The tattooed demoness, Bone, doesn’t like anything except the magical weapons she makes. But she has hidden talents few know about. When I was brought to her near death, she used her Seraph song to manipulate flesh and bone to heal me. But she wasn’t happy about it.
Now I must return the favor. Even though she refuses to take sides in the apocalypse, there’s one job she’s not willing to do for the demon prince Rook. If she doesn’t, her head will end up on a spike. Of course, there’s a good chance we’re all going to die anyway, but I will do anything to protect this fierce woman—and not just because she saved me.
So, we’re both off to kill a demon—or three—and possibly save the world.
Each book in the Dominion series is STANDALONE:
* The Deepest Well (prequel)
* Darkest Heart
* Hardest Fall
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
No. Nothing's fair in love and war. I agreed with the haunting lyrics by Fleurie floating through my shop while I leaned over a finished blade, etching a skull and crossbones into black steel. This fresh hell called the apocalypse hadn't changed my mind about humanity. Or heaven. Or the underworld. I knew that humans were doomed eighteen hundred years ago when I watched them singing hymns as they walked to their brutal deaths. That was when I'd stepped down from Elysium — gave up its Light — and channeled my gifts into something more worthwhile. Arming the fighters, offering survival to the fittest, and taking no sides.
So here I was, finishing a blade for one of the Twelvers, a human resistance fighter. Last week, I sold to an angel warrior a specialized crossbow with my own brand of powerful ether ammo designed to incinerate any creature — supernatural or earthly. And tomorrow another demon would stroll in, wanting to buy my wares.
The revolving door of otherworld beings and desperate humans with a need only I could fill kept my hands busy and my head on autopilot. Just the way I liked it. Or at least, that's what I —
I jerked, nearly slicing my thumb with the engraving tool.
I recognized the voice yelling my name from the front corridor of my basement workshop. A glance at the camera's monitor above the workbench confirmed it was him, all right. Dommiel, a dangerous demon who recently switched sides — definitely the work of his angel lover — and one of the few demons I called friend.
Anya wasn't with him, but I recognized the demon hunter George from around London — and from the time I visited his estate to heal Dommiel. Tonight, he helped carry the body of a human with a bleeding chest wound. Leaping toward the steel inner door, I unlatched and opened it wide. They were steps from the door, moving fast.
"Why are you bringing me a dead man, Dommiel?"
"Nearly dead, beautiful," he said, voice unrattled as usual. He eyed the table at the center of my shop, littered with ammo and handguns. "I need another table."
Heaving a sigh, I led them through the archway to my private inner rooms and gestured toward the high wooden table against the wall where I crafted harnesses. Sweeping it clear of scraps of leather, I stepped out of the way while the hunter lay the injured man's head down gently. That was when I noticed the similarity in their looks — George and the nearly dead man. Not identical by any means, but I saw a likeness in the coloring of skin and golden hair, though the hunter's leaned toward auburn. Same dimpled chin, chiseled jaw, high cheekbones, and long slash of a nose. But I knew this hunter was centuries old. This human couldn't be —
Taking in the injured man, I realized my mistake. Because his lifeforce was ebbing away, I hadn't sensed the low hum of otherworldly power pulsing from his body, pumping slowly through his veins.
"Who is he?" I asked, stepping closer.
"He's a Dominus Daemonum," said George. Master of Demons. A hunter, like him. "And he's the last of my kin." I swiveled toward Dommiel, whose black iris rimmed in ruby red — the one not covered with a patch — stared at me expectantly.
"I'm not sure why you brought him here." Gesturing to my shop, the blades and pieces of steel and leather stacked on every surface, I said, "As you can see, I'm not a healer."
"Bullshit," growled Dommiel. He thrust out his mechanical arm and wiggled his black steel fingers. "You can heal him."
George spoke. "Look, I know you're a seraph."
"Was a seraph," I corrected.
He swallowed, his eyes darting nervously to the unconscious man bleeding out on my work table.
"You have the power of inspiration. You can save him." The handsome hunter's desperate expression stoked something in that long-dead organ inside my rib cage. "Please," he whispered.
"Come on, Bone. I know you can do this," urged Dommiel. "Any price. You name it."
Shifting my attention back to the injured man, I noticed that the pool of red seeping across his unusually crisp, white shirt was slowing down. His heart was pumping slower. Gripping both sides of the button-down, I ripped it open, still wondering at a man — a demon hunter — dressed up and groomed so impeccably during the apocalypse. Who did that? Apparently, he did.
