New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with another captivating Angels of the Dark tale, as a tormented warrior is brought to his knees by the most delicate of humans
His name is Koldo. He is scarred, powerful, his control legendaryand he lives only for vengeance against the angel who viciously removed his wings. But if he yields to the forces of hatred, he will be eternally damned.
Nicola Lane was born with a defective heart, yet this fragile human shows surprising strength as demons stalk her every move, determined to end her. She is the key to Koldo's deliverance and his downfall. Though he fights duty, destiny and his first addictive taste of desire, his toughest battle will be the one for Nicola's lifeeven if he has to sacrifice his own .
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Koldo stalked down the ICU ward of the hospital. He and the warrior with him were hidden from human eyes and protected from human touch. The doctors, nurses, visitors and patients misted through them, completely unaware of the invisible world playing out alongside theirs. A spirit world that had given birth to this natural world, the human world.
A spirit world that was the true reality for all creation.
One day, these humans would discover just how exact that statement really was. Their bodies would die, their spirits would riseor descendand they would begin to understand the natural world was fleeting, the spiritual eternal.
Eternal. Just like Koldo's irritation seemed to be. He didn't want to be here among the humans, on yet another silly mission, and he really didn't like his companion, Axel. But his new leader, Zacharel, wanted him busy, distracted, for he suspected Koldo teetered on the verge of breaking a heavenly law.
Zacharel wasn't wrong.
After everything Koldo had endured in his father's camp after escaping and spending centuries searching for his mother, Koldo had finally found herand locked her inside a cage in one of his many homes.
So, yes. Koldo teetered. But he wouldn't ever cause the woman irrevocable harm. He wouldn't even lower himself to break one of her nails. For now, he simply hoped to teach her the horror of being trapped by circumstance, as she had taught him. As she was still teaching him.
Later, he would He wasn't sure. He no longer liked to consider the future.
Because of his abhorrence of Cornelia, Koldo had landed in the Army of Disgrace. It was a terrible name for such a choice defensive force, but it was one that fit nonetheless. The members were the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad male and female Sent Ones who were in danger of damnation.
For various reasons, all twenty soldiers had ignored prized heavenly laws. They were meant to love, but they hated. They were to help others, but they really only hurt. They were to build up, but they only ever tore down.
Three months ago, the members had been given one year to mend their wicked ways, or they would be stripped of their abilities and kicked into hell.
Koldo would do whatever was necessary to keep that from happeningeven deny himself true vengeance. He refused to lose the only home he'd ever known.
Axel grabbed him by the arm, stopping him. "Dude! Did you see the meat bags on that girl?"
And there was reason number one why Koldo had a problem working with Axel. "Could you be any more disgusting?" He jerked from the warrior's hold, contact with another not something he enjoyed.
"Yeah," Axel said with an irreverent grin. "I could. But someone, and I won't say your name, K, my man, needs to get his mind out of the gutter. I wasn't talking about her chesticles."
Koldo ran his tongue over his teeth. "What, then?"
"Hello. Her demons. Look."
His gaze slid to the room at his right. The door had been in the process of closing and now clicked shut, blocking the occupant from view. "Too late."
"It's only too late when you're dead. Come on. You gotta see this." Axel strode forward and ghosted through the entrance.
Koldo's hands curled into fists, and he battled the urge to punch a wall. They had a mission, and distractions only extended their time in a place crawling with demons laughing at the pain the humans suffered and whispering into the ears of anyone who would listen.
Can't survive, they said. There's no hope. And these humans so many were puppets, with clawed hands tugging at their strings. If they failed to fight back, they would become casualties in a war between good and evil, either in this life or after death. One way or another.
That's just the way things worked.
The Most High ruled the heavens. "He" was actually a sacred trinity consisting of the Merciful One, the Anointed One and the Mighty One, and He was the King of kings, His word law. He had appointed several underlings throughout the skies. Germanusor Deity, as some of Koldo's kind called him, referring to a title, nothing morewas one of those underlings. A king answerable to the King.
Germanus led the Elite SevenZacharel, Lysander, Andrian, Gabek, Shalilah, Luanne, Svanaand each of those seven led an army of Sent Ones. Zacharel, for instance, led the Army of Disgrace.
