Kendra Leigh Castle delivers yet again with her latest installment in the Dark Dynasties series. I love her heroes and their struggle for self-worth. I love her tortured Cait-Sith race, reviled for centuries and now finally coming into their own. I love the world building, the romance... the sex. Yes, I know I'm gushing, but I did not want to put this book down.
Damien is a Cait Sith, but also a Shade... an assassin for the House of Shadows. His latest mission is to find Sammael, a member of the mysterious Gregori race, who has gone missing. It's an exciting job, because no one knows much about the Gregori and because there is also a missing female that her people want back as well.
Ariane is an outcast among the Gregori. The ancient, winged vampires consider themselves watchers. They study others in the world and they don't interfere. They shun emotion and Ariane has never been able to truly clamp her feelings down. When her only friend, Sammael, goes missing, she ignores the rules and rushes out on her own to find him and bring him home.
It's only a matter of time before Ariane and Damien cross paths in their search. Though they each reject the idea at first, they eventually realize that it's in both of their best interests to work together. And of course, that provides the opportunity for the attraction between them to grow.
Damien is a hard man. Like many Cait-Sith, he considers himself the low-blood he's been branded by others. He's never known comfort or love. He has only found happiness in money and the thrill of the hunt. But he is taken by Ariane's innocence, her honesty, and her inner strength. She doesn't play games and it makes her easy to root for. It was so satisfying to watch him succumb to her goodness and acceptance of who and what he is. The romance is really quite sweet and the sex is very good too.
As much as the romance was a hit for me, I found I enjoyed the story as well. It was cool seeing the Gregori mysteries unfold and learning how it all fits in the broader picture of the series. Each one of the vampire houses is interesting and unique. Castle has created such a rich canvas with her supernatural world and continues to build on it with each book.
This is book three in the Dark Dynasties series, and while we get references to events and characters from other books, I think this would still work as a standalone. The story is loaded with great secondary characters who are practically screaming to get a book of their own one day. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Rating: A-*ARC provided by author for review