4 tenderly frustrating Stars
I finished this book last night and then stared into space waiting for sleep to take me or for this book to sink in, whichever came first. Neither happened. This morning I’m still staring at my laptop screen. Waiting to come to some sort of conclusion. Waiting to isolate one overarching theme or feeling that was elicited. But I can’t. This book is messy and frustrating and heartbreakingly tender at moments. This book is the mother of all tug-of-wars.
Round 3 picks up two days after Round 2 finished. All continuing Dom Wars contestants were given two days to go home, take care of personal business and ramp their energy back up for the next round – Demon Domination.
Tara begins this book anxiety-ridden, desperately trying to keep her game face on all while doing everything in her power to knock in a giant wedge between the two of them. Lucian, however, has come ready to wage war. He knows exactly what he wants and has a damn good idea of what he’s going to have to do in order to get her.
The first two books were riddled with anticipation. This book was rife with tension. Constant, unrelenting tension. The kind that makes your muscles ache from being held so rigid and that saps all of your energy in the blink of an eye.
To say that Tara is mercurial is potentially the biggest understatement of all time. She has encased herself so completely in armor composed of hundreds of hours of therapy, absolute raw strength and cold detachment. She simply will not allow anything to touch her. Because to touch her puts her at risk for abandonment and more pain and after so much already, she’s put her foot down and will not allow it anymore. Period.
Lucian, however, becomes an absolute magician in finding the chinks in her armor. He’s able to infiltrate her defenses before she even knows what he’s doing. He will not be dissuaded, he will not be distracted, he’s a man on a mission. Once again he is able to demonstrate the difference between sharing your entire being with another person versus just sharing pieces. While Tara can give willingly of her mind or her body or her emotions, Lucian is able to pave the way to connect it all together and show her how to walk as one, completely balanced, perfectly intertwined human being. And that? That is magic at the very highest level.
There’s a tremendous amount of orchestration in this book, which potentially accounts for some of the tension. But without Lucian playing architect to the bigger picture, this relationship, this competition, this book wouldn’t work. Because there would be no movement, no progress, and with ghosts as big as Tara’s and a love as deep as Lucian’s, stasis would kill them both.
Lucian Bane continues to assert himself as a master craftsman in his storytelling, lacing humor through the incredible tension and aching tenderness through the delicious sex scenes that leave characters and reader alike flayed open and raw. He just keeps upping the ante with each book.
The circumstances that brought Tara and Lucian together may have been this competition, but it’s never been a game and this book drives that point home. The stakes are painfully high and by the end of this book, they are both playing for keeps.
*This review was originally published for Wicked Women Book Blog.*