Excerpt & Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena Showalter @HarlequinBooks @InkSlingerPR

 

The Queen of Paranormal Romance, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter, returns with THE DARKEST WARRIOR, a searing Lords of the Underworld tale featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep.


THE DARKEST WARRIOR
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 26, 2018

He is ice…

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire…

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her…and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily-ever-after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

Grab your copy of THE DARKEST WARRIOR here!

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Puck eased into the room, silent, and padded forward. Wait. Had he remembered to dress today? A quick glance down revealed his sheepskin pants had been torn so much they resembled a loincloth. No matter. Barbarian chic really made his horns pop and fit the whole romance-novel-hero mystique he’d hoped to convey. He might even pass for Prince Charming—well, a prince in need of true love’s kiss.

Puck’s pulse points spun into a wild rhythm when he reached the side of the bed and spied his future bride. He wasn’t the only fairy-tale character in the room. Sleeping beauty lies before me.

Dark ribbons of hair spilled over the pale pink of the pillow. Her eyes were closed, long black lashes throwing shadows over her cheeks. A rosy flush spread over her delicate features as she parted her lips.

Practically begging for my kiss.

Focus! Keep this short and sweet. No telling when William would return.

“Gillian,” he rasped, surprised by the husky tone of his voice.

A sweet fragrance wafted from her. Breathing in, he detected a note of poppiberries, and his head fogged. His blood heated. The butterfly tattoo sizzled on his torso, surely melting his skin.

Indifference snarled with more force and slashed at his mind. Trouble brewed.

Fortify ice. Regain control.

Gillian turned her head toward him and blinked rapidly before focusing on him. Panic filled her whiskey-colored eyes before she looked away—anywhere but Puck. Her mouth opened wide, as if she was trying to scream. Only a squeak escaped.

“There’ll be none of that now.” To prove himself harmless, he tucked the covers around her, as he’d seen William do. “I’m not here to hurt you.” Truth.

The movement caused the razors woven into his hair to clink together, drawing her attention. Her gaze darted to him and darkened with shock and dismay. He swallowed a curse. Romance novel heroes didn’t usually smuggle weapons in their hair.

Must proceed anyway. Puck wouldn’t part with his razors; they were his saving grace. Anytime he was challenged, and had no sword or dagger, he plucked a razor free and started slashing.

Tears rained down Gillian’s cheeks, and her chin trembled. So vulnerable. So broken. A pang of…something lanced his chest.

As gently as possible, he wiped her tears away. Skin as soft as silk and hotter than the sun.

The action helped relax her, even as it hardened muscle after muscle inside him. Her panic began to fade—until her gaze snagged on the loincloth. Or rather, the erection underneath the loincloth. With a whimper, she began to thrash atop the bed in a desperate bid to escape.

Thought he would take what she had not offered? Never. “Eyes up here, lass.”

Her gaze lifted up, up…she gasped, as if she’d noticed his face for the very first time. Confusion contorted her features before a deeper shade of rose spilled over her cheeks.

Did she like what she saw?

He hadn’t known it at the time, but he’d waited for her, had craved her. Only her. A woman strong enough to feel when he could not. A woman unwilling to let him shut down his own emotions, who knew the rarity of joy, who would settle for nothing less.

Before I get into my review, let’s address the pink elephant in the room, shall we? The pairing for Gillian in this book has been a polarizing one, to say the least. Many readers, myself included, were waiting for a Gillian and William book…finally…after so many books in this series that has been hinting at it. When I read the blurb for Darkest Warrior, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I mean, Gillian and Puck? What about all the relationship development that happened throughout the series that led us to believe it will be Gillian and William’s HEA. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but I decided to put my trust into Gena and reserve my ultimate judgement until I read the book. And after finishing? I’m one hundred percent #TeamPuck. Because when I thought about it, throughout the series that are hints of why William wasn’t the perfect match for her and after seeing her with Puck, I totally get why he’s a much better match for her.

Three things happened for me in this book:
1. I ended up loving Gillian even more
2. I’m completely re-hooked on this series
3. I fell head over hooves for Puck

Deep down, he had a secret, shameful desire to keep a woman all to himself, to learn every little detail about her past, all her hopes and dreams. He dreamed of spending weeks, months, years pampering her and her alone, branding himself in and on her. Being branded by her. He yearned to have a “mine.” Maybe one day he could.

I’ll admit, I struggled with the first 15% of the story. There’s a lot of inner monologue that happens and I found my interest waning in and out. Some of it may have been my own bias against anyone other than William taking up Gillian’s attention. But then somewhere around the 20% mark, something happened. Something just clicked for me and I began to fall more and more for Puck. The lethal warrior set on a quest to take back his kingdom and the host of the demon of Indifference. Let me tell you, it’s no small feat to pull off a connection like the one between Gilly and Puck with Indifference as your demon. But not only did that happen, but the chemistry between them was through the roof hot.

He kissed her as if his survival depended on it, demanding total surrender. Surrender she happily ceded.

Gillian has always been the wounded bird of the group. With her tender age and scars from her childhood, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her as a heroine, especially compared to the typical Showalter sassy heroines. I’m happy to report that the development that happened with Gilly in this story turned her into one heck of a badass. And it felt so right. I loved and I mean loved the direction that the author took with her and I couldn’t get enough of it.

The chemistry between Gillian and Puck is instant and potent. As you read the development of their relationship, something clicks, and you just get it. You understand why Gilly couldn’t have ended up with William and why Puck is such a better match for her. Was it disappointing? Maybe in the beginning. But by the time I was finished, I totally got it, and I was wholeheartedly behind it.

He had an entire solar system in those irises, and she felt like she was the sun.

There’s a lot of story that happens here. Plenty of loose ends that get tied up and plenty of development that leave you with even more questions. A lot of the things that happened in the previous books all led to the events in this one. There’s plenty of Hades, Keely, and William developments that take place here that only serve to whet your appetite for more. And this reader couldn’t get enough of it.

The Darkest Warrior was a deliciously addicting read full of action, plot twits, and a sizzling romance. I loved every page of it. Fourteen books into this series and I’m still hooked and can’t wait for more. If you’re wondering about what happens to William, there’s a heck of a hook that we get in the development of his story by the end of this one. And I for one cannot wait to see how it all unfolds. As for this book, I’m completely satisfied with how everything resolved. While I wasn’t 100% behind this pairing at first, I simply can’t imagine Gillian with anyone other than Puck after I was done. So if you’re anything like me and find yourself unsure how you feel, I say take a chance and you just may end up loving it as much as I did!

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! ~Jessica, InkSlinger PR

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