Review: The Darkest Touch by Gena Showalter

Review: The Darkest Touch by Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Touch by Gena Showalter

Series: #11 Lords of the Underworld
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Harlequin on November 25, 2014
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Book Tour Provided
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four-stars  

Not long after this series began, I started really wanting the story of the Lord of Disease, Torin who has had to go through life isolated from normal interaction and the comfort of touch because of the nature of the demon his body houses. At first, it seems like he is content to be the tech guy and support unit, but then slowly it starts to come out in the series just how much he wants so much more than he can ever have. He wants what the other Lords have with their women. So the questions grew larger in my mind of how would it be possible and who would it be? My interest soared even higher when his minor character plot ended on a cliffhanger in the last book.

Now that the story is here, I’m going to disappoint all you Torin fans who haven’t kept up with the series and highly recommend that you don’t just jump ahead. Torin’s story grows through the series to broaden in this book to being the main story arc and it is also tangled with the series story arc as well as continuing a few other minor plot threads. Basically the book assumes that the reader has kept up with the series. In the end, can you read it out of order? With some moments of confusion and curiosity, yes you can. But should you? No, not if you want to get the most out of it.

Now, onward! This book weighed in at nearly 500 pps so the reader is by no means stinted on content. There is a lot going on with the most prominent being Torin and Keeley’s story and how they make a truly forbidden romance work especially when she starts out with a strong desire to kill him. I’ll do my best not to offer any serious spoilerage particularly since there is some real game-changer reveals for the series in this one.

The book opens with Torin grieving over the cell mate that he has accidentally killed with his disease when she naively insisted on touching him. He feels guilty enough, but then he learns the deceased Mari is the best and only friend of the demented female occupying the cell next to him in Cronus’ immortal prison. She tells him that she is Keeleycael The Red Queen and lists several painful ways she will kill him when she gets loose. Torin recognizes that he deserves her wrath, but he is on a mission to rescue his companions that through circumstances earlier that were flung to other dimensions like him. He uses the hidden All Key and escapes knowing she’ll be after him for her vengeance. And he is right. Although at first it was a bit touch and go with the enemies thing. After a time, she doesn’t go for the kill when she has the chance so he gains an interesting traveling companion and strong ally though the proximity to such an attractive female might drive him insane. His want for Keeley goes stronger by the day, but he can’t give in no matter how much she insists that she is stronger than his demon of disease. Getting to know Keeley makes his resistance even harder because he knows she is the perfect woman for him though he wonders how long her reciprocal feelings for him will last since they can’t even touch without him nearly killing her or eventually killing her. She becomes the source of his happiness and he isn’t sure if he has the strength to send her away or go away himself not that she’d let him. He knows what she considers unforgiveable because he knows Keeley. Dare he use that? But in the meantime strong enemies distract them with new and deadly situations.

Keeley knows something about the Lords and soon recognizes that Torin isn’t deserving of her revenge. In fact, he protects her from others that would harm her and tries to provide for her as they work their way through the various dimensions trying to find his companions or get back to his own. She was attracted to him from the get go, but it is not long before he surpasses every male she has encountered and she wants them to be together. After seeing the truth herself when she chose to flaunt caution with Torin and grew gravely ill, she knows her work is cut out for her if she is to keep him from being noble about things. Keeley has no problem doing what she has to do even bargaining and conniving to show him and the others how to use the four powerful instruments they have acquired so that they can rescue their friends and find Pandora’s box. Easier said than done of course because Torin isn’t her only problem. With her escape and the return of her power, she has become a person of interest to several who have their own agendas working.

The story is filled with the usual back and forth dialogue and monologues that are signature Gena Showalter. I really had my fingers crossed on this one because it was Torin’s story and I really wanted it to be something else. It is seemingly impossible for him to have a relationship and find a woman who would dare the chance of exposure to go anywhere near him. He has come to see himself as a second-rate warrior because he hasn’t been out in the field in centuries and sees any interest a woman shows him as if it’s only a matter of time before it withers and dies. This sort of fragility deserves a special woman to restore him and chase away his self-doubt. Keeley was something else and her story is even more fascinating than Torin’s when it is unveiled.

Meanwhile, the glaring problem is still there bigger than life. His fears have a strong base in reality as do the fears of those who keep him isolated. This fear is the catalyst for much of what happens personally between Torin and Keeley. They really have a big struggle and must work past so much. I confess to getting a bit impatient as stuff was going down toward the middle of the book, but sticking with these two was well worth it.

What would it take to change the impossible to the possible? And that’s the part that I’m not going to answer.

There are check-ins with Cameo and Lazarus as they fend for themselves trying to find their way through the dimensions to home. After what befell these two, I have a new Lord that I want a book for in a bad way.

The reappearance of another familiar person who shall go unnamed makes for another interesting story possibility.

The kiddies and other couples get updates and so cool- a couple other Lords will soon join Maddox in the daddy category.

But there is also William- dear William with his mysterious past and his fixation on Gilly.

And the storms of war brewing amongst demon and angel kind that is spilling over into the Lord’s world. Love the crossover to the Angels of the Dark series.

I’ll leave you with a bit of Torin and Keeley quote-age:

With a sigh, Torin moved in front of her and framed her face with his gloved hands. “Look at me, Princess. Please.”
He’s touching me. And its good, so good…
“I’ve got something to tell you. Something that’s going to change your life.”
…”O-Okay”
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is fruit- wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
She blinked…”I don’t really know how to reply to that.”

Loc. 32% Torin and Keeley, The Darkest Touch

 

She’d heard the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Which was an odd saying, because she’d punched her way through many a male torso, and she knew for a fact that a way to a man’s heart was through the fourth and fifth ribs, but she understood the spirit of the phrase…
“I’m not overselling this when I say that you’re about to have the best dining experience of your life.”
Loc. 34% Keeley, The Darkest Touch

Then she kissed him, and he felt like a man who’d just jumped out of a plane- without a parachute. He’d loved the ride down, the free fall, but hated the landing. Or would have, if he’d survived. The old Torin had burned away, flames bathing him. But a new Torin had risen, stronger, weaker, everything in between, and Keeley had become his only source of water. A man needed water to survive. Loc. 43% Torin, The Darkest Touch

All in all, it’s a ‘Don’t Miss’ for Lords of the Underworld fans and for my part, I was totally satisfied with Torin’s story. He was as deep emotionally and as sensual as any of the rest. And it was totally cool to see him in fight scenes as the true warrior he is. I have no idea who is next, but I really hope it’s Cameo and the mysterious Lazarus. I highly recommend this series to Paranormal Romance fans who like their hot loving and heavy action told with some spunky humor and engaging characters.

My thanks to Rock Star PR and Harlequin Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

About Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as Entertainment Weekly. Her novel Red Handed has been optioned by Sony Television. Critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories,” while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise.” Her mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex provides wildly sensual page-turners sure to enthrall.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • Melanie

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. 🙂

    • So worth it, Melanie! I was nervous about Torin’s heroine, but she was great.

  • I think everyone has been waiting for Torin’s book, lols. OMG, I can’t wait to read it…goodness, it sounds so good!

    • Oh yes! I couldn’t put it down at times. He got a really challenging heroine and that touch issue had me reading hard to see how that would finally work out.

      • that’s what got me into his story…how was she going to pair him with someone who would be able to deal with his demon Disease

        • I like it when I can’t figure out how a couple is going to get together and the author comes up with something unique. Not that I don’t enjoy the predictable ones too if the characters are good, but this just makes it better.

  • *just lookin a little* Gah I can’t wait to read this one. It’s gonna be a few books from now but so happy to see it was a good one!