Sooo…I have had this one for what seems like forever. I mean…it is a Walker book and typically I jump on these but timing wise it just hasn’t worked. And I hate that! Geez…this was so fantastic and just quintessential Walker.
I adored this.
Now, I must confess…and this is not a spoiler at all…because if I had actually read the blurb completely I would totally know this. The story is about our main character, Israel, learning that he was switched at birth. And guess what??? This story is not about those two switched boys…
Yep…I totally went there in my head.
Not sure why or how or whatever but I am kinda embarrassed by the whole thing honestly. But, there are many times, especially with authors I love, that I start without reading reviews, or apparently entire blurbs.
Yeah…I am nuts.
So what an unbelievable surprise this was to learn that this was a “friends to lovers” story. And to realize that our beloved Sam would be “the one”. I fell in love with this character from the moment he entered the page. How Israel’s family dynamics and gut wrenching experiences impacted their friendship and the strength that Sam gave to Israel was just beautifully portrayed. There was nothing these two had not shared. No tears left unshed between them or walls left standing when these two were through.
On top of all that...this has absolutely one of the best first kisses…ever.
And then throw in some possessive behavior and I am a freaking mess.
I cornered him against the wall. “No one touches you but me.” His pupils were blown out, and his breath was shallow. He was definitely turned on. I put my hand to his jaw and slid my thumb over his bottom lip. “No one kisses you but me.” Then I slid my other hand down his stomach, over the bulge in the front of his jeans. “No one fucks you but me.”
There is nothing better than possession and claiming someone as yours. Phew.
This is a must read and one I will be revisiting time and time again!
Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that. He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until— The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness
Jerking my eyes open, I’m blinded by the bright sunlight creeping through my chiffon curtains. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Alex’s favorite Guns N’ Roses song, blares through the speakers of my digital radio alarm clock. Awesome. As if jerk-face haunting me in my dreams isn’t bad enough. The universe seems to give a shit about the deal I’d made with my ex-lover. Or why else would it torture me with those fucking nightmares? “You’re such a slut!” Chelsea, aka the Nun, aka roommate from church-hell, yells from the living room. The walls of our three-bedroom apartment at Green House are too fucking thin. “Oh yeah? And what are you, Jesus with boobs?” Bonnie, my best and only friend, barks. Pressing a pillow over my head, I try to block their voices out. This isn’t how I pictured my new life at NYU, and it sure as hell isn’t what I had in mind when I’d given up my old, carefree life as a witch. I’m so over their senseless fights. They’ve been living together for a while now. They still can’t ignore each other. Granted, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the Nun. If she isn’t demonstrating against abortion, or writing a blog post about Evil Women Who Scream Rape When They Practically Asked For It Because They Wore A Too- Short Skirt, she’s determined to make Bonnie’s life a living hell. “That’s blasphemy, Bonnie!” “Sue me.” The fighting continues. That’s it! I’m going to kill ’em. With a headache from hell and still half asleep, I stumble to my door and yank it open. They’re standing in the common room, which consists of an open kitchen and a small living room. “Shut up! Both of you!” Bonnie’s eyes almost pop out. “Did you hear what she just said?” She sounds offended. “The whole freakin’ floor heard you guys,” I snap. They shoot daggers at me. I don’t care. Running a hand through my disheveled hair, I walk to the fresh brewed coffee and pour some into a dirty cup. Why can’t these girls wash up? Chelsea glares at me with an I’m-so-much-better- than-you expression, rolls her eyes, and heads to her room. The girl knows what’s good for her. Have to give her that much. “I want her out!” Jesus! “And I want you to stop yelling, Bonnie. I’m not deaf.” She lowers her voice. “I’m serious. I can’t live with her.” You don’t say? I take a drink of the black gold and pull myself onto the kitchen counter. “We’ve already tried to get rid of her, remember? But like it or not, all residence halls are full.” Bonnie puts a hand on her hip. It’s paradoxical. Usually, I’m the one with temper issues. Lately, I couldn’t care less about bitch fights. “Did you have a good night?” I ask, trying to take her mind off the Nun. Bonnie’s pained expression fades, and she flashes me a bright smile. “I had a date with Cappuccino Guy. He was...” She pauses. “Wow. Just wow. I can totally set you up with one of his buddies. Just say the word.” I knit my brows. “Nah. If I need a date doctor, I’ll call Hitch.” Downing the rest of the coffee, I get on my feet. “I need a shower.” Bonnie throws her cute curls over her shoulder. Her shiny cognac eyes fill with concern. “Did you have another nightmare?” I lean my hip against the counter and close my eyes. The vicious dream pushes through my subconscious. The images are so fucking vivid, it’s as if I’m still trapped in it.