Sent Ones looked just like angels, but they weren't actually angels. Not in the sense the world knew, at least. Yes, Sent Ones were winged. Yes, they waged war against evil and helped humans, but in actuality, they were the adopted children of the Most High, their lives tethered to His. He was the source of their power, the essence of their very existence.
Like humans, Sent Ones battled the desires of the flesh. They experienced lust, greed, envy, rage, pride, hate, despair. Angels, in actuality, were servants and messengers of the Most High. They experienced none of those things.
Mind on the mission.
Koldo straightened his spine. Zacharel had tasked him and Axel with killing a specific demon here at the hospital. The demon had made the mistake of tormenting a patient who knew about the spiritual world around him, a male who had called upon the aid of the Most High.
The Most High was love personified, willing to help anyone who asked. Sometimes angels were dispatched, sometimes Sent Ones. Sometimes both, depending on the situation and the skills needed. This time, Koldo and Axel had been chosen. They had been nearby, headed to a training session, when Zacharel's voice had whispered through their minds, imparting instructions.
Axel peeked his head through the center of the door and said, "Dude! You're missing it!"
"The person in that room is not our"
Grinning, the warrior once again disappeared.
"Assignment," Koldo finished to no one but himself. His anger intensified.
He could move on and fight the demon he was supposed to fight, no problem, but according to Zacharel's orders, he wasn't to proceed without his partner.
Grinding his teeth, he marched forward. He slipped through the iron obstruction without any difficulty, stopped and glanced around. The room was small, with multiple machines attached to the motionless blonde female on the bed. A redheaded female sat next to her, chatting easily.
The redhead had no idea there were two demons standing behind her, pretending not to see the Sent Ones in the room.
"Two of the guys in my office got to arguing about who could run faster," she said, "and soon bets were flying."
Her voice had a whispery quality, as if filled with smoke and dreams, and it settled over Koldo like warm honey. And yet, with the soothing came a tensing. Every muscle in his body knotted up, as if preparing for war. He wanted to fight such a delicate human? But why? Who was she?
"I felt as if I was standing in the middle of a stock exchange or something."
Laughter bubbled from her, such beautiful laughter, pure, with nothing held back. The kind he'd never experienced himself.
"They decided to race in the parking lot instead of have lunch, and the loser had to eat whatever's in the plastic bowl in the break room fridge. The one that's been in there for over a month and is now black. I heard the cheers as I was pulling out of the lot, but I didn't get to see who won."
Wistful now. Why?
"You would have voted for Blaine, I'm sure. He's only five-nine, so he wouldn't tower over you too badly, and he has the cutest blue eyes. Not that his looks have anything to do with his speed, but I know you, and I know you would have wanted him to win regardless. You've always been a sucker for baby blues."
He could only see the top half of her, but judging by the fragility of her bone structure, she was a tiny thing. Her features were plain, her skin as pale as porcelain, and her eyes as gray as a winter storm. Her mass of strawberry hair was pulled into a high ponytail, the ends curling all the way to her elbow.
There was an air of fatigue surrounding her, and yet, there was a sparkle in those winter eyes.
A sparkle the demons behind her would soon snuff out.
He forced his attention on the pair. One was posted at her left and one was posted at her right, and both had a proprietary hand on her shoulder. They were Koldo's size, with dark, pupilless eyes that reminded him of bottomless pits. Lefty had a single horn protruding from the center of his forehead, and crimson scales rather than flesh. Righty had two thick horns rising from his scalp, and dark, matted fur.
There were many different types of demons, and they came in all different shapes and sizes. From the first of their kind, the fallen archangel Lucifer, to the viha, the paura, the nasili, the slecht, the grzech, the pica and the envexa. And sadly, many more. Each sought the destruction of mankindone man at a time, if necessary.
Amid the types of demons, there were ranks. Righty was a top-of-the-line paura, and all about fear. Lefty was a top-of-the-line grzech, and all about sickness.
Demons liked to attach themselves to humans and, through whispers and deceit, infect them with a toxin that caused their anxiety levels to spike, in the case of the paura, and the immune system to weaken, in the case of the grzech. Then, the demons fed off the ensuing panic and upset, weakening the humans further and making them easy targets for destruction.
The girl must have been a veritable buffet.
Just how sick was she?
