I was happy to get back to the Dark River pack – and to Clay in particular. But what I was really excited about was a story with a changeling and a human. Not that I haven’t enjoyed the Psy, but I was interested to see the kind of story that could be told where neither the heroine nor hero were emotionally starved.
There was no time wasted in getting into this story, and I liked that. A lot. We meet Tallin, our heroine, and we find that she’s looking for Clay to help her find an at-risk boy she’s been helping at work who’s gone missing. And we also find out that she and Clay have a past that dates back to her childhood.
A traumatic, bloody, heart-wrenching past.
Tallin, or Tally, as Clay (and only Clay) calls her, was abused by her foster father as a child. I’m not going to go into specifics, but needless to say, it was horrible. And Clay…well, Clay killed the motherfucker. Only Clay didn’t just kill him. Because he’s also a viscous cat, he brutally tore him to pieces in front of Tally, which, in turn, terrorized her. Clay was sentenced to four years in juvenile detention. During which time, Tally faked her death so Clay wouldn’t come looking for her.
I mean, that’s a fucked up history.
But at the same time, I really loved that they had this past…this connection that spanned almost their entire life.
We all know from previous books that Clay has a darkness, an anger that we don’t understand. Which is awesome for me because I love a dark, brooding hero. But Tally – her darkness is worse. She is a survivor of sexual abuse. Not only that, she’s still surviving the effects of what young women do to themselves as a result of their sexual exploitation.
Sidebar: I just have to put this in here because I am not a fan of slut-shaming. Ever. And Clay – for reasons I won’t spoil in this review – has several moments where he does just that. It pissed me off, to be honest. And while I think that the story would have been fine without it, I can appreciate a flawed character. This was just a big fucking flaw.
And speaking of flaws, I was seriously disappointed with Faith in this book. Her behavior toward Tally was unacceptable. And I was so torn because Faith has been my favorite heroine so far. (I will admit that by the time the book was finished, she was still my favorite.) So, good for the author on developing well-rounded, realistic characters. No one does the right thing all the time.
The love story was passionate, heated, angry and ultimately redeeming. I truly loved both of these characters. It wasn’t always easy to read, but I couldn’t stop turning pages. Clay was everything – slut-shaming aside – that I love in a hero. Strong, possessive, and affectionate…and deeply in love and connected to Tally in a way that no one expected. He made sure there were always lights in every room in his house because he knew she was afraid of the dark! BRB. Crying.
And the sex - well, their heat was off the charts. (Even though I wish there was more.)
Clay: "I'm a cat. I like licking - all sorts of places."
Yep. That happened.
And Tally’s emotional journey was rewarding for me as a reader because there was never a moment where her very real issues were ignored. And I loved the friendship that developed between Tally and Tammy. It felt organic and genuine.
The side stories in this book were equally engaging. And I’m becoming more and more fascinated with Kaleb. He’s either secretly skating the line between good and evil…or he’s the most evil ever. And I just don’t know!
AND I WANT TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS!!!!!