When I pick up a new book by Larissa Ione I always feel like I’m returning home. After all, she is one of the first authors to ignite my love for the PNR genre and I cannot name you one book that has not blown me away with her riveting storytelling. Rogue Rider is no exception and once again Ms. Ione allows us to escape into a world I find myself never wanting to leave.
“His demon isn’t dead. It’s merely locked up.”
Rogue Rider picks up immediately after book three, Lethal Rider. Reseph, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was the first to break his seal, becoming the evil Pestilence. Since book one, Pestilence has unleashed death and destruction in order to bring about the end of the world. Reaver, fallen angel and watcher of the horsemen, held the ability to destroy Pestilence with the Wormwood dagger but knew that in doing so, he would also kill Reseph. Instead he provided the other three horsemen with the Deliverance dagger which they believed would kill Pestilence. Once he is stabbed and left for dead, his soul is sent to Sheoul to be tortured for eternity. But Reaver makes a deal with the devil for Reseph’s release and subsequently takes his memory and sends him away. Reseph now finds himself naked in the middle of a snowstorm with no memory of who he is or where he is from.
Jillian Cardiff lives a solitary life, by choice, in the mountains of Colorado. After surviving an attack of demons that left her for dead she longs for nothing more than the quiet, secluded life she she leads with her farm animals and her cabin in the remote woods. Jillian stumbles across Reseph naked in the snow near her home. Shocked, cautious but mostly curious, Jillian knows she cannot leave him to die and brings him back to her cabin. Once Reseph awakens, he is confused and frustrated due to the amnesia but Jillian is a calming presence which he clings two and together they set out to solve the mystery of who he is and why he was left in the mountains for dead. Little do they know that there is a far greater evil than the demons from their past and Reseph will face his greatest battle in destroying said evil while trying not to destroy himself.
“We both have demons, Jillian. I just don’t know what mine are yet.”
Larissa Ione stated long before the release of Rogue Rider that Reseph’s book would be lighter and sexier. This proves true and is a refreshing change coming out of the emotional turmoil of Lethal Rider. I always question how Ms. Ione will redeem such a flawed, unlikeable character and once again she succeeds in the transformation of Pestilence back to Reseph. In spite of all the evil Pestilence wrought upon the world and his family, like his sister Limos, I always believed there was something special buried inside the ugliness. I’m a sucker for the bad boy in need of redemption and Reseph was that from the start of this series, therefore I’ve always had a soft spot for his insanely magnetic personality. His character is multi faceted and alluring to witness. Caveman and predatory, playful but aggressive, tender yet powerful, Reseph exudes all of these qualities and more. Reseph in essence has a split personality with the alternate evil Pestilence teetering below the surface. Once Reseph starts to regain his memory and remembers the destruction he unleashed as Pestilence, it weighs heavily on him emotionally. We begin to see real self-doubt and vulnerability to his character. This is where Jillian character shines. While she is not exceptionally unique or exuberant, she is steady, strong, level headed and believes in the goodness of Reseph. She exhibits a quiet, inner strength and that is what Reseph draws on in order to fight Pestilence’s return. She is an encourager and a caregiver but has fun and flirty qualities that balance her realistic nature.
“Naked is very comfortable.”
“Maybe, but it’s also very distracting.”
He grinned. “I distract you?”
“I’m not answering that. Your ego has no need of more stroking.” She arched an eyebrow at him. “And don’t tell me you have something else I can stroke.”
Reseph absolutely has no filter when it comes to his thoughts and Jillian really holds her own with him. It was so refreshing to see their relationship develop because while darkness surrounded them, it was not a part of who they were as a couple. Both characters are in need of their own healing and there is a mutual understanding of that which they share.
Finally, the sexual tension is potent and sizzling. Reseph is after all the most sexual horseman:
“Reseph’s Riders,” he said miserably. “My groupies are called Reseph’s Riders.” He hung his head, staring into his lap, and he was suddenly ashamed of his entire life. “Jillian, I was a total whore.”
He’s hot, horny, irresistibly charming and knows how to please a woman.
He leaned into her and put his lips to her ear. “How long has it been since you came so hot, so furious, so fucking intense, that you forgot your own name?”
Oh, God. “Never,” she whispered. “You?”
“I can’t remember,” he murmured huskily, “but ask me in a few minutes and I’ll have an answer.”
He also has multiple orgasms. Yes, you heard me right. Sextacular! Color me crazy but I had the song “Pony” by Ginuwine on constant rewind in my head while reading Reseph doing the nasty. That song captures the grit and grind I imagine Reseph brings to the bedroom!
Reseph’s chemistry with Jillian is passionate and arousing to witness. As always, Ms. Ione masterfully writes some of the hottest sex scenes that scorch the pages along with memorable intimate moments between her characters.
“I want you under me. I want to claim you, get myself all over you. And as much as I’d love to mount you right here in public, right now—and I think in my past, I would have—I never want anyone to see you like that but me.”
What completely sold me on Jillian’s character is with all the darkness and truthfulness Reseph revealed to her, she didn’t care what he was from the past. Jillian saw the person Reseph was in the present. She knew that his caring nature outweighed the evilness from his past and therefore possessed a determination to make him believe in what she could already see. Her love and assurance of Reseph’s inner goodness is what saves them both in the end.
Fans of the Lord’s of Deliverance series will not be disappointed as Ms. Ione brings all the action, grit, snark, fun and intoxicating sexual chemistry readers have come to love in this amazing world.
Reseph’s saddle is waiting…come and jump on it!