Lefty gave up trying to ignore Axel and glared at him as he danced around, slapping his face and saying, "I'm hittin' you, I'm hittin' you, what're you gonna do about it, huh, huh?" in the good-ole-country-boy accent he sometimes liked to use.
Koldo despised demons with every ounce of his being. No matter their type or rank, they were thieves, killers and slayers, just like his father's people. They left chaos and confusion in their wake. They ruined. And this pair wouldn't leave the girl unless forcedbut even then she could welcome others.
His chest burned as he switched his focus to the girl on the bed. But his gaze lasered through the wrinkled cover, the thin hospital gown, and even skin and muscle. What he saw astonished him.
To him, the blonde was now as transparent as glass, granting him a glance at the demon that had wormed its way inside her body. A grzech, different from the one plaguing the redhead. This one had tentacles that stretched through the blonde's mind and into her heart, draining the life from her.
The Most High often blessed Sent Ones with specific supernatural abilities during difficult situations, things like this X-ray vision, as he'd heard others call it. Until now, Koldo had never experienced anything like it. Why here? Why now? Why this girl and not the other?
The questions were overshadowed a second later, when, in the blink of an eye, Koldo learned exactly how this had happened to her, the information seeming to download straight into his brain.
Born at twenty-six weeks, the blonde and her redheaded twin had struggled to survive the heart defects they'd been born with. Multiple surgeries were needed, and both almost died countless timeseach time nullifying any progress made. Throughout the years, their parents had become fond of saying, "You have to keep yourself calm or you'll have another heart attack."
Innocent words meant to aid the pairor so it seemed.
Words were one of the most powerful forces knownor unknownto man. The Most High had created this world with His words. And humans, who had been fashioned in His image, could direct the entire course of their lives with their words, their mouths as the rudder on a ship, as the bridle on a horse. They produced with their words. They destroyed with their words.
Eventually the blonde had come to believe the slightest rise in her emotions would indeed cause another painful heart attack, and with her belief, fear had sparked to life.
Fearthe beginning of doom, for heavenly law stated that what a person feared would come upon them. In the blonde's case, the fear had come upon her in the form of the grzech. She'd caught his notice, and she'd been such an easy target.
First, the demon breathed his toxin into her ear, whispering destructive suggestions.
Your heart could stop at any moment.
Oh, the pain it's unbearable. You can't live through that again.
This time, the doctors may not be able to revive you.
Demons knew human eyes and ears were a doorway to the mind, and the mind was a doorway to the spirit. So, when the blonde had entertained the terrible suggestions, constantly rolling them through her mind, the fear had multiplied and become a poisoned truth, causing her defenses to crumble, allowing the demon to slink inside her, create a stronghold and destroy her from the inside out.
She had indeed had another heart attack, and the necessary organ had weakened beyond what human medicine could repair.
Did the Most High want Koldo to help her, even though she wasn't his current mission? Was that what this unveiling was about?
Sighing, the redhead leaned back in her chair, returning Koldo's attention to her. Once again, he saw flesh and blood rather than spirit. The Most High's gift hadn't extended to her.
He didn't have time to wonder why. A waft of cinnamon and vanilla hit him, quickly followed by the sickening scent of sulfur. A scent the girl would not be able to shed, as long as the demons stayed with her.
"It's about time for me to go," she said, rubbing at the back of her neck as if the muscles were knotted. "I'll let you know who won that race, La La."
Did she have any idea that evil weighed her down and stalked her every move?
Did she know she was full of demon toxin, just like her sister? That, if she didn't fight, she would end up in the same circumstance, the demons worming their way inside her body?
Koldo could kill Lefty and Righty, but again, other demons would sense what easy prey she was and attack her. As unknowledgeable as she clearly was, she would surrender again.
For any kind of long-term success, he would have to teach her to wage war against the toxin. But to do so, he would need her cooperation and time. Cooperation she may not give. Time she may not have. But maybe she was the one the Most High wanted him to help. Maybe Koldo was to save the redhead from the blonde's fate.
Either way, the choice to aid heror notwas Koldo's. Germanus and Zacharel might issue orders, but not the Most High. Not even when He revealed a truth. He never overrode free will.
"You want in on this, buddy?" Axel asked him, continuing to slap at the now-snarling demons behind the redhead. "'Cause I'm about to take things up a notch."
"A notch above annoying is merely irritating," he said, inwardly fuming because he already knew he was going to pick the mission. Survival always came first.
Why was he fuming, anyway? He liked the sound of the girl's voiceso what? Who was she to him? No one. Why should he care about her and her future?
"We have a duty," he added. "Let's see to it."
Immediately guilt attempted to rise. No matter who she wasor wasn'the was cold and callous to leave her to such an evil end, wasn't he? His father would have made the same choice. His mother would have He wasn't sure what she would have done. She still seemed to love everyone but Koldo.
"Ah, come on, hoss," Axel said. "Stop and play, that's my motto."
"You come on," he called to Axel. "Now!" Before he changed his mind.
"Sure, sure." Axel worked his way behind the demons and kicked one in the back of the knees. The other twisted swiftly to bat the side of Axel's head with a meaty fist, sending the warrior propelling through the far wall.
Koldo stepped in front of his brethren when he returned to the room, preventing him from springing into a full-on attack. "Touch him again and you'll discover my talent with the sword of fire," he told the demons.
Loyalty mattered to Koldo. Deserved or not.
What People are Saying About This
One of the premier authors of paranormal romance." -#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole
"The Darkest Surrender is another sure-to-please hit...Gena Showalter knows how to keep readers glued to the pages and smiling the whole time."New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian
"Showalter delivers yet again!"-RT BookReviews on Wicked Nights
"The versatile Showalter...once again shows that she can blend humor and poignancy while keeping readers entertained from start to finish."-Booklist on Catch a Mate
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
CAUTION!!!! THIS IS NOT A REVIEW ON THE BOOK, BUT ON THE AUTHOR........ What to say? I feel very conflicted about my review. It feels wrong to be writing this but.... WTH! I was hoping Last Kiss Goodnight was an exception, but I guess not. It felt like Sunday church school. I've deleted this sentence like 10 times because I just don't know how to continue without being harsh, but I think GS might be at a point where she is going to be acquiring a completely different kind of reader and saying goodbye to her old ones (you know, the ones that obsessed, laughed, cried and set reminders on their phones for her release dates? ya, those.) I gave her last book 3 stars because I couldn't bring myself to rate her any lower. It just felt wrong. But now I'm just so upset :( I think, to new GS readers, this book is perfectly adequate and if it was a Young Adult book, it would have been great. But for me it was a complete let down. She just jumped off my purchase list. I'm not quitting her, but I will definitely be getting her books from the library from now on. I read 331 pages of Young Adult at best, Christian Fantasy Romance easily, at worst, but definitely not what I thought I purchased. Not making that mistake again. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, but fool me three times? Oh no no no! I have extremely low expectations for the following books, and don't even want to think about what she's going to do to the Lords. It's really quite tragic, I feel like crying just thinking about it. The worst part is that I don’t mind her new PG-13 way so much…….. well, okay fine, I do mind it, a lot actually, but I could live with it if it meant having her in my life. It’s the overkill that REALLY bothers me. I don’t even nag to my kids this much. I mean WOW! It felt like a really draining therapy session, or a visit to my mother in laws. The moral lessons should definitely be kept to a minimum. Less is more is a good rule to follow in this case. With that said and all kidding aside, I actually feel really sad and let down at this new turn in her writing. I look forward to her books sooooo much, and to be left with this feeling of dissatisfaction is a real bummer. I always read her books on the release day, usually in one sitting and right away get on the phone to let everyone know how good it was, what to expect and give away spoilers to those who want them. I read it two days ago and haven’t called anyone. I’m always so excited and can’t wait to talk to someone about it. I feel no excitement at all. How sad is that :(
Okay, seriously what has happened to the author? This book (and honestly the series so far) doesn't even seem like the same Gena Showalter who forced me to stay up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish one of her novels. Actually, I know what happened. According to her website, Showalter has found God which is great for her, not so great for the readers if it means a complete change to her writing style. Granted, a series about angels skates pretty close to the Christian tradition, but you only have to take a look at JR Ward's series to see it can be done without a lot of preachiness. Beauty Awakened reads like inspirational fiction which, again, is fine but not what her readers have come to expect. All of the snap, crackle and pop of her early writing as well as the sizzling chemistry between characters is completely gone. This book was about as sizzling as The Cat in the Hat. Never have I read a Showalter book where the sex scene was so vague and undescriptive. The funny thing is, for someone who's become more circumspect involving intimacy between characters she certainly has no trouble writing graphic violence which I really think has been ratcheted up lately (there's a scene involving the removal of an eye that is particularly grisly), not to mention heaping abuse, sexual and physical, on her characters which seems like overkill. Those issues coupled with the heavy Christian tone are the reason for the dismal rating. Abandoning this series won't be that much of a problem (although I'm still a teeny tiny bit intrigued by Thane, Bjorn and Xerxes), but I'm really worried about the continuation of the Lords of the Underworld series. Kane's story is next, and I can only hope the author rediscovers her mojo or another series will be ruined for me.
