The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
Published by: Harlequin
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 368
Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her–even defy the gods. Danika is on the run. For months she’s eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won’t rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can’t forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear.
“He was dark, she was light. He was anguish, she was innocence. He was wrong for her in every way, and yet, when she looked at him, his entire world felt right.”
As I sink more into the Lords of the Underworld series, I see why readers love it. Mix in steamy sex scenes that will make anyone turn crimson, throw in tortured men, put in an intriguing mythology, and create a fast-paced story that will surely keep readers enthralled, and you get a dedicated following.
Reyes, Keeper of Pain, cannot seem to wipe Danika from his mind. Separated from her family, she has been on the run for months. Tormented by her dreams and her fear of Aeron, the Keeper or Wrath, she strikes a deal with Hunters, when they kidnap her. She will infiltrate the Lords and give intel on them, but lines blur when, once Reyes saves her from the Hunters, she discovers he and the other Lords are more than what the Hunters accuse them of, and her attraction toward Reyes grows. But she must choose: side with the Hunters and purge this world of these demons or give in to her desire for Reyes. Unfortunately, the choice is much harder than Danika thinks.
“This means nothing,” she said.
“Less than nothing,” he lied.
“I’ll hate myself later.”
“I hate myself now.”
After reading the Darkest Kiss, I find The Darkest Pleasure refreshing. I’m rather fond of Reyes and Danika’s relationship. She, after all, is one of the four Ford women Cronus tasks Aeron to kill, but the Lords and her family do not understand why. What I love about their relationship is how they try to avoid it and each other. Obviously, you get a forbidden love vibe from them, but it works perfectly for this story. Reyes refuses to tie himself to any woman because his demon, Pain, influenced his former lovers and often tainted and changed them. This broken Lord just tugged at my heartstrings. Since Gena been hinting at their relationship since the first book, The Darkest Night, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see how Gena plays out this storyline. And she doesn’t disappoints.
I’ve come to expect the most outrageous plot twists and character arcs from Gena. She goes from Ashlyn sacrificing her life so Maddox’ death curse will be lifted to Anya giving up her All Key to save Lucien. I don’t how she pulls them off, but I constantly feel I have whiplash once I’ve finished her books. And I enjoy how she cleverly weaves them in effortlessly. Now I realize why she has such a strong following. But one particular arc she includes in this instalment nearly turned me into an emotional mess. Since the death of Sienna, Paris’ development has turned bleak. And given that his book is the ninth, I have a long way to sympathize with this character. She also throws in Aeron’s, which I’ve been hoping to read, as well.
What I love about this sequel is that you get to know the Lords better. You witness the brotherhood the Budpest faction has for one another, and finally the Greece faction gains the opportunity to rekindle the bond they had with the others. The banter between each character and the rich mythology spark my interest and make me want the other books more.
“Hope is a demon worse than your Pain.”
Gena focuses on the characters in Darkest Pleasure, and I think in doing so makes it stronger than the previous stories. I will easily admit I love most, if not all, of these characters. But what I look for is their development and struggles. And I want to see how they grab a hold of you and capture your attention. Reyes stands out from the other warriors. Pain controls him, yet he shows Danika nothing but safety and kindness. He chooses her over his brother. Reyes’ demon doesn’t scare Danika, nor does it tempt her. From the other two love interests in Lords of the Underworld, she gains my respect the most because of her strength and her undying will to live and to fight.
I think I can safely say Gena has gained a new follower. And I wonder what she else will pull off in this captivating paranormal romance.