Blurb: He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.
When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.
A few books back, the Immortal Guardians waged war against the uprising of a vampire army. The guardians struck hard and took out the whole military type base. In the process, a beloved guardian, Yuri, died. Yuri’s best friend and fellow guardian Stanislav, saw him get beheaded. In his shock and grief, the vampires he’d been fighting get the best of him and he is also taken down and assumed dead by his fellow immortals. His body was never fund and Seth, the guardian’s leader, did not feel the disconnection he normally feels when an Immortal Guardian dies, so he refused to give up hope that Stanislav may still be alive….somewhere.
To be honest, I’d assumed Stanislav was lost alongside Yuri in the epic battle against the vampire army. So I was surprised that his character was being resurrected. I also forgot a lot of the details regarding the big vampire army fight. Recent releases have felt…sporadic; there was a gap of two years between book 6 and 7. From a timeline perspective, this book takes place 2 years following that fight; and Duvall starts this story off in Stanislav’s head, so we have an understanding of how he came to be buried underneath the home that Susan ends up renting.
This book is unlike all of its predecessors in that it takes place almost entirely in Susan’s home, away from the other guardians, with total focus on Stanislav and Susan. After she digs him up, Stan is weak, needs blood and food. Stan doesn’t remember who he is or what happened; but he knows ‘what’ he is and his instincts guide him. I struggled with Susan’s easy acceptance of Stan, her lack of any real fear and the fact that she believed all his excuses about why they shouldn’t seek outside help. Of course, Stan uses his emphatic gifts to help Susan feel calm, but not in a manipulative way…he never wanted her hurt or afraid and truly worried that someone might still be after him.
Along the way, Stan slowly remembers little things, and it’s clear that he and Susan are attracted to each other. But Stan refuses to move forward because he can’t remember and worries that he might have a significant person in his life. When Susan prompts Stan with a ‘what if’ scenario and asks, “who do you call?” Stan rattles off a number and things progress quickly after that.
From a romance perspective, this story delivers. Even with the nature of Susan and Stan’s crazy meeting, there is focus on this couple as they find their way to love. Susan is all in and one might claim an insta-love quality to their romance; however, within the boundaries of this story it works. Of course, the story truly comes together once Stanislav is reunited with his fellow guardians.
While getting Stanislav back is great, I still feel like we are in a sense of limbo. The guardians still have the same semi-unknown foe, and are powerless due to the fact that the enemy has access to the serum that can take down an immortal. And forgive me if I bitch about the fact that we got very little page time with Seth and no Zach at all. Duvall isn’t giving up the goods on exactly who or what Seth is. So while the romance was pretty good, and this is a full length book, it really didn’t advance the story or bring anything new to light.
Audio Book Review – Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Recently, I have had some tasks at work that allow me to listen to books via Audible while I work. This is the best thing in the world you guys! I never thought I’d be able to listen to a story being read to me, but my experience so far has been great! Over the last few weeks I have listened to and enjoyed the following books by Keeland and Ward:
Mister Moneybags-released April 10, 2017, I so enjoyed this take on mistaken identity. Bianca gets stuck in an elevator with a man who she thinks is a delivery man based on how his dressed. Little does she know that she is talking to the very man she is supposed to interview, Dex Truitt. Dex is so taken with Bianca, even as she’s saying some not very nice things about him, that he creates a second persona for himself in order to spend more time with her. Full of OMG and LOL moments this was a super fun listen.
Rebel Heir and Rebel Heart (The Rush Series #1 & #2)-released April 9, 2018 and May 28, 2018–Rush and Gia meet when Gia does a favor for her roomate and takes a shift at a bar/restaurant in the Hamptons. Of course Gia can’t tend bar to save her life and when the owner, Rush shows up he is not happy at all. But he gives her a second chance and hires her on as the hostess a job Gia is much better suited to. This story was great. Rush has worked hard for his successes, even though he has to deal with a father and half brother who wish he was never born. He and Gia seem to hit it off and begin dating. Just when things are getting serious, some unforeseen event brings everything to a screeching half. Book one end with a bit of a cliffhanger. Luckily both books have been released so you can jump from one to the other with no waiting in between.
Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland-released June 30, 2018. I’m currently listening to this one. Hunter and Natalia meet at the wedding of their friends. Nat catches the bouquet and Hunter catches the garter. Hunter is super sure of himself and Nat doesn’t really want to have anything to do with him. Both have incidents in their pasts that have them leary of trusting another person with their heart. So they agree on a strictly physical relationship of sex, without that messy love stuff. So far that’s not really working for them…