I just love exploring new paranormal worlds and characters introduced to me from the mind and through the pen of this author. And hoo-boy! This one was off to the races before I knew what was what.
Nexi Smith finds her world turned upside down shortly after she witnesses the horrific sight of her adoptive parents killed before her eyes by wolves that can turn into men. Just when she thinks she’s next, two warrior-like men dressed in leather kilts and armed with swords charge in to her rescue. Oh and if that’s not bizarre enough, one is her birth father and he’s from another plane composed of paranormals and magic wielders called Otherworld. Nexi was born there and is one of them, but after the murder of his mate her father chooses to have her powers bound and have her sent to live out her life as a human rather than take the chance that her death will bring him pain too.
Yes, that series of shockers is enough to affect anyone and Nexi isn’t immune. She is grieving and angry, but basically left to her own devices in this bewildering new world she is now part of. Her only viable choice seems to be the overwhelming desire to seek revenge on the werewolves who killed her adoptive parents. As a half-breed guardian witch, she has the powerful physical strength passed down by her guardian father, but her witch magic from her mother is still a no-show though she is promised that it will come. Nexi’s emotional state makes her a danger to herself and others as she defies the Otherworld Counsel and her birth father to sneak back through the portals to earth to find and kill any werewolves connected with her parents’ deaths. Naturally, with no skills to speak of, Nexi fails in her attempt to kill the wolf, but fortunately she fails because this wolf is a friendly.
Kyden an Elite warrior guardian follows the delinquent Nexi after she sneaks off once again and finds himself stuck dragging her irritating but cute butt back to Otherworld after explaining her error which she doesn’t seem to see. He is a handsome rogue and used to having no trouble crooking his ‘come hither’ finger at women, but this female is impervious to his charm. This attracts him first along with the sympathy he feels for her grief and need for revenge which is what makes him open his mouth before the counsel and offer to train her as a guardian to help her learn the skills needed to exact her revenge.
Nexi is now his new partner to train and the counsel figures there’s no time like the present for her to experience a crash course in what it means to be a guardian. Kyden and Nexi begin investigating a murder that was committed by a vampire in Salt Lake City. The trail from this murder leads to many more. Between training periods at home and on scene investigating, it becomes clear that a powerful enemy to the guardian counsel, the Otherworld, but most importantly to Nexi herself emerges. The danger just increased exponentially, but along with it, attraction has been growing between Kyden and Nexi. Nexi is slated to be the next victim and anyone standing in the way may be caught up in the crosshairs.
This was an incredible read from start to finish. It jumps right in with the danger stuff and kept up a pretty good pace right through to some of the heart-thumping fight scenes in the end. Whether its training or fighting, Nexi’s life just didn’t seem to stop. The new world that includes the usual werewolves, vampires and witches also introduces this other paranormal race called guardians. The info about this world comes in bits and pieces so it doesn’t slow down the story. I confess that I did struggle a bit to get comfortably into the story in the beginning trying to work out stuff, but patience had its rewards and it settled not long after. The story is told from both Kyden and Nexi’s perspectives leaning heavier on her point of view since her growth arc is one of the story themes. Another of the themes was the romance. It was there, but shared equal dominance with the other plot threads. I enjoyed the build of tension and relationship to the romance side of things for Kyden and Nexi.
This leads me to talking about the characters. Kyden was really good for Nexi. He was her rock just as she played her part and helped him want a committed relationship. He put a lot into the ground work for their relationship when she was still dealing with her issues and I thought that made him a much stronger male than if he’d just reached out and taken what he wanted.
I was on the fence about Nexi at first because I felt like she was acting spoilt and selfish (which she was). I tried to cut her some slack because I understand the anger that comes with grief, but I still didn’t like how she really wasn’t seeing the big picture. But then she had an epiphany and owned up to her own behavior. I just love it when that happens because then I don’t have to love a story and be disappointed in a heroine. Not that Nexi made a full turn around, she still had that infuriating ‘I can do it myself’ attitude that had to learn to take help, but she did learn and learned to respect others particularly Kyden and her father. I was so impressed with her by the end of the book. She took so many hits and losses, but just kept getting back up showing she had a backbone made of steel.
I look forward to where this series is headed. I recommend it to all those who enjoy paranormal romance or urban fantasy that settle in a happy medium of not quite dark, but not quite light in tone.
Thank you to Stacey Kennedy and Entangled Publishing for providing the ARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.