By Christine Amsden
Genre: Dark paranormal romance
Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black…
Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison’s nightmares are not.
Despite her fears, when Madison’s brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.
Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton’s home only to discover that he’s vanished. Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she’s not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott’s are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.
*Stand-alone companion to the Cassie Scot series
My Review: 3.5 Coffee Cups!!
*A copy was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review**
I know 3.5 stars is on the low end for me, so let me explain. Let me start by saying that although this is listed as a stand-alone I STRONGLY URGE you to read the Cassie Scot series. That is actually where I messed up. I have not read any of the previous books. I read the synopsis and thought "ooooh that sounds pretty interesting, so my kind of book" and immediately harassed Sage's Blog Tours to be included on Christine Amsden's virtual book tour. But after reading the first few pages I quickly realized that I missed some stuff. Some kind of important stuff.
Now, I did catch on after a confusing Prologue and a sort of confusing first chapter and once I did I loved it. Madison was headstrong, brave and has a huge heart. It takes a lot for her to love and trust, but when she does she does it with her whole heart.
Scott is a werewolf. But not the when-I'm-a-wolf-I'm-still-the-man-and-can-be-cuddled kind. Nope. He is the I-am-a-predator-and-will-eat-you-if-you-come-near-me-growl kind. He remembers his actions, but he has no control over them. He is the vicious animal. And in the prologue you see that Madison has first hand knowledge of that fact and Wolf Scott's actions still give her debilitating nightmares. Fast-forward three years. Madison's younger brother Clinton was bitten by a cray-cray she-wolf in search of a mate. He was able to survive the initial sickness the bite causes, but both he and Madison are petrified of how he will handle actually turning into a wolf. So, Madison gathers all of her courage and goes to the one person she believes can help her- Scott.
Scott has always had feelings for Madison. He has always admired and desired her. But he remembers the look of horror on her face when he regained control that night and he never wants to be the source of that again. He doesn't believe he is good enough for her. And it doesn't help that his best friend, also Madison's half brother, Evan strongly suggests that Scott keep his distance. Doesn't really stop the chemistry between the two of them though. Because, although Madison may have been terrified by Scott's wolf, she has always been attracted to Scott the man.
"Scott touched her jaw with a single finger, stroking downward to urge her to release her poor, tortured lip. Her skin felt like silk, and the single touch shot through him like an electric shock.
He shouldn’t have done it. He tensed for her reaction, for the fear he was sure he would smell, but it didn’t come. She didn’t pull away, and though she trembled slightly, she didn’t smell like fear. She smelled like something far more dangerous."
That being said, their relationship strengthens while on this road trip to find Clinton. They encounter quite a few dangerous road blocks- nutso wolves, insane scientists.. just kind of a mixed bag of different varieties of crazy. And with each obstacle they face Madison and Scott grow closer and begin to trust both each other and themselves.
So, yeah my 3.5 star rating is a little misleading I suppose, but because I couldn't follow the story at times I couldn't love it as hard as I wanted to. When they speak about the past you will be confused. You will eventually figure it out, but it may take you a bit to connect the dots. A lot of scenes with Evan, although I truly liked him, are what brings on the scratch your head moments because he was a HUGE PART of the Cassie Scot chronicles. So, I guess I can sum up my confusion with it was my own fault. But this book has definitely propelled me into buying the other series. Not just because I had confusing moments that still need to be explained, but because I loved this book and I want to discover the characters I missed out on.
Cassie Scot:ParaNormal Detective Purchase Link:
“Silence,” David commanded.
Her throat continued to work, but no sound emerged. She felt like a fish being gutted, choking and spluttering as David returned to the work of cutting into the soft, sensitive flesh of her belly. Yet even as tears refilled her eyes and fear devoured her heart, some part of her recognized that her guts remained intact. Whatever David was doing to her with the dagger involved tracing shallow patterns across the surface of her skin.
Fight the pain. Take deep breaths. Ground and center. She was not in the empty living room of a house she had not quite moved into yet, she was at church, singing in the choir. Above her, Jesus hung from a cross, a crown of thorns atop his head, a soft glow surrounding him. She usually found the magic within that glow. She reached for it...
“Stop that!” David slapped her hard across the face.
Once again her eyes flew open. She saw the dagger dripping with blood – her blood. Had her feeble grab for magic actually made a difference? David seemed to have noticed something, but what?
“You're just making this harder on yourself,” David said.
“What do you want?” Madison tried to ask. Her mouth moved, her lips forming the question, but no sound emerged.
She didn't think he would answer; he couldn't even have heard the question, but to her surprise he only hesitated a moment before saying, “Your soul.”
He lowered the dagger.
Her soul? What did that mean? What could a man do with someone's soul? She now knew what he wanted, at least in part, but she'd been right – knowing didn't make a difference. If anything, it made things worse. She couldn't calm down now. She couldn't focus. She needed to breathe, to block out all distractions, in order to find her quiet place. How was she supposed to block out the razor-sharp sting of a blade slicing across her abdomen? How could she focus with her very soul in danger?
Forget magic. Time to pray. Prayer was something she understood.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...
David slapped her across the cheek, leaving behind a fiery trail.
Madison prayed harder.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee...
She braced herself for the strike of his hand against her cheek once more, but it didn't come. For a heart-stopping moment, she thought her prayer hadn't worked this time. Then an ear-splitting CRASH shook the room. It felt like an explosion. Surely the roof would come crashing down at any moment. Madison instinctively covered her head with her hands and curled into a ball.
She didn't have time to take in what had happened – either the crash or the fact that her invisible bonds had evaporated as if they'd never existed. The house still trembled and dust filled the air when a great, primal roar made every hair on Madison's body stand on end.
Slowly, she lifted her head. David stood in profile to her, his face white with terror, his gaze fixed on the splintered front door, which now hung precariously off its hinges. The sun had all but set, casting the unlit room in deep twilight, but she could just make out who had blasted his way through that door.
Her heart gave a painful little twang at the sight of the man she'd spent the past few weeks daydreaming about incessantly. Now here he was like an avenging angel out of one of her fantasies, frightening her enemy and offering her hope. In that moment, she could honestly say she had never seen a more beautiful man. He wasn't particularly tall, but he was powerful, the clearly defined muscles of his bare upper arms rippling with strength.
Rumor had it he was a werewolf, and perhaps he was. Something lent him superhuman strength. The evidence was there in the splintered remains of the front door and then, the next second, in the ferocity of his attack.
About the Author
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that affects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.)
In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children, Drake and Celeste.
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