Caleb Leigh is not a bad guy. I'm telling you this off the bat, because it was something I had to keep telling myself over the course of the book. Yes, he killed three people in painful, horrible blood sacrifices in Blood of the Wicked
and it seemed like he was going to sacrifice his very own sister to his coven --until their leader turned on him. But he had his reasons. I think?
But we'll get back to all that in a minute.
It's been a year since Caleb destroyed almost everyone in his coven and went on the run from the survivors and his sister Jessie. But as our story begins, someone has tracked him down. That someone is Juliet, the innocent witch who lit his fire back in the coven days. They only hooked up once. --Oh yeah, and her sister Cordelia was one of those nasty sacrifices I was talking about. But now we learn Cordelia agreed to the ritual -1- because she was dying anyway and -2- because Caleb promised her that he would get Juliet away from the coven.
Juliet doesn't know about her sister but she does know that Caleb betrayed the coven and left her high and dry, so now she wants to kill him. OK, not really. But she wants
to want to kill him. Anyway, she attacks him, but she can't bring herself to end his life, so she alerts the remaining members of the coven to his location --and is surprised when they not only take him captive, but her too. Because he feels really guilty about killing her sister --and because he still wants to get into her pants-- Caleb takes Juliet with him when he escapes.
Somehow, they end up back with his sister Jessie. But Juliet is a big target for both the coven and the Mission alike. Everybody wants her (though we don't find out why until the very end.) In the meantime, there is much angst, some great sexual tension and some hot sex to keep us occupied.
I did get confused a little bit when all the particulars came out about Juliet's history, but I could take most of it in stride. Cooper is great at crafting unlikely relationships and making them sing. I found myself rooting for Caleb and Juliet to work it all out. But a guy killing your sister in a ritual sacrifice is a pretty big obstacle to overcome in a relationship.
Which brings me back to whether or not Caleb is really good guy. Well, he sure is painted that way here. And he seems to feel some shame and self-derision for his actions. But we only got a justification of sorts on one of the three people he killed. What about the others? What about what happened with Jessie in the first book? Obviously, this didn't entirely work for me. As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't put his dirty deeds behind me, nor could I see them as some kind of martyr-like actions, where he takes things on himself. I couldn't reconcile the man we get to know in this story with his actions in the first one. But there were alot of things I did like about the book, so I just had to keep telling myself "he's not a bad guy" and let myself enjoy the rest of the story.
But I kind of felt like I was cheating. And it leaves me struggling for a rating. Hell, I don't know... let's go with a little less than 4 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley