Author: Laurie London
Publisher: Aspendawn Books
Date of Publication: October 21, 2013
For years, Olivia Crawford has kept a low profile in order to keep her para-ability secret. If the army finds out she’s a Healer-Talent, they’ll force her to work for them—just like her brother who was taken as a boy and never seen again. But when a terrible explosion rocks New Seattle, she risks everything to save the injured, including a handsome stranger with secrets of his own.
Blaming himself for the death of a friend, Iron Guild warrior Asher Kane vows to bring those responsible to justice. After he’s hurt on a mission and nursed back to health by a beautiful yet mysterious woman, this dangerously sexy bad-boy finds himself falling for her…even as he struggles to stay away.
But stalking them on the streets of New Seattle is a cruel and vengeful evil—one that threatens to destroy them both…
First an advisory: I had a chance to read the first book in this series, Assassin’s Touch, when I was judging for the NERFA (First Coast Romance Writers’ published author contest) this year, so I was really excited to see this book available on Net Galley … once I realized why the idea of the Iron Portals and Cascadia/Pacifica sounded so familiar. Heh. I read too much. Oh, wait, there’s no such thing as too much reading.
Okay, on to the review. Wow, Ms. London starts the action off with a bang (literally, there’s a massive explosion in the first couple of chapters) and never lets off on the intensity.
Olivia’s been on the run for several years. In this alternate reality, some people have developed Talents (in Olivia’s case, she’s a healer), and they are forcibly put into the army or hunted down and then forced into the Army after some reconditioning. Not pleasant. She’s getting ready to move out of New Seattle when the place she’s working blows up and that’s how she encounters Asher.
Asher’s in Olivia’s world hoping to avenge the death of a friend of his who died at the hands of a man called The Fixer. He’s following up on an informant’s lead when he goes to the nightclub across from where Olivia works and happens to see a couple of figures planting the bomb.
Many people die in the explosion and the Army blames the Cascadians for it, though Asher knows that it was actually the Army, trying to keep inciting the people toward more war and bloodshed against his people. Unfortunately, Asher also got injured and Olivia heals him, but she gets caught on tape and is reported as a potentially Unregistered Talent to the Army. The Army sends their best tracker to get her. You can guess who that is.
Meanwhile, as the Army tracks Olivia, she and Asher are getting close. Asher initially is unwilling to get involved beyond a simple week-long fling (where she’s his sex slave no less), because of a bad experience when he fell in love with another girl on this side of the portal.
Olivia was really strong and determined not to let Asher shove her behind him for protection purposes, so to speak. She likes to give as good as she gets and when they’re not having sex, she doesn’t let him get away with any chauvanistic behavior without calling him on it. Asher’s bemused by her and I love how well he’s integrated himself into the world on this side of the Iron Portals.
I enjoyed the quick look we got at the couple from the first book, who are busy setting up safe houses for Cascadians coming through the help stop the army from finding any more of the portals.
The only thing I didn’t like in this book, and why it’s a 4.5 star instead of a 5, is because of just how they end up dealing with the Fixer. I felt it was sort of anticlimactic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the situation resolved itself, but it was just …. dealt with largely off camera and after the horrible stuff the man did, I wanted to see revenge. Yes, I’m blood thirsty.
There were definitely plot threads left open, including one that features Olivia’s brother, her twin brother who was taken by the Army many years earlier. I hope Ms. London doesn’t make us wait too long until we get a story about Vincent!
Loved this book tons!
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.