My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an apt image. Noah, the Demon King, a Fire Demon over 700 years old, has watched those around him fall under the spell of the Imprinting. He's happy for them but also longs for his own mate.
In this book, he finally gets what he's been wishing for.
Of course, it can't all be flowers and chocolates, and Jacquelyn Frank delivers yet another riveting example of her masterful story telling. Noah's mate is much like the other women in this series - strong, powerful and perfectly matched to their destined mate. And yet, Kestra, who is unbeknownst to herself a Druid, is also very broken on the inside, hiding her fears and pain behind a mask of confidence and overt sexuality.
He's been dreaming of her for six months, just as she has been dreaming of him. He longs for her, yearns for her, and by the time he mans up and decides to find her, she's in a situation that she can't escape.
Of course, Noah is now desperate and uses his Enforcers' child (who just happens to be the first Time Demon) to return to the moment right before Kestra's demise. He rescues her and brings her back to his castle. When she wakes, she recognizes him as the man from her dreams. He's a bit reluctant to tell her what's going on and she's all 'yeah, whatever, where's the door'.
He doesn't quite know how to approach the situation with Kestra other than immediately consummating the relationship. Passionately. Consumingly. Irrationally.
I suppose a Demon who's waited over 700 years for his mate could possibly be excused for losing his cool upon finally having her in his arms.
Ms. Frank continues to amaze me with the vivid descriptions of lovemaking she employs without ever veering into crude or crass expressions.
Eventually, after some false starts and major misunderstandings, they figure it out, although Kestra remains rigid in her refusal to let herself love him. It was painful to see Noah struggle with his emotions and the typical behavior of a man in love for the first time, but I also smiled happily when he finally got what he wanted all along.
While I understand her reasons, after her history comes to light, and while the time between start and finish of this book is less than two months (and I applaud Ms. Frank for NOT writing a heroine who swoons over her destined mate and thus forgets all principles she's held dear until now), it felt a tiny bit formulaic that Kestra didn't realize or admit to herself that she's in love with Noah until he was dead. Well, mostly dead.
Suddenly, she gets it. Needless to say, Noah lives to tell the tale.
The main plot (see above) is broken up by revisits with characters from previous books as well as a subplot of rogue bloodsuckers who have thanks to Damien and the Nightwalker library figured out how to absorb the powers of other Nightwalkers. This clearly spells trouble and the anticipation builds until the Rogues strike at a most inopportune moment with an attack on Damien's wife and Noah's mate.
Bad move. Big mistake. HUGE!
We don't hear from Ruth and her vampy friend in this book but I'm sure she will raise her ugly head again in the next one.
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