The wound looked to be a clean stab through his left pectoral, right where his heart was.
"Who stabbed him?"
"One of Simian and Rook's red priests."
Not good. "Was the blade tinged with the demon princes' essence?"
"No," said George. "They were trying to kill him. Not take him as a slave."
A demon used his essence to take possession of others.
"How do you know that?" I glanced over at him.
"My cousin Xander, here, keeps pissing on their plans. The demon princes, that is. They're trying to get rid of him."
I swiveled back to the man on my worktable. "Seems they were almost successful."
"Yeah. Xander wiped out about twenty on his own, from what we could tell. Even with this injury."
Impressive fighter. His pale chest, smeared with blood, seemed to grow even paler. I hesitated only one more second.
"Strip him," I ordered, marching back toward my living quarters where I kept my suture kit.
Dommiel was the only one I'd ever operated on, and that was to attach his new arm. I feared what I'd find when I opened up this Xander. I wasn't a surgeon. But they were right. My power as a former seraph had not diminished when I left Elysium — the home of heavenly hosts. This power of inspiration could be twisted into persuasion. I'd once inspired the souls of the lost to walk away from despair — before I'd fallen into that dark pit myself and come to understand its allure.
I now enjoyed manipulating metal and steel — much less difficult to manage — singing my song of creation into the metalwork, making it become what I envisioned in my mind. I'd only ever once sung my song to manipulate flesh and bone. For Dommiel. To give him back his arm. And the result had left me drained, exhausted, and ... content.
By the time I'd grabbed my kit and wound back through my bedroom and small kitchen into the workroom, they'd stripped the hunter down to his underwear. Dommiel had a wet cloth and was wiping clean the wound.
"No." I pushed him out of the way and popped open my leather bag. "It needs disinfecting. That rag could have all manner of bacteria on it."
He moved over as I pulled out a bottle of antiseptic and ripped out a clean sponge from its wrapper. The bleeding had slowed to a crawl, which wasn't necessarily a good thing. The blood might be clotting, but it was more likely that he was near death, his heart pumping slower. I kept my instruments sterile, but I still wiped the scalpel with the antiseptic-soaked sponge.
"You keep a scalpel and surgical instruments handy, yet you say you're not a healer?" asked George.
"Well, George. I hate to break this to you, but we're in the midst of an apocalypse."
"I've had to stitch myself up a time or two."
Without glancing up at either of them, I set to my work, opening the knife wound wider with the scalpel, cutting deeper through the bone.
"Sponge, Dommiel." He blotted the wound while I held it open with surgical tongs, delving deeper to see the damage. "I prefer working with metal," I grumbled as I went back in.
"Why's that?" asked George.
"Metal doesn't bleed."
Once I could finally see the damage done to his heart, I nodded and marched to the opposite wall where I kept my various lengths of wire.
"Not as bad as I thought."
"Really?" George sounded more than relieved.
"Well, let me amend my statement." I rummaged through the bins on the wall with blood-stained hands until I found what I needed. The finest alloy I'd ever come across — a blend of titanium, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and carbon fiber. "If this doesn't work, he will certainly die. But his attacker's knife cut cleanly through his left pulmonary artery and left pulmonary veins, not through the aorta."
"But you can fix him, can't you?" Dommiel's confidence in my ability gave me pause.
I was well-known for my talents in the art of weapon-making. But he believed in my ability to heal, not just kill. Clearing my throat, I used my wire cutters to snip off a thick ribbon of the dark gray alloy. I'd never used my magic in the presence of anyone but Dommiel.
"I can," I assured them both. "I'd prefer it if you left."
"I'd rather stay." George stepped forward with those imploring eyes, damn him. "If he wakes up or dies on this table, I want him to know I'm here."
I wasn't shy about my abilities. I'd just rather others not know the extent to which I could use them. It put my own life in danger, and Rook had already been sniffing around me again.
"Please," George begged in a forlorn voice, one that tugged on that part of me that was more angel than demon.
"Stand out of the way." I snapped a look at Dommiel. "Both of you."
With a switch on the wall, I locked and bolted my outer door so we wouldn't be interrupted by drop-in customers. Even so, I closed the door to my warehouse of goods, shutting us in the room, then I flipped off the camera monitor and the lights. Swiftly pulling my sage and camphor candles from the cupboard, I placed and lit them in the corners of the room, whispering the words to summon my magic.
"Respirare ... audite." I then summoned my song. "Et huc venerunt ... mihi carmen."
To their credit, the demon and demon hunter in my midst remained silent. Cupping my hands around the sheet of metal — cleaned with antiseptic — I held them before me over the open chest of the dying hunter.
