Nik wants to escape his family curse. Shay wants to change the world. Together, they are the only hope to save the vampires of Penton.
He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.
She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.
Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.
~ Bewitching BT
Worldbuilding: I really enjoyed returning to Penton and seeing how it evolved since my last visit (Redemption). I love their sense of community and their resilience. I also enjoyed the New Orleans action, because who (aside Frank, I guess) doesn’t love New Orleans?
Characters: Shay was my kind of heroine, smart, accomplished, independent, snarky, and easy to empathize with considering her captive status in the beginning of the story. It’s a nice circle for the series, in a way, since in the first one the heroine was also essentially kidnapped though with no malice involved, while Shay’s captivity is nothing short of any woman’s nightmare, if you ask me.
I also really liked Nik, he was interesting, strong, protective, funny, and charismatic. They made an awesome couple.
Another thing I enjoyed is I got to see how the rest of the couples are doing, and it was nice to “see” the characters again.
Plot: The arc of the series comes to an end with this novel, so there were a few tangents going on aside the kind of sweet second chance romance. Alert pace of events, with a lot of action.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, two main POVs (Nik/Shay), but it also jumps now and then.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my vampy PNR moods.
Considering the fact that it wraps up the series, maybe it’s UF with romantic elements more than outright PNR, so I recommend it to fans of complex worlds and following more than the one couple throughout the series, and lovers of complex worlds that involve more than the one type of creature and warring factions with action galore.
Shay bit her lip. She had absolutely no reason to go to Penton, wherever the hell it was. Her home and life and work were here in New Orleans. She knew she’d have to be careful, but now that the breeding house was broken up and Jonathan was dead, the vampires and their minions had no reason to come after her. Whatever feelings Shay had nursed for Nik Dimitrou in high school, they were long dead. Gorgeous only took a person so far. Besides, he was a vampire.
She’d wait until they got her out of this cemetery, though, to decline her visit to Vampire Central. Maybe the handsome cat boy would drop her off somewhere. But where? She had no money or identification with her. She didn’t even have the keys to her own apartment or lab.
Maybe a police station. They could come up with a plausible story for her disappearance. Maybe even name Simon as her kidnapper, and the warehouse location. Let the authorities make of it what they would.
Shay was distracted by the sight of Archer leaping to the top of the brick wall behind the Le Boeuf crypt, followed closely by Nik. Her old classmate might be injured and hungry, but that wall had given him no challenge. Shay wasn’t sure she could climb over it without a sturdy ladder on a good day. Today had not been a good day except that she hadn’t died.
Nik reached down and motioned to Shay. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
Shay looked at the wall, at Nik, and back at the wall. “I don’t think you can lift me. You’re hurt.”
“Trust me.” Nik grinned, giving Shay a glimpse of an older, even more handsome version of the boy she’d known so many years ago. She’d thought she loved that boy; this man, though….was a vampire. Don’t forget that, idiot.
She nodded, dried her hands on her jeans as much as she could, and reached up toward Nik. He leaned over, wrapped strong fingers around both of her wrists, and lifted her to the top of the wall with what seemed like little effort, setting her down beside him.
“Swing your legs over, and I’ll lower you down the other side. Or I can leap down with you in my arms.” His grin widened, and her heart beat double-time when their gazes locked. Vampire. He’s a freaking vampire. He’s a freaking vampire involved in a war with other freaking vampires. You cannot trust him. Lust, yes. Trust, no.
“Whatever you do, would you please move your arses?” Cage stood beneath them. “I’m getting soaked and—”
A loud pop sounded from the Washington Avenue end of the cemetery, followed by a splintering noise and another pop pop. Shay had lived in New Orleans long enough to recognize the sound of gunfire.
About the Author & Links:
Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series for Montlake Romance, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou, also for Montlake. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing on the side through Reedsy.com.