Two-hundred-year-old Daegan Blackwell is one of the last remaining Empowered, an ancient magical race. Daegan’s duty is to lead and protect his remaining Brethren in the coming war foretold by prophecy. The last thing he expects is to meet the one woman who will either save or destroy him-his destined mate.
Fiercely independent Realtor Olivia Farrell believes darkly handsome Daegan is simply a prospective client. Until she’s attacked by a man with a strange aura-and Daegan fights him off, taking away her pain with just his touch. At first, Olivia refuses to believe she’s part of a magical race, yet mounting evidence and her powerful chemistry with Daegan are too strong to deny.
But as Daegan’s partner, Olivia becomes a target in the battle between good and evil that threatens her life, as well as the very existence of the Empowered. And the only one who can save her is the man claiming to be her destiny…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I am a die-hard Kaylea Cross fan, have been for about a year now. When I saw she was branching out into paranormals, I was pretty dang excited. Favorite genre + incredible author is bound to be good.
Daegan is part of a supernatural race called the Empowered, with Cade and Vaughn at his side, he is what is left of the Empowered army, set to fight against the Over Lord for the sake of all humankind. But the prophecy says the warriors have to find their mates before the war can begin. When Daegan meets Olivia, he knows in an instant that she is his.
Olivia isn’t ready to accept the supernatural world, and her place within it, but it’s pretty damn hard for her to ignore the evidence. Although she is insanely attracted to Daegan, she isn’t ready to become his mate after only knowing him for a day or so. But when she can no longer deny herself, she will go to him. But along the way she runs into the Dark Army, whose newest tasks is to take her out.
I had a little bit of a difficult time getting into this book. For some reason, it seemed to move very slowly for me in the beginning. It took awhile for the world-building to unravel in its entirety, and while the Empowered have very vampire-like attributes, they are very different. Also, the history behind the supernatural world-building was a myth/god/fairytale I had never heard before, and it took me a bit of time to get all the world-building figured out. Once I did, I found myself enjoying and getting into the story further.
For the first time ever since reading a Cross book, I found myself liking the secondary characters more than the hero and heroine. While Daegan had all the alpha hero tendencies down to a T, there was just something about him that didn’t pull me in. He was a little misguided in his “selfless” actions in giving Olivia space, and his willingness to let himself turn evil incarnate seemed a little drastic for his character. For me, both Cade and Vaughn impacted the story for me more than Daegan. I can’t wait to find out more about Cade, see his reaction to having to actually commit to one woman, and why that freaks him out so much. Vaughn and his dark and twisted ways, and yet tender sweetheart moments. How he is going to go on, if he will be able to find love again. These two guys really stood out to me, much more so than Daegan.
I did enjoy the romance between Daegan and Olivia though. It’s always fun to see the different ways authors deal with the “fated mate” and I was glad that Cross had Olivia struggling, even continued to struggle to the very end, with the idea of being supernatural, and being mated. I liked that she knew her own strengths and weaknesses, and that she wasn’t one of those heroines who, when new to the supernatural world, thinks she can do anything and everything, while ending up a TSTL character. I hope we can see even more development between these two over the course of the series.
One thing I do want to say is that although it took me awhile to get into the world-building, I really liked it. I loved the way mates mark each other. I liked that everyone of the Empowered had a different kind of magical ability. I loved how Cross tweaked the Reaper and integrated it into the world as a whole. This is probably one of the more unique and different paranormal romance worlds I’ve read in a really long time.
All in all while the book started slow and the hero didn’t quite grab me like normal, I did really like the first book in Cross’ first paranormal romance. The world itself is absolutely incredible, the secondary characters pulled me in like never before, and the overall plot arc is one that will definitely be able to carry the series overall. I am excited to see where this one goes!
I give Darkest Caress a B-