Wow, this book was not what I expected from reading the back cover. I didn’t think it would be anywhere near as dark as it was. Also, the back cover gives the impression that the hero, Quinn, is desperate to cure the disease because of the heroine, Jazz. Wrong! He’s desperate to cure it because he is the Dragonstar clan healer and all his friends and family are dying around him.
Hidden Embers does not pull any punches when it shows you the horror of the disease that Quinn has spent years trying to cure. There is one part of the book (toward the end) where I thought the villain (we get to see a few clips of that pov) was going to change his/her mind and wouldn’t infect a particular dragon because of some pictures that were shown. Nope. I guess there went that change of heart! I cringed knowing what was coming, but I’m also pleased that the author showed the devastation the disease brings. It’s not just us hearing about it in the past, we get to see it and hope for a cure right alongside the doctors.
When this book opens Quinn is not in a good place. He has spent years trying to find a cure, and blames himself for failing again and again. His brother just died and that is pretty much the last straw for him. He is broken and close to suicidal. If he felt less responsible for his people’s welfare I think he would have passed all the way into suicidal and found a way to end it. He’s searching for something to help him forget and he finds that in a stranger he meets at an out of the way bar.
Jazz is on her way to Quinn’s home (unbeknownst to either one of them) when she meets Quinn in a bar and is immediately attracted to him. They both don’t usually indulge in one night stands, but can’t resist this one time. I’m not usually a fan of books with one night stands, but this author pulled it off pretty well. The attraction was easy to see and the sex was hot. Plus, watching Quinn try to push aside his grief was sad. The connection between them is great, and I was very eager to see how they would deal when they both realized they were going to have to work together when they got back to Quinn’s home. What I didn’t count on was Jazz.
Jazz was such a piece of work. I liked her in the beginning, but the more I got to know her, the less I liked her. She was all about the Girl Power and her default setting seemed to be, ”No man will ever control me!” Because when a guy wants to be closer to you he only wants to control you, right? I felt bad for her childhood, but that didn’t give her an excuse to be so psycho without cause. I’d understand her spiel if Quinn was Feehanesque, but he wasn’t. She criticized Quinn for trying to control her, only to turn around and revel in her own control over him. It was really irritating. At one time she thought:
“She wondered if she’d been wrong the night before. Maybe he’d had some reason, besides wanting to be Mr. Macho, to insist on taking her to Phoebe’s house. Maybe she shouldn’t have fought him so hard. Maybe he had just been trying to protect her–and protect himself from losing someone else.
The thought freaked her out, and her self-preservation instincts kicked into overdrive. She wasn’t that woman, she reminded herself frantically, the one who worried about why her man did what he did or how her words and actions affected him. she didn’t pull her punches, didn’t try to fit herself into the boxes men tried to put her into.”
And that really pissed me off. He told her that she had a big ass target on her back and she was in an unfamiliar dragon town where she didn’t even know who was friend or foe. She’s an idiot for jumping to the conclusion that he was trying to control her instead of help her, just because he was a man. She did crap like that all the time.
I was whining to one of my Goodreads friends, Lethal, about the heroine and she mocked the heroine in a way that was particularly apt. I’m going to share it
—although I’ll change a few of the curse words
—because it was perfect.
“Will you let me take you to dinner?”
“Screw YOU! I do what I want to do!”
“You have Queso in your hair. Do you want me to help you get it out?”
“Screw YOU! I will have Queso in my hair if I want to f’ing have Queso in my hair! You don’t tell me what to do!”
And that’s pretty much Jazz in a nutshell.
I liked the sex scenes in the beginning of the book, but I was getting really tired of it toward the end. I had a couple Why is there so much sex in this frickin’ book??? moments until I looked at the back cover and spied “Erotic Romance” there on the bottom left corner. *sigh* I’m an idiot. That’s why. I guess I missed that when I was checking this book out. So FYI for anyone unobservant like I am.
I liked a lot of things about this book–the fact that they were dragons, the darkness and grief shown, and Quinn. But the super freak heroine and the convenient way she was saved at the end really muted those great things. I definitely think I’ll backtrack and pick up the first book and see if I like that heroine a little more. I liked the world setup enough to be eager to try again.
There was another long silence. Then Ty said, “That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got? Don’t worry about it, he was too insane to miss you, anyway? You think that’s supposed to cheer me up?”
Quinn smiled a little at Ty’s incredulous tone. “Why not? You said you felt bad for not being there for him. I told you he didn’t even notice that you punked out.”
“You know, your bedside manner sucks ass.”