The prologue of this book made me blink a few times and wonder if I was comfortable with the romance setup. [Don’t worry, the following isn’t really a spoiler. It’s all explained in the prologue.] When Knox and Felicia first met, they both knew that they were soul mates (literally). The only problem was that Felicia’s best friend, Noelle, was married to Knox at the time. They both tried to resist it. Felicia even stayed away for years at a time and visited rarely. When she did visit, she avoided Knox like the plague. She didn’t want to hurt her friend by letting her see the pull between them.
Noelle and Knox are both vampires. Knox finally gave up waiting for his soulmate after 300 years or so and married Noelle. He loved her, but he wasn’t in love with her. She was fully aware of this and okay. She didn’t believe in soulmates the way he did. In this book, vampires don’t value marriage the same way humans do. They marry, and don’t believe in divorce, but they often have Mate-Pairs so they can have more opportunities to breed. Vampires are all about breeding to preserve the continuation of their race, especially now that they’re all slowly withering away.
I was kind of uncomfortable because the intensity between Knox and Felicia was great—even though it was only the prologue—but there was someone they both cared about standing in between them. Knox asked Felicia to be with him after he had been married to Noelle for 9 years. Noelle knew about their connection and wanted them to have relief. Noelle had already strayed a couple of times, but that wasn’t really considered a bad thing. Vampires just don’t cast marriage and cheating the same way humans do. Felicia turns him down even though she doesn’t want to. She does care about cheating and she can’t do that to her friend.
Because of that prologue I knew going into it that this would probably not be a typical romance. And I was right. Although I was deeply uncomfortable with the friend/wife being a stepping stone to their happiness, I loved the struggle between the characters. Knox has finally grown tired of stepping back because of Felicia’s morals. He has to do what’s best for his race, so he can’t belong to her solely, but he’s determined to bring her around to his side of things. For her part, Felicia knows that she can never accept the life that Knox wants them to have. She doesn’t understand how he can truly love her when she’s not enough for him.
I loved the intensity between them in the beginning. They were both stretched tight from denying their attraction to each other and were in danger of snapping.
Another emotion–pure, undiluted rage–filled him at the thought of her with another. It made everything else, every other emotion he’d ever felt, seem innocuous. Made him want to rip off his clothes–the luxurious symbols of civility that he normally loved–and make her see him as he truly was–primal, lethal, and fucking ready to prove to her that she was his, once and for all.
I wanted to be angry at Knox for pushing Felicia to be with him just to make himself happy. He knew she wouldn’t be happy if she gave in, but he convinced himself that they could work it out. He was stuck in a position of power because of the decline in his race and he felt responsible for doing all that he could to ensure their continued survival. He was unwilling to give up his responsibilities for her, but she was unable to give in, no matter how much she wanted him. She wanted more for herself than to have to share a man when he was needed to breed.
Even though, I wanted to be angry at Knox, as I said, I couldn’t. He was in a crappy situation and I could understand how desperate he was to get her to agree to be with him in some way. But I also loved that Felicia didn’t give in. She wanted to, and at times she wavered, but she always stuck to her morals and refused to give in. At least in the beginning she did…
That’s really where the relationship shone the brightest. Unfortunately, once they got together, they seemed to change and lose all of the intensity I prized. Felicia lost her backbone and became a weak, self-pitying creature. The relationship devolved into a more typical, irritating romance and I lost interest in them. It was a shame to go from such a different, compelling romance to such an overdone, dramatic one.
Luckily, once the romance went down the tubes I still had the Para-Op team to keep me entertained. I think the author put together a great cast of characters there. They managed to feel fleshed out and compelling without taking away too much from the lead characters. I loved that each team member was so different and that they didn’t easily get along together. Out of them all, Wraith was the one that hooked my attention the most. I’d love to learn more about her. She was so closed off and abrasive, but I saw a peek of sentiment under there now and again.
The way the romance read in the second half is what slowly lowered my grade. I wish I could have been more satisfied with their relationship, because everything else in the book just seemed to pop for me. I did have a slight problem with a character from both of their pasts popping back in at the most convenient moment possible to talk them through their issues, though. That really made me roll my eyes.
Although I only gave this one 3 ½ hearts, I still really enjoyed how fresh and different it felt. I loved the Para-Op team characters and can’t wait to learn more about them. I already have my eye on book 2 and it’s not even out yet.
He wanted to get so deep inside her that he would touch her soul and make her realize that, despite everything, their difficult circumstances, her mistrust, his inability to give her all she wanted, he loved her. Good, bad, it didn’t matter. She was his.