The song found me fast and hard, as if it knew this was more vital than metalwork, humming from my core in a ripple of supernatural sound. I didn't always sing in creation. I didn't need to. Not for small tasks. But the song always knew more than me, recognized the need and the importance beyond my own understanding. I was an instrument, after all. A conduit for the seraph song. And though I'd stopped singing to save souls long ago, the song had not left me ... when I deigned to set it free. It seemed more than eager now to help me save this hunter's life.
When the voice rose up into my throat and I let loose the ancient words — the song of inspiration and making — a violent wind ghosted through the room, guttering the candles. Trembling with the power vibrating through my limbs, I held steady and let the melody pour into my cupped hands. An electric-green glow shimmered there, flickering up with magical flame, melting the metal and melding with my essence of song.
My voice rose with an ethereal melody, rattling the loose metal in the bins on the wall behind me. The green-glowing alloy snaked out of my hand and poured into the open wound of the hunter, seeping down into the cavity. I leaned over him and lowered my voice, crooning old words that had no direct translation in any human language. The closest I could come to them were ... grow anew, love the flesh, mend the broken, make it whole.
My attention drifted back to the unconscious man's face. His beautiful face. For there was no denying this hunter was gifted with profound masculine beauty. Taking the wet rag Dommiel had dropped, I wiped the dried blood smeared on his brow. Continuing to wipe his face clean, I ventured lower, my melody slowing. Wiping the broad planes of his chest and torso, the ridges of his abdomen, I noted the flesh of his gaping wound stitching itself together, the green glow dimming as it was swallowed by the closing skin.
Skimming the rag down to his legs, I continued my exploration, wiping every smudge of red, making sure none of the blood was a sign of another injury. The stains were all from his one wound or from ones he'd inflicted on another. I finished at his feet, the song leaving me, and I folded the rag onto the table. Placing a hand over his now-sutured wound — a thick red scar slashing over his heart — I hummed softly, feeling his heart beat strong against my palm. The ripples of seraph magic leeched away, fading to wherever it came from.
"Gratias tibi." I thanked the power for its gift, feeling utterly drained as I smiled down at the demon hunter.
"Bone," came Dommiel's gruff voice from behind me.
Turning, I hadn't expected to find the expressions they wore — of awe and wonder. And of deep gratitude.
Dommiel shook his head. "I never" — he stared down at Xander — "you never sang like that for me."
I scowled. "The song does what it wants. I'm not in control."
The demon smiled. "Your song must like him, then."
That sparked even more ire. I didn't know this hunter or care for him any more than I would a stranger on the street. It wasn't my fault the song was enamored with his plight. I was about to rattle off a few choice words for Dommiel's insinuation that I was playing favorites when George stepped forward.
Swallowing hard, tears standing in his eyes, he said, "I can't thank you enough."
"It was the —"
He raised a hand to stop my protests. "No matter. If you weren't willing, he'd be dead now."
Realizing I still had my hand on his bare chest, I stepped back. "What about Uriel? Your archangel? He couldn't have healed him?"
George cut a swift negative. "He's still healing from his own ordeal and from —" He thumbed at Dommiel.
"Yeah, yeah. From breaking me out of Simian's torture dungeon. She knows."
I glanced back at the hunter, still unconscious but breathing easier. "I'd better keep him for a day or two. At least until he wakes up. I don't know if he'll need a second ... treatment."
I wasn't sure what to call what I'd done. That seemed close enough.
"Yeah." Dommiel grinned and quirked his brow. "Seraph treatment."
"Dammit, Dommiel. Only you could make that sound dirty."
He winked. "Speaking of dirty ... I'd best be getting back to Anya." He headed for the door. "I left her with that Twelver, Cooper. Don't like the way he looks at her."
George scoffed. "The way all men look at a beautiful angel with blue wings?"
"Yeah. Don't like it."
The Twelvers were the human resistance fighters who'd banded together in this scary new world, determined to not only survive but to fight back against the demon hordes and thrive. I sold to them as well, willing to help out anyone who could help themselves. Hell, they were the underdogs. They needed all the help they could get.
George shook his head, turning to me. "I'll be back to check on him tomorrow. Thank you, again."
He followed Dommiel out, leaving me alone with the demon hunter.
While my wards kept anyone from sifting through my outer walls and doors into my home, I hadn't put up wards to keep from sifting within my own inner workroom and living space. Call me lazy, but I liked to get to the bathroom in a blink if needed. I also liked to arm myself quickly if someone broke in to rob my warehouse.
