This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by St. Martin's Press
Released on March 3, 2015
Things have building to a strong boil in this series since the shocking reveals in book one. It went from the discovery of a brutal murder to a horrific secret spanning generations and an entire community. Evil festered there and is still pouring out of the wound. Nobody is safe and everyone is under The Watcher’s eyes. Secrets continue to surface and the death count continues to rise. In the center of it all, the man known as Caine stands firmly in the spotlight after emerging from the shadows of the past. Some say he is one the evil ones, others that he is a victim, but to Sybil, he is her man and she knows that she must fight hard and be tough if she is to win him.
This trilogy tells one story with a large cast of characters so that it is essential that it be read in order. This is the final book. I plan to be as spoiler-free as I can. In fact, I’m going to keep the hero’s real name absent and use the name he used through the other two books so I don’t spoil it for others.
The end of the last book has produced some pretty big reveals not the least of which is that one more key missing character from the past is revealed and carries his own secrets. He knows exactly who has been the vigilante silently taking down the worst of the evil men in their perverted club, but then this person too is struck down. Death and pain have surrounded the man known as Caine for much of his life. For a time, he was able to try to lose himself back in the shadows, but with Lana’s return and all the secrets coming out, he will stand with her in front of the town who hid the horrors and look on him with revulsion. He was broken a long time ago and there is no putting him back together again. He doesn’t know how to love, but he does know how to feel revenge and protect the one beautiful thing left to him even if it means walking away from Sybil.
Sybil has loved the man known as Caine for over ten years. He is cold, rough, banking furious fire behind that blank stare he turns on the world. Some would say he only comes to her to use her, but Sybil has lived a tough life and she knows what it means to be used. Caine may even call what they are doing using each other, but Sybil knows it is much more only he is so mixed up and messed up that he may never be able to take what she is offering. Sybil stands by him when the whispering and gossip starts, she stands beside him when he buries two men that were anchors in his life, she stands by him when he thinks his dark ugly secrets will drive her away in disgust, and she plans to stand by him now when he wants to push her away supposedly for her own good. Killings and attacks are happening all around him, but it is only Caine himself who can truly destroy her because he has her heart.
As with the stories before, this one holds many layers. It is parts suspense, romance and triumph of character. The suspense was just as twisty as ever. Just when I think stuff is starting to make sense, a whole new unleashing of killings start and they seem disconnected from the others. The killer is dangerous and seems to have an eye on the whole town. I enjoyed the added tension brought by The Watcher (aka Killer) getting to narrate some scenes along with Caine and Sybil.
The romance is stormy, passionate and rough because that is who these people are. They have been secretly together (for the sex Caine would say, but he’s in denial) for about a decade so its not a new thing. Caine comes to Sybil when he needs to lose himself and she lets him just like she goes to him when she knows he needs her. On the surface, this may seem unhealthy, but when you’re reading you get all the cues and nuances that there is a lot more going on. When I say rough, there is a bit more heat mentioned, but its not detailed out. Caine was sexually abused, physically abused, psychologically abused so he has some darker needs, but he doesn’t hurt Sybil and he definitely doesn’t do anything without her consent. They are right there together in this.
Through the series, the man known as Caine has been a strong character and present for the pivotal moments. He played a strong part in the drama of the past and he does in the present as well. He was once a helpless, terrified abused boy who did what he had to do to put himself back together and that included remaking himself and going cold and heartless to no longer be a frightened victim because those who should have loved, helped and protected him were the monsters. The cracks started to form in his emotional walls in the last book, but in this one, the walls are crumbling faster than he can build them up again and he is utterly exposed and it’s a terrifying process.[quote]Then Drew had curled up on the couch and both of them had fallen asleep. How could they do that? Didn’t they know what he was? What had been done to him and what he had done?
It was like they trusted him, and the very idea had left him shaken.
Trust was for people who actually had something in them worthy of trust. (He) was too…broken, with sharp, jagged edges left raw and exposed. Sometimes he imagined people could get too close and they’d draw back bloody all because of those jagged edges.
Loc 1139 Caine, Darker Than Desire[/quote]
I enjoyed watching the romance in this one develop beyond the passion. All along, Caine had a strong champion in his woman. Even though he saw himself as stronger than she, really it was the other way around. Sybil grew up poor and hard. Her sister abuses multiple substances, leans hard on Sybil and leaves Sybil to care for her son. Sybil gladly takes Drew and builds a life for them out of grit and determination while not letting her sister emotionally blackmail her. As a heroine, Sybil was a strong woman and perfect for a man who will never be easy. She’s tough, but sensible and sensitive. She doesn’t play around and says what she feels even if she knows Caine can’t or won’t say it back. She is Caine’s match in every way calling him on his crap and making it clear that he needs to choose her first or don’t bother. They stand together through a lot of stuff in this book. I loved the scenes where he was in despair and falling apart and then she would be there to keep him together and whole.
[quote]What was it going to take to exhaust the eruption he could feel building inside?
There was a movement next to him and he tensed as somebody sank onto the sole remaining seat. A hand slid over his.
And just like that, some of the chaos in him eased. The pain was still there. It would probably always be.
But Sybil was there.
Loc 2226 Caine, Darker Than Desire[/quote]
I wanted to stand up and cheer when she told off a malicious town gossip and put some real fear in that woman while rousing half the town on Caine’s behalf. What a gal! Do not mess with Sybil.
And as a side note, it was great getting to see past recurring characters from previous books get some good page time especially since this was the finale.
All in all, this was a riveting, gut-wrenching, fantastic series that stayed strong through all three volumes. Romance Suspense lovers who don’t mind spice in their romance and a thrill to their suspense must try.
My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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