Danger signs rise off Jase Kayrs like steam—the scars, the secrets, the strength. He’s got a mission, and he’s not interested in much outside of it. Except Brenna Dunne.
Brenna was an ass-kicking, name-taking witch—before the poison that’s killing her sapped her powers too. She knows there’s more to Jase than a handsome face and an ugly history. But there’s no time to find out what. Taking him as her mate might save her life. But once she unleashes the force of his desire, there will be no turning back…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I have been reading Zanetti since probably 2011 when the first book in the Dark Protectors series was released. Obviously, I was hooked by the world, story, conflict, characters, and her writing style. Significant time has passed in that world since the first book and several new developments. Some of those developments have helped the Kayrs family, friend and allies while others have sharply reduced their chances of success. This series is rather tightly woven so there will be some spoilers for previous books.
Jase was the youngest Kayrs brother. Despite being required to fight at a young age in battles like his older brothers for their culture not to mention their lives he was usually the fun-loving, less serious one. All of that changed when he was captured and tortured by demons for five years before his family was finally able to track and rescue him. Jase turned into a scarred, sharply honed man of anger and vengeance; who was willing to do whatever it took to regain what was stolen from him and to exact a little death and destruction of his own. When he was given the opportunity to mate with a witch in an attempt to save her life, he agreed thinking that one of the mating side effects, sharing power, would be of immense benefit in his quest. But while they would be mated they would each live their separate lives because it was a business arrangement, the fact that he found her attractive was just an added bonus.
Brenna was an extremely powerful witch. Over the past several months she was just living day to day trying to ignore just how much her condition had deteriorated since she was poisoned. In addition to the side effects of the poisoning, she was faced with two different factions, one wanting her dead and the other wanting her alive but married to one of them. Both groups were urged on by a prophecy about the eighth sister of the fabled seventh sister. This prophecy said that on a certain day when a particular comet approached the earth, this eighth sister would gain unimaginable powers and either save or destroy life as the witches knew it. Brenna thought this was all a bunch of nonsense until her family showed up, confronted her with the results of her latest medical tests, and brought Jase along ready to mate in an attempt to save her life. When she was younger Brenna had a crush on Jase and as a result really didn’t want him viewing her with pity.
Unlike the other partnerships in this series, this had more of a fated-mate feeling to it. Probably because it started as a business relationship not as a love match however, Zanetti included several humorous moments and tried to give them moments of peace and quiet so their romance could grow. Early in the story before the actual mating, Jase and Brenna were surprised when some of their respective family members showed up with a draft mating contract and lawyers in tow.
He flipped his top page and frowned as he read out loud. “Any such mating will occur within the next week, and thus this document becomes final.” He lifted an eyebrow and glanced at Brenna and Jase. “You two okay with that?”
Brenna’s mind spun. They expected her to sit quietly during such a discussion? She lifted her chin. “My lady parts will be available for said mating during the next two weeks.”
Jase barked out a laugh. “As will, ah, my gentlemanly parts.”
Heat climbed into Brenna’s face. “I believe we have an agreement.”
“Wait. You should demand multiple orgasms,” Jase said.
Brenna coughed. “Excellent point. I so demand.” Her shoulders started shaking as she tried to hold in laughter. Jase chuckled sounding much more like the man she used to know.
While the humor worked for me, I found that I had a hard time fully buying into their romance. Jase spent much of the book declaring he would never really care for Brenna as more than a means to an end. So his reversal towards the end didn’t quite ring true to me. He repeatedly left her for any chance to go after the demons yet refused to let her go back to be with her family as the prophesied time neared. Granted she was probably the only person who truly believed that he wasn’t permanently damaged but he appeared to give lip service to what she wanted and felt outside of their sexytimes. As a result I had a few issues with her acceptance of his love.
I did really enjoy the overall plot movement in Shadowed because it seems like things will be coming to a head soon. The attacks on the Kayrs family and their allies are becoming more serious and complex, demonstrating what appears to be inside knowledge. They are facing two different enemies who for some reason are not working together so that is a benefit. This installment also brought into the open the inclusion of a fourth character whose motives and allegiances are unknown but who will play a key role in the conclusion.
Zanetti continues to have an interesting series even if this installment appeared weaker in the romance area. I am intrigued by the new developments and lingering unsolved issues. I do have some concerns about the percentage of romance in the next installment if things reach their tipping point because the balance of romance to action is rather delicate. I am curious to see what happens next.
I give Shadowed a B-