Gently, I leaned over the hunter, scooping one arm under his neck and gripping his shoulder. The other arm I wrapped around his waist, then sifted with him in my arms, vanishing and reappearing in my bed. His legs were entwined with mine, my arm trapped under the weight of his upper body.
I rolled in a panic to get him off me and wound up straddling him. That spiked my adrenaline more, his warm bare torso heating through my jean-clad thighs. Scrambling off of him and the bed, I blew out a deep breath. He remained unconscious and unfazed by this badass demoness's panicked reaction to being trapped in bed with a man.
Laughing, I shook my head, hands on hips. It's not like I hadn't been in bed with men before. Something about this hunter's proximity sent my senses into a spiral. I'll just have to stay as far away from him as possible.
Get him well. Then get him out of my house.
Yes, that's what I needed to do.
Marching back into my workroom and to the blade that still needed finishing, I shut the door behind me.
"And definitely out of my bed."CHAPTER 2
I was certainly not in my own bed when I roused to the smell of lavender in the sheets and the crooning sound of a sinfully beautiful voice coming from — I pushed up onto an elbow, peering through an open door and catching sight of a dripping showerhead — a bathroom?
Then I remembered. Looking down at my bare chest, I was shocked to find my body whole and my heart still beating inside my chest beneath a rather hideous and lengthy scar. I traced the raised, red welt with my forefinger. That bloody demon had gotten me good. Last thing I remembered was calling George on my mobile before I collapsed, sure I was dying.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Hardest Fall"
Copyright © 2019 Juliette Cross.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Didn't realize this was part of a series missed the first one,Was a little confused how everything develops but in all it is a very good story. It has good characters in Bone and Xander and all the rest that helps the story along. Bone and Xander are hiding things that about themselves that prevent them from becoming who they could be. As thing develops they come to some understanding about themselves. Good action,drama emotions,romance. Enjoyed reading. Voluntarily reviewed
Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross is the 2nd book in her urban fantasy Dominion series. I am a big fan of Juliette Cross, as I have loved each and every book she writes. Hardest Fall is no exception, as it was another fantastic book. Once again, if you have not read Juliette Cross, and you like fantasy, paranormal, or romance, you are missing a gem of an author. Bone, our heroine, whom we met in the previous book, was busy working on her unique ability to make powerful weapons, when Dommiel (last book hero) rushes in bringing a severely injured man. Bone takes one look at the man, and says she cannot help him, but Dommiel knows if anyone can save him, it is her; reluctantly, Bone agrees to try. Xander, is a demon hunter, and when he awakes he thinks that Bone used her essence to heal him, and Xander does not want any Demon essence inside him. But what he doesn’t know is that Bone is much more powerful, she is a former seraph (a fallen angel), who walked away and takes no sides between humans and demons. Bone can forge metal into the deadly powerful weapons she creates and sells to the highest bidder. When Xander overhears Bone talking to the Demon prince, Rook and his brother Simian about creating a special unique crown, he decides he needs to find out more about the weapon and what they want to use it for. This opens the door for Xander and Bone to work together in trying discovering what the evil Demon prince is planning. What follows is a fascinating story, as we follow Bone and Xander, as well as the many members of the rebels determined to fight and defeat the demons. It was great to spend time with Dommiel, Anya, George, Kat as they teamed up with Bone & Xander. There are a number of times when they were in all in dangerous situations, which had us on the edge of our seats. Most of all, I really enjoyed seeing both Xander and Bone begin to fall hard for each other; as their chemistry was off the wall, hotter than hell. ;) As Xander pulls her into his world, Bone begins to change and learn to feel love with Xander, as well as knowing she needs to step up and take a side…helping the humans against the demons. Hardest Fall was a heart stopping, pulse pounding, action packed, intense exciting thriller that I was unable to put the book down, but it was the love between Xander and Bone, as well as the wonderful secondary characters that made this story so good. I do not want to give spoilers, as you really need to read this series and anything by Juliette Cross. Hardest Fall was fantastic story set in a post-apocalyptic world of Demons, Humans, and Angels, as well as pulling on our emotions throughout. As always, thank you Juliette Cross for another sensational story which never fails to wow us.
The apocalypse has never been so appealing nor has it been as exciting as it is in this newest Dominion novel. Bone and Xander are two strong, captivating characters that demand readers’ attention as they try to get along long enough to discover just what the demon prince, Rook is up to. Their mission however is hampered by the sizzling chemistry that burns hot between them and which readers can feