by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Book #13 in the Dark Protectors series
Number of pages: 304
17 and up
CW: attempted rape, kidnapping, physical & mental abuse
There’s no denying destiny . . .
For too long, Benjamin Reese has masked his deadly skills and temper with loyalty and humor. A vampire-demon hybrid, he fiercely protects his family, guards his brothers, and destroys the enemy without mercy. But when he discovers one fragile, beautiful blonde—a woman once mated to a Kurjan, no less—every primal instinct he has buried for centuries roars to life. With the mating mark she roused on his hand entwining their fates, no one will prevent him from keeping her safe and making her his, forever . . .
Or desire . . .
Karma wishes she could remember her last name. Or if she even had one. All she has in this confusing new world is a desperate duty to save the innocent. That means destroying the dark, dangerous, and desirable Benjamin Reese and everything he loves—an impossible task even before his touch arouses a passionate hunger she can’t afford. She’s certain a deadly enemy watches her every move, but it’s not until Benny kisses her that she tastes true danger…
Man, this story is heavy. It’s also fun and exciting. I mean, it’s Benny’s story. There’s no way it can be all dark all the time. Benny is such a character and we learn so much about him in this tale. The guy cares, and he cares deep.
Karma is such an interesting lead character in this series of alpha males and strong women. She extremely strong, but doesn’t see herself as such after hundreds of years with the Kurjans. She’s been used and mistreated her whole life. And now, the Kurjan leaders have something to hold over her head to get her to do what they want. Part of Karma’s actions have to do with that looming threat. But she’s also been told half truths and full out lies for centuries. She doesn’t trust Benny or any of his friends because, although she knows the Kurjan’s aren’t good, she fears the alternative to them is even worse.
On top of Karma not being sure who to trust and what to trust them with, she has been kept to a certain standard that means the modern times are a bit much for her. It’s intriguing to watch her go through different changes the longer she’s out from under Kurjan rules. And when she figures out she has a backbone and can use that backbone without fear amongst Benny and his family, it’s magical to watch her find her spirit.
I adore the fact that Karma learned much of the world through romance novels. The one frivolity the Kurjan leadership let slip through the cracks of their rigid expectations because they are not considered to be serious so they can’t possibly put ideas into the heads of their mates and captives. Karma did think most of what she read was fantasy, but it helped her to have a mental escape. And once she realized there really are people who treat others well and stand up for those around them, it helps to give her courage.
While Karma has an advantage over many of the other mates in these books, since she was a mate many moons ago and isn’t coming into an unknown world, she also has so many disadvantages. I feel the things she has to overcome may be even more than the human mates had to overcome, even coming into the immortal world with no knowledge.
I had mentioned in my review of Guardian’s Grace that things are really getting crazy in the world of the immortals. Things are even more disparate now. We’re really seeing the teenagers start to ramp up in their stories. I love Pax, but fear he may make some very bad choices. And Drake is starting to show his true colors, although Hope is blind to his bad side. Although, I’m finding Drake’s cousin to be a very curious addition and I have high hopes for him in the future. Drake may be brilliant, but he is so focused on Ulric and prophesies, like a religious zealot that can’t see the forest through the trees. His cousin Vero seems to still have a lot of common sense and empathy for others. Fingers crossed the Kurjans don’t beat it out of him before he can make a difference in their world.