The wind rattled the leaves of the massive trees as plants wove around my ankles like poisonous snakes. I looked up. The sky closed in on me. Black wings beat the chilly air. Ravens owned the firmament. Hundreds of them blocked the faint light from the crescent moon. Quickening my pace, I reached an old, savaged cemetery. My pulse jackknifed in my neck as I stared at an inverted cross leaning against the king-sized iron gates. I moved closer and read the inscription carved into the black wood: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. My Italian was rusty, but I knew Dante by heart. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” With a jarring sound, the gates opened. Don’t do this. Too late. It felt as if a magnetic pull lured me into the cemetery. I passed through the gates of hell. Ravens perched on crooked gravestones, throwing spooky shadows on the burned grass. The tang of sulfur engulfed me, stinging my nostrils. This was insane. Turn the fuck around and walk away. Every cell in my body wanted to listen to the voice in my head. I couldn’t. The place had me under its spell. “Amanda!” Bonnie? I turned, trying to locate her. “Amanda.” Hysteria tinged my voice. “Bonnie, where the fuck are you?” Desperate, I faced one of the ravens. “Where is she?” The bird’s charcoal eyes pierced me. Then it spread its wings and flew toward a shabby mausoleum. A single black candle burned on the steps. There it was again, the magnetic pull. In a trance-like state, I stumbled toward the old tomb and the door swung open. “In here.” Bonnie’s honey-colored skin was wrapped in a white toga. She looked like a Greek goddess, but her beautiful cognac eyes were white and empty. I blinked. “What the hell is going on?” A crooked smile on her lips, she yanked the door open farther. “Come and see for yourself.” “What the—” Peeking over her shoulder, words stuck in my throat. My heart stopped. “Alex?” He laid on a mortuary table. Was he— No! I tried to push past my best friend, but inhuman and terrifying laughter pulsated through the eerie night. “He’s gone, Amanda,” a dark voice whispered. An ocean of black feathers covered the ground. Ravens croaked in agony as a shadowy figure in a dark cloak crushed them with its boots. Dread infected my system and I had trouble breathing. I wanted to run, but the black feathers turned into rattling snakes. The creatures hissed, and I knew they’d attack if I made a wrong move. “W-who the hell are you?” The demon laughed. “Ah, love. ‘What is in a name?’” The snakes crawled left and right, opening a path for the cloaked creature. “‘That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet,’” the black shadow said, advancing toward me. I should have been shocked by the fact a demon quoted Shakespeare, but my gaze drifted back to Alex. “What did you do to him?” The shadow figure stopped inches in front of me and ran its blazing hand over my cheeks. “All in good time, love.” Then Bonnie slammed the mausoleum door shut, trapping Alex’s lifeless body inside.
“Amanda?” Bonnie’s voice draws me back to the present. “Did you have another nightmare?” I run an index finger over the dark circles beneath my eyes and nod. “They’re getting worse.” “Worse how?” I trace the scar Walter’s bullet left on my chest, not sure how to describe the uncanny feeling. “They’re way too real. I’ve slept eight hours, yet I feel like I was up all night, running a triathlon.” Bonnie grabs the coffee pot and pours me another cup. “Did you call Alex?” Did Cappuccino Guy screw her brains out? Alex, aka jerk-face, is the last person I’d give a buzz. Twenty- one months ago, hunter-heroic barged into my life and made me believe we had a chance at happiness. For the first time, I indulged in the fantasy love wasn’t just an illusion. When the witch hunter learned I was his favorite kind of prey, things turned ugly fast. He threatened to kill me, and if it wasn’t for his brother Jesse, he would have gone through with his threat. Then, three months ago, he walked back in my life with a proposal I couldn’t pass up. His brother had gone missing, and if I helped him, he would never bother me again. We found Jesse and saved a bunch of kids abducted by a bokor and his pedophile asshole friend, Walter. Alex honored his promise and didn’t contact me again. “Why would I call him? Jesse is safe, I paid my dues, and he hasn’t bothered me again. Everything is perfect.” Bonnie arches a brow. “You don’t look so perfect, Amanda.” “Really?” I grin, or at least I try. “I thought I totally rocked this American Apparel underwear.” “Amanda.” She folds her hands over my shoulders. “We both know he isn’t just any guy. He’s the f—” Anger rises through me like toxic smoke. “Don’t you dare,” I warn her. “You promised you’d never bring this up.” She plays with a strand of her rebellious curls. “I’m sorry. It’s just... I’m worried. Ever since you went on that stupid road trip, you don’t date, don’t screw.” She draws a deep breath. “Fuck. You don’t even live.” I’m so not up for this conversation. I put the cup in the sink and stalk to our tiny bathroom next to my room. “Don’t wait on me,” I hiss, slamming the door shut. “You’re such a bitch,” she barks. I couldn’t agree more.
