I will confess to being completely skeptical when I saw Kaylea Cross, my very favorite romantic suspense author, was writing paranormal romance. Regardless, I couldn’t stay away. My curiosity got the best of me. Thank goodness! I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this book and neither will you. Darkest Caress rates right up there with some of the best known paranormal series. (Heck, I’d even say those who like Kresley Cole or Lara Adrian will be fans of this series.)
As usual, Cross’s writing is crisp with flawless flow to her story. She uses her knack at writing suspense to fill Darkest Caress with intrigue, suspense and danger. This is no simple love story as she provides readers with a fresh take on the paranormal world. The immortals – known as the Empowered – exist around folklore with a hint of magic and supernatural abilities that give this book its uniqueness.
Daegan is the Coven Leader of the Empowered. He has been fighting to save humanity from the darkness for nearly two centuries. While searching for a new home for his coven in Vancouver, Daegan meets Olivia, a real estate agent. He knows immediately she is his mate. Yet past experiences hold Daegan back from bonding with her even while the need for his mate draws him towards her. Their chemistry is deliciously hot and the tension near palpable as he attempts to control this bonding as he controls everything else.
Compelled to her mate, Olivia becomes immersed in a world she never knew existed before meeting Daegan. With a prophecy steeped in mythology and folklore hanging over her, Olivia is not only dealing with falling in love but with the decision to accept her role in the prophecy to destroy the darkness, i.e. the Obsidian Lord. She gained my respect as a strong heroine by not simply accepting what she was told. She questions, analyzes and then makes her decisions. She even possesses talents of her own that I suspect will become more useful as the war with darkness begins. Used as a pawn, Olivia holds her own – one scene in particular gives the true measure of Olivia’s strength while also exemplifying Cross’s ability to convey the deep emotion and energy of her characters.
We meet several other characters and learn much about their world through other story threads woven throughout the book effortlessly. Connections were made in subtle ways with many of the characters. Vaugh, sigh.... Cade, double sigh... Cross provides us with enough information to understand their world while leaving other information to be garnered in future books. Fabulously done.
With exceptionally drawn characters, a story rich in folklore (have I mentioned I love this?), and a fresh take on the paranormal world, Darkest Caress gets 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. I devoured this book from beginning to end, albeit sitting on the edge of my seat.