This book is disgusting. Ever had a loved one die of heart failure? Well they just didn't think enough "happy thoughts" and probably had a demon inside them. I could go on and on about this Sunday school wannabe drivel, which as a former LoTU devotee saddens me, but I won't. Suffice it to say that Showalter's newly discovered outlook on life is severly negatively affecting her writing ability. I'm giving her one last shot - Kane's story - before writing her off completely and boycotting her forever. Sad, she HAD such promise and used to be such an amazing writer.
This book really lacks the writing skill I've come to expect from Gena. It's a continuation of her "testimony" from her website. Hopefully now that she has it out of her system, she can get back to her exciting storytelling. What's happening to writers these days! First, Charlene Harris, then Christine Feehan and J.R.Ward, and Gena has lost the ability to keep up to their standard of writing. I can only hope Kresley Cole and Alexandra Ivy don't follow down this path.
The well written love scenes from "Lords..." & Wicked Nights are completely missing from this book. The end leaves MUCH to be desired. I REALLY hope Kane's book is written the way she normally writes.
THIS REALLY SUCKED!!!! I'd really like to offer an intelligent, ADULT review for an author that I have loyally followed for over a decade, but I find my intelligence sorely taxed by the dismal, juvenile, sermonizing crap that she has offered in the last year. I couldn't even finish this oneand as sad as I am to say it I won't waste my time and money on another one. The idea of her tangling Kane or any of my other faves from LotU or Alien Huntress up in this adolescent, kumbaya mess is disturbing. I' d rather use my own imagination than have another perfectly good hottie, alpha male or kick-butt herione turned into wimpy, whiney dull-as dishwater character in one of Ms. Showalter's new books. I wish her and her publishers the luck of their new target audience which obviously ISN'T those of us that have lined their pockets for the last couple of decades. I'll find another ADULT romantic fiction author to give my money to.
I am a huge Lords of the Underworld fan, but this new series is seriously lacking in the romance department. The book was interesting and well written, but it it just didn't do it for me. Sad, because I was really looking forward to this new series of hers.
Not like how she used to write. Has she overextended herself for her publishers? Her description for sex scenes was that of a ya novel. Used to be a die hard fan but im not too sure anymore.
very disapointed in this book, although it had potential for a great story it falls FLAT! I wish i could return it but I purchased it on my nook so i am stuck. I do not recommend this book, although i would recomend her previous series Lords of the Underworld. sorry
This book isnt as bad as many of the reviewers are saying. For me its not in the same league as her usual kick ass heros, and witty women. But its about angels and something like angels. Now if youve read about angels in other books there is Usually a religious undertone so stop complaining about it being to preachie if you dont like the frame work for this book pick one of the older ones, they never dissapoint. The build up in the relationship was nice with some tension, not as hot as usual but a good read. Will i keep reading G.S. books definately! It sounds like a few of the other charaters will have a hotter story line and who says a committed relationship has to be dull.
I'll make this short... The book was great. I loved the characters and I am in love with Koldo. This is the second installment to a new spin-off series. If you have not read the other series by GS than you will adore this book. However, if you're like me and have read and re-read everybook she wrote than you will have complaints similiar to the ones listed below. I still love GS books. I did enjoy this read and will continue to read her stories, but I do wish she would give us more of the love scenes from her other books. I gave this book 4 stars based on the book it self. If your new to this author I highly recommend you read her other books as well. If you are not reviewing this book than I suggest you leave your complaints on another site.
