I rubbed my hands together with glee when I got the opportunity to read this. In the first story, I was left feverishly waiting to learn about Hauk’s special gifts and what was next with Hauk and Jolie. The bad guys were still at large and riled up after Hauk and Jolie’s escape. So yeah, I was eager for this one and I wasn’t left disappointed.
This is not a standalone and needs to be read after the first story, How Beauty Met the Beast.
The story opens with Jolie now an agent of the Underlight and Hauk is training her. There are undercurrents of attraction, but it is all kept professional and just between friends. A shared near death moment draws those undercurrents to the surface and they finally share a kiss. This leads to confusion, vulnerability and fear. Before they can work up the courage to discuss their feelings and thoughts, Ashley, Hauk’s ex, returns to his life (cue the booing and hissing).
Ashley’s presence forces Jolie out of her complacency (props to Ash for one good thing). Jolie is not herself when thinking of the other girl with Hauk and finds her composure slip when she is around the other girl- the perfect little sweet selfless thing. Jolie is rattled not understanding where these odd emotions are coming from and why she has them since she’s got a ‘just friends’ thing going with Hauk and this was her idea. Jolie’s actions and words are confusing to Hauk even as he’s trying to adjust to having someone who knew him from before the fire back in his life. Oh and cue re-entry of Jolie’s (well, not sure what he is to her now) rocker Paul back on the scene.
There are other matters that keep things interesting even outside the relationship confusion. The Ananke Order hasn’t gone away. They are back again with a new agenda when it comes to Hauk and they use new methods to bring him down and it’s up to Jolie to come to the rescue. It takes something drastic for Jolie to finally understand herself and what has been in front of her all along. But has her epiphany come too late?
The plot jumps right in and just never lets up until the conclusion of this second segment in the story. Whether it was the battles with Ananke or the attraction between Hauk and Jolie, I was captivated by the story. The world building descriptions are not very evident and take a back seat to the focus on the characters in this one (not a complaint; just an observation).
Now, I was a bit frustrated with Jolie’s cluelessness about her own feelings, but eventually she caught up with what was going on and things were alright. I admire how the author wrote Jolie’s character by allowing her to have her doubts and weaknesses. She’s still a work in progress, but that’s just it- she is progressing.
And all those secrets surrounding Hauk? Yep, they’re answered here in the story. Might I say ‘Wow, didn’t see that answer coming’? I love what possibilities this opens up now for the next segment.
I loved seeing the guy go from vulnerable to determined to have what he wanted. He’s realistic about his chances and he’s not arrogant, but he is certain that he wants Jolie.
Hmm, and what to say about Jolie’s rival- I guess I’m so pro Jolie that I didn’t like her from the start. Ashley is a true rival for the beautiful and talented Jolie in that she has a past with Hauk, she’s lovely, she’s a self-made success and she truly cares for Hauk. But- yeah, didn’t want to see St. Ashley with Hauk even if she seems like a better fit.
On a side note, I just want to thank Jax Garren for taking care of my curiosity issues and not leave me hanging, but doing it in such a way that- revealed secrets and all- I’m still eager for the next segment of the story. Something tells me there are more reveals to come and I’m definitely in need of more Hauk and Jolie.
Like the first one, I think lovers of Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, and Urban Fantasy will find this book a good fit.
Thank you to Net Galley and Carina Press for providing my review copy.