a woman with her own mind and she has no compunctions letting Nik know that he can shove his orders where the sun doesn’t shine. She has a temper but once she and Nik get close you find her more often reigning it in and picking her battles. She has a protective side to her that makes Nik go batty because, dammit, he is the one giving orders! Sophie is also a crafty and creative witch, she’s brave and kind and I loved how she took care of Robin, the puck.
Their bickering is hilarious and you get the feeling that they only argue to make up again with mind-blowing sex. Speaking of, Thea Harrison is known for some steamy scenes (I’ll never forget Dragos’ mating heat) so you can definitely expect major sexual tension throughout the book.
“The gods only know why,” he whispered. “But I find you sexy as hell. So far, you’ve been nothing but trouble.”
“Ugh, stop talking,” she told him, putting the fingers of both hands over his mouth. “You ruin it when you talk. I find you sexy as hell too, as long as you stay silent.”
One thing I need to mention are the several inaccuracies I’ve encountered. I was surprised there were so many because a good editor and proofreader should have caught on and gotten rid of them. Only to name a few:
“Silver was a hard metal, and besides, solid silver bullets would be much more expensive.”
– Silver is not a hard metal – in fact it is extremely soft
“An earl— an English earl?” “Yes.” “Does that make you titled as well?” Her knowledge of English titles was almost nonexistent. Kathryn shrugged. “It does. I’m a countess, but I’ve lived in the States for so long I never use it.
– the daughter of an Earl is never a countess, only the wife is.
– there were several mix ups with English and American terms. The heroine being American kept saying supper and crisps, the hero said ass although he had spent a long time in the UK.
With that being said, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story which was tremendous and I can’t wait to continue this series. This was an extremely well done introduction to this new story arc in the world of the Elder Races and I am really giddily awaiting Gawain’s story.
“Then,” he said, even more quietly, “there are truths that change. Before I met you, I was adamant about not investing in a relationship. I was constantly on the run, my life in danger, and that is a terrible thing to take to a woman’s bed. And I met you. You’re stubborn, infuriating, courageous, inventive, generous, and kind. You make me laugh. You make me crazy. You make me rediscover things inside myself that I thought were dead forever. You make me hard as a rock until all I can think about is tearing off your clothes.