Series: Immortals After Dark #13
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Simon & Schuster on 10 October 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
This is the first Immortals After Dark book I have read and coming in late to the party wasn’t a smart move given all the references to past events. I was confused at times, bored with the lack of action and fairly disappointed in the hero. I suspect that if I had started earlier in the series, my reaction would have been different. Uilleam MacRieve aka ‘only my family calls me Will’, is one half of Hot and Hotter, the Lykae twins. He was hideously tortured and is understandably angry when his mate turns out to be the torturer’s daughter, Chloe.
MacRieve had a fairly tragic past where he was sexually abused by a succubus from the age of nine and lost both his parents at 12. This has made it difficult for him to have a meaningful relationship with women and as he often tells his brother, he’s just ‘not right’. When you throw in significant torture at the hands of the organisation Chloe’s father works for, he’s pretty messed up. Fortunately his devoted twin Munro has his back. MacRieve is at war with himself as his Instinct tells him to protect Chloe at all costs but his previous experiences with succubi make him think that Chloe will morph into this manipulative creature.
Chloe started the novel a fascinating character who excelled as a professional soccer player and gradually lost spirit. She has so much gumption both on and off the field as she was determined to ‘rub some dirt in it’ that it was a shame when she became so passive. She coped with her father abandoning her and refused to make concessions to her new species by lopped her long locks off daily even though she knew they were going to grow back. Chloe is genuinely distressed that her new species means that without intending to, she will essentially roofie men and get them hooked on her. The bit where she mourned the loss of her scars as they represented significant moments in her life was really moving.
MacRieve’s courtship of Chloe is so fast that I practically missed it. He told her that he would spend his days taking care of her and honouring her but when she turned into a succubus, he becomes downright cruel and aggressive. MacRieve was deathly afraid that Chloe would ‘envenom’ him with her succubus strew and seemed to ignore the fact that she was already his mate. As one of the orphans Ronan succinctly put it, “your smokin’ hot mate might use chemicals to make you want to do her. Except you already want to, so it’s wasted chemicals. Then once you start having sex with her, you’re going to keep wanting to, which would likely have happened anyway, because like I said, she’s totally hot.” MacRieve eventually decides to ‘take one for the team’ and have sex with Chloe so she won’t die but the way he goes about it is fairly horrid, especially since he isn’t willing to let her go so she can ‘feed’ off someone else. He eventually has an epiphany and decides he wants to make things work but he has already hurt her so much that I was a bit disappointed Chloe decided she had no other alternative than to be with him.
Unfortunately much of the plot revolved around MacRieve and Chloe trying to negotiate their romance. I had hoped for lots of action scenes considering we had a skilled warrior and such a plucky heroine but it never emerged. At one point, MacRieve’s property was surrounded by baddies who MacRieve casually informs Chloe are intent on using her as bait to trap her father and then will probably rape her and kill her. He explains to them that Chloe is no longer human and not only do the baddies believe him just because he swears an oath, they then all pack up and go home. Come on! Instead of taking the opportunity to leave, Chloe hangs around and starts teaching orphans how to play soccer. The ending was also quite a let down as MacRieve simply let a key character go – I suspect this decision will come back to bite our heroes in the butt later on in the series.
Cole has obviously planned out her world meticulously but for someone who is just getting into the series, a few more heads up moments would have helped. The excerpts from ‘The Living Book of Lore’ was great and I enjoyed Nucking Futs Nix’s rather unusual entrance.
While I really enjoyed Chloe and the world, I wanted more action and MacRieve to treat his mate with a little more respect.