I love Gena's books, I think she is one of the best writers ever..... This book is awesome and keeps your attention. Great work!
5 Stars! Gena Showalter did it again! A wingless angel and a girl tormented by demons. Is there redemption? "BEAUTY AWAKENED" pulled me in from the very first page and consumed me to the last. I'm in love with the Sent Ones “Angels of the Dark” . Gena Showalter is an amazing author and knows how to tell a story that keeps you entertained and intrigued. What we get with “Beauty Awakened” is positive thinking, action, sexual tension and a little humor in this book. The healing Koldo teaches Nicola and Laila is all about the power of positive thinking and if you think negative thoughts then those thoughts will start to bring you down. “You speak what you believe, and you believe you’re doomed. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the years, it’s that what you believe is the impetus for your entire life.” The sexual tension is just right between the main characters and we get one full on sex scene. It takes a talented author to write a romance book with only one actual sex scene and keep it sexy and Gena nailed it! We also get to see a lot of Axel in this book. While Axel acts extremely immature “he adds the comic relief in this book”, you can't help but laugh at his crazy antics and the absurd things that come out of his mouth. We also get an appearance/snippet of William from the "Lords of the Underworld” series.
I really loved WICKED NIGHTS, so I was a bit reluctant to read BEAUTY AWAKENED assuming the second book in the series couldn’t possibly live up to the first. Well, I’m happy to report all my assumptions were incorrect. I should know by this point not to ever doubt Gena Showalter - she’s the queen of adult paranormal! First, let me say I fell absolutely in love with Koldo. His past was so rough my heart just broke for him. It’s pretty bad when you want to leap into the pages and hug a fictional character. Oh, but don’t think the sadness lessened the sexy because he was all of that too. Also, I just adored Nicola. She had some pretty big challenges of her own, yet she was so strong. You couldn’t read this book without cheering for her. But, the best part was when the characters came together. There was chemistry flying off the pages. The angel backstory and likable secondary characters left plenty of room for this series to continue. I really can’t wait for BURNING DAWN and I hope this is more than a three book series. Fans of Adult Paranormal Romance, Alpha Males, Strong Females, Off-the-Charts Chemistry, or Angels should definitely check out the ANGELS OF THE DARK series.
Or does it seem like all anyone wants to read is erotica.
I am disappointed in this third book of the angels of the dark series. it lacked chemistry in my opinion and the fact that it has been two years since this book was issued I think GS has lost her inspiration in writing. this is not the first time I was upset after purchasing her book. I was also upset when she issued the last book of the Lords Of The Underworld. it lacked passion, imagery, and suspicion. if GS is going to continue to write like this im going to have to pack up my books from her and never buy one of her books again. its sad that a good writer like her can not finish what she has started. This book is not worth the effort of buying.
As with all the other books.. This one is excellent
I read many series in this genre, and I mean like everything I can get my hands on probably 3 books per week, and I can honestly say this is one series I wait for. The men are frustrating and sexy and fiercely protective. The women are bold some times broken but they pull thru in the end. If you like showalter you can expect her bad boy turned lover in this tale as well. It's one I finished quick b/c I couldn't put it down! If u want more details the book!
Some have said that the book is not as good as lords of the underworld series. I think it is better than some of the books in that series. While i liked lords of the underworld series as a whole; i did not like all the books. If you are looking for graphic srx scenes, then no this is not the book for you. Great love story, but not graphic. Those complaining about the religous aspect nned to get a grip....it IS about angels, what do you expect.
I don't know what everyone is talking about! I can't get enough of this series!!!! Loved the book and cant wait till the next one. Oh how I hate the wait. I am a sucker for a good romance with angels in it. I do have to say I was not a big fan of her Lords of the Underworld series, but now I am a renewed fan of Gena Showalter!
I loved this story and I thought it was a beautiful love story. It didn't have a lot of over the top sex scenes but it didn't need it, it wouldn't have worked for this book.
Expected better. It is suited to a young adult reader. Absolutely no sizzle like her previous books.
I wont lie, it is not my favorite out of the series but oh poor dear Koldo, i just love him! He hides such a tender caring bruised battered and beaten heart.
The first book was awesome and this one was just as good will be purchasing the third book in this series! ?