**** Working the dayshift at Lindy’s Diner, I refill the sticky sugar bowls. It’s been three months since I said goodbye to my past. Two months without reading cards. One month of respectable work as a waitress, and two fucking weeks of nightmares. Goddammit, I feel like a freaking member of AA. “Amanda!” Lindy calls from the kitchen. Hands shaking, head thumping, I put the sugar down and turn around. “Yeah?” Deep lines on her forehead, she raises a brow at me. “New customer. Table two.” God, I miss my old life. I straighten my apron and grab a menu. Approaching table two with a half-hearted smile, I put the menu down. “Welcome to Lindy’s Diner.” I point to my tag. “My name is Amanda. What can I get ya?” The sentence is branded into my brain. You wanted this, I remind myself. Yeah, but back then I hadn’t known a normal life was equivalent with becoming suicidal. “What would you suggest?” my new customer asks. He’s about twenty-five, wears a fancy black suit and expensive leather shoes. Not exactly a typical Lindy’s Diner customer. I pull the pen out of my ponytail and reach for my notepad. “Pancakes are nice. Apple pie is great. Everything else pretty much sucks.” Joe, our Italian chef, is freakin’ amazing, but Lindy likes to keep her costs low. Even Joe can’t turn shit into gold. The dude leans back, and his lips curve up at the corners. “Pancakes and pie it is, then.” I jot down his order and walk to the kitchen. After handing the paper to Joe, I nibble on cookies until my phone vibrates in the back pocket of my jeans. Peeking through the kitchen door, I check if Lindy is nearby before pulling it out. Bonnie’s name flickers across the screen. I hadn’t expected to hear from her after our little argument that morning, but the girl doesn’t just love me at my best. She also accepts me at my worst. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been nothing but at my worst. Still mad? she texted. Maybe, I sent back, not ready to let her off the hook so easily. Suck it up. Double-date tonight nine. Dress up, he’s hot! Has she lost her mind? I look like one of the zombie strippers. Hot on the outside, rotten and dead within. No! Yes! Bonnie had made up her mind, and the girl is like a pit bull when she wants something. I’m bound to lose a WhatsApp argument with her, so I decide to talk her out of it later. We’ll see. See you in Penrose’s class? Yes. I hit the send button and put the phone away before Lindy catches me texting. I return to the counter and see the guy with the fancy leather shoes holding up his cup. “Table two,” Lindy snaps. “I’m not blind.” “Then move your lazy ass. The coffee ain’t serving itself.” Grabbing the pot, I stalk toward him. “Anything else?” I ask, filling his cup. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but I just can’t help it. He studies me with big, arctic-blue eyes. There’s something about them that gives me the creeps. I just can’t put my finger on what it is. I try to read his aura, but the colors are blurred. I haven’t had a clear reading since the damn nightmares started. I’ve tried, God knows I have, but it’s like I’m constantly glaring at a fucking rainbow. What good is it to be a witch if you can’t use your gifts? “I’m Legend, by the way.” Sure, and I’m Jada Pinkett Smith. “Would you, maybe, care to join me?” He sounds casual, not pushy. “Sorry. Can’t,” I grumble. He holds my gaze. Chills ripple through me. Oh no. Not here. Not now.
The way too familiar scent of rusty iron and death hung in the air as Legend stood in the living room of the comfy family home. He’d been told by the first responding officers the scene was barbaric, but the word couldn’t adequately describe what he saw. Vicious crimson stains covered the walls, part of a liver lay on a white leather sofa, and a bloody hand print decorated the large flat-screen TV. Legend drew a deep breath and focused on the disfigured corpse. The weird symbol carved into his head bugged Legend a lot. Four people slaughtered, and all wearing the same mark. “Sir,” a young officer said to him. “The coroner is here.” “Give me a sec,” he ordered, scanning the crime scene. No sign of forced entry, no murder weapon, and he’d bet his ass there’d be no DNA or fingerprints. The young officer glared at the corpse. His face slightly green, he looked sick to his stomach. “What animal would do something like that?” Animal was the keyword. The rib cage of the poor bastard was torn into pieces, most of his organs removed, the body had been twisted in an unnatural way, and the victim’s face unrecognizable. “I don’t know,” Legend said. “But whatever killed him won’t stop.” “Whatever? You mean whoever, right?” Legend pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket and went to the door. “No. I meant whatever.”
