I had a really hard time getting through this book. I liked the premise and I found the world building intriguing, but the romance did not work for me at all.
It all starts when Leila gets a call from her sister, Alisha, begging for help. Alisha says she is being held by vampires. She needs Leila to bring her ancient spellbook to vampiretown (Blackthorne) and use her magic to save a dying vamp. It goes against everything she believes, but Leila agrees, for her sister's sake.
It's dangerous for any human in Blackthorne, but it's even worse for Leila. She's not only a witch, but a serryn, a rare woman whose blood is toxic to their kind. Unfortunately, Caleb, brother to the dying vamp, figures out her secret. And it only goes downhill for Leila from there.
Despite her deep seeded aversion to vampires, Leila is attracted to Caleb. An attraction he mercilessly exploits. Caleb is convinced Leila is a killer, as most serryns are. He puts her through the wringer, with test after test to prove her "true nature." Most of these tests involve sex.
I had big issues here. Yes, ultimately Leila wanted Caleb, but at the same time, she really had no choice but to sleep with him. Not exactly non-con, but a little too close for my comfort. Add to that, Caleb lies to her, jerks her around, and threatens to kill her and her sisters throughout the book. I kept waiting for things to get better, for him to be redeemed, but it never really happened. And for the life of me, I cannot understand how Leila could fall for him under such circumstances.
I almost put the book down a few times... I was just so put off by Caleb's treatment of Leila, but the world building was interesting and I figured the payoff would be worth it. But it wasn't. The ending is terrible. Things aren't really resolved and even calling it a HFN is a stretch.
The dynamic of the relationship was very off putting to me. The balance of power, virtually non existent. I can only watch my heroine get kicked when she's down so many times before you can just count me out.*ARC provided by author for review