I loved the idea of a blend between Egyptian mythology and demonology wrapped up together in a paranormal romance story. This one jumped right into the action and held my interest from the start even when I was a bit confused about what was going on until an explanation came along. Once it got going, I noticed that it had familiar overtones like other paranormal romance series that I have read.
It begins with Magus guardian, Ashor Vlahos, wounded and bitter after his last bout of fighting off demon minions. He just wants it all to end. Ashor has the gift of sensing demonic activity and he also has the ability to sense one other- the one who helped him escape torture all those years ago. He felt an attraction for her and suspected that she is the next Magi Healer, but he let her go and kept this to himself. But now, she is nearby and in trouble.
Kira Hardy is in the homestretch of her residency and needs to focus, but she drops everything when family needs her particularly now that her two cousins are the last of her family left alive. Marcus needs her to accompany him to give provenance to an artifact that he is purchasing for a client. Marcus thinks she’s just good at recognizing genuine articles, but Kira has a secret. She can sense when an artifact contains magic. And this one does, but before an exchange can be made, mayhem breaks loose when the bad guys jump out from all directions. She escapes with minor injuries thanks to the intervention of the man from her dreams who disappears again into the night and makes her question whether it wasn’t a real encounter.
Kira goes back to her hospital work and Ashor along with his fellow magi return to fighting demons. But an old enemy of both is aware of their activities and has an agenda of his own. He suspects who and what Kira really is and he needs two more artifacts to solidify his power. The rise in demonic activity brings Kira into further contact with the magi and she cannot help, but use her healing gift to help them. She refuses to countenance the idea that she fated to be their healer. The attraction between Ashor and Kira is strong and he suspects that she is the woman destined to be his soulmate, but since she is the fated healer that makes her off limits plus there is that bit about him being almost consumed by the darkness more and more with each new battle with the demons. Thus, they go through a tug o’ war of emotions even while the danger from their enemy increases placing loved one in danger.
When I began reading this I was intrigued by the character of Ashor, but at the same time I was a bit disoriented by not really understanding what was going on in this world of Egyptian gods, demons, and this group of immortal human guardians. It seemed that each time I got a handle on it that a new curve was thrown at me. I do know to be patient when I’m reading the first book in the series which is always destined to be the one heavy on the world building thus weakening the plot or distracting me a bit. And I did try for patience, but there were a few times- I’m still not sure what I think about that twist when all the secrets were revealed at the end that broke through the seemingly impossible barrier of how Kira could be the fated healer, but also Ashor’s fated mate. Enough about that though. While it was confusing stuff, it was also a pretty interesting take on a book involving demons as the bad guys set on taking over the human world and running loose and those handsome, dangerous, capable, yet vulnerable immortal men ranged against them.
I’ve always been a sucker for the ‘band of brothers’ stories where there are multiple heroes all with different personalities, but a close camaraderie that gets them through the tough stuff together. Each of the guys harbor their own taint of darkness and also possess unique gifts and personalities, but Ashor is the scariest and most close to the darkness of them all and he happens to be the leader. He battles himself almost as hard as he battles the demons. He is honorable, but he’s all alpha and Kira gets under his skin. Kira is a character that I’m on the fence about. I tried to get past my early impression of not liking her because she was stringing along this poor guy she worked with for the wrong reasons. She’s also hip deep in denial a lot of the time too. She has a gift of healing, but when she is told that she is giving the gift because she is expected to be the healer of the guardians she refuses. I couldn’t understand why she fought it so hard particularly when she was training to be a doctor. I know she said that she didn’t want to be caught up in the middle of the dangerous stuff, but I couldn’t believe she was so naive as to think that all she had to do was walk away and it would all go away. Sand, ostrich, Kira? There was also that tendency to keep ditching her protectors, getting herself into trouble and then having to be bailed out several times. I found it laughable when she said that Ashor burned hot and cold on her (not that I’m excusing that one scene when he really crossed the line) because she was constantly ready to run out the door and had no plans to commit and seemed to just want to scratch an itch. So yeah, I wasn’t fond of that side of her, but there was also the courageous need to help even when it placed her in danger, the compassion to relieve the pain whenever she could and of course the way she inspired change in Ashor to show a light-hearted side.
I look forward to more stories that will feature the other guardians and I do hope to see more of Kira’s cousins, Kane and Marcos who were personal favorites of mine for different reasons. Kane is so capable and then there’s Marcus who seems to be the ultimate survivor.
The action was really exciting and the bad guys are true villains leaving a trail of bodies and misery in their wake. I found it refreshing to read about characters who were not only called evil demons, but acted the part too making them worthy opponents. Even though there was a triumph of sorts in this story, it was obvious that the head demon, Terek, isn’t through with his plotting and he has plenty of help at his finger tips to continue being a huge thorn in the guardians’ side. I look forward to seeing what is to come.
I recommend this book/series to those who enjoy a grittier Paranormal Romance series with the romance on the spicier side and promises a big bad dangerous guardian.
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