My knees are like jelly as the sickening vision fades. The symbol carved into the man’s head had been a sigil. In other words, a demon’s calling card. Every demon has its own. But this one, I had seen before. It had been carved into the chest of Mister Sinister, the guy who’d attacked me in an alley. The dude Alex thought I’d iced. “Are you all right?” Legend sounds genuinely concerned. My hands tremble. “Just a little dizzy.” He loosens the collar of his shirt. A weird tattoo crawls over his neck. Looks like some sort of symbol. “Sure you don’t want to join me, Amanda?” Before I can answer, Lindy shouts, “Amanda!” For once, I’m glad my boss is a freaking tyrant. “Sorry. Gotta go.”
Nadine aka Dini is a traveler at heart. She considers the world her home and practically lives out of her suitcases. When she’s not glaring at a blank page or abusing her poor keyboard, she spends her time reading, watching movies (preferably horror), pretends to work out, and hangs out with friends and family. Poor girl also suffers from a serious Marvel superhero addiction. So, if you run into her at night, wearing black, know she’s secretly dreaming of being the infamous Black Widow. Her love for writing started in the sixth grade where she annoyed her classmates with a short story featuring Sailor Moon characters, a cemetery, and creepy ghosts. Yes, she’s always been addicted to the dark side. Nadine writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel “Karma” the first book in her paranormal romance series Drag.Me.To.Hell. is published by the Wild Rose Press and will be out in May 2016. She has a serious girl crush on her protagonist Amanda Bishop. Nadine has a BA in Comparative Religions and studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.
It has been nearly a week since I finished this one and to say that I may have had a meltdown during the first 30% of this book would be putting things rather mild.
I was destroyed. And not so much about what did or did not happen but what it did to these men. I am tearing up just writing this...even now a week later.
The love between these two men is so strong and yet they fail to realize at times that they physically cannot live without the other. So damage and destruction they attempt and when they fall apart...I fall apart.
...it was this last confession that undid him. As the words eased out on the exquisite delight of Nikolas once more pulling out and then opening him up and entering again, Ben’s throat seized up, a deep sob emerged, and before he could stop himself, he flung his arms across his face for privacy, and the pleasure was buried under a desolate confusion at who he was.
Nikolas faltered. Ben felt him withdraw, but then he took him in another way. Nikolas’s arms came around him, dragging him into a tight spoon, just holding him as the humiliating sobs wracked his body. He didn’t even know what he was crying for. Once he’d started, he was distraught for that—for the fact that he was so unlike himself, so unmanned by everything in his life that he didn’t know who he had become any more.
It was only when he heard an agonised whisper, “Please don’t, Ben, you’re killing me,” that he turned, forcing himself to calmness, to find Nikolas’s stressed and worn face creased with anguish.
Nikolas turned his gaze back from the darkness in the courtyard, which he’d been studying with such intense concentration, and Ben saw the tracks of tears on his cheeks.
It wasn’t the first time he’d seen Nikolas cry. But in over ten years, he could count the number of times on the fingers of one hand. He rose swiftly and embraced him, wrapping his arms around Nikolas’s battered head tightly, pressing it to his shirt. He pushed his own face into the greying blond hair, and with the familiar smell of vanilla and coconut, he came home.
Fucking hell. Just kill me now.
Now having said all that, I will say this is likely one of my favorite in the series so far. Nik continues to puzzle me at times and it is hard to totally put your hands on what all makes up this man and ultimately I have decided that this is the point. Because at times even Ben is puzzled as well. And even with that said, no matter what...you love him. Ben loves him and will continue to do whatever has to be done for his Nik.
“You are not alone, Nikolas. Never. I’m right here with you, if this is how it has to be. I will kill the whole fucking world for you, if that is what you need.” Ben shook him. “Do you understand me?”
And yes, I am officially in tears wrting this review.
Life wasn’t sunlit uplands and glass houses, vast wealth and running around with your pretty boyfriend in the expensive toys he bought you.
Life was wearing armour too heavy to bear and carrying weapons too eager to be used.
Life was learning to swim hard and fast and keep your head above the shit.
Life was having someone alongside you in every single manoeuvre, every fall, every painful rise again, and knowing that, win or lose, the war was never fought alone.
I guess being destroyed means I love this book and this couple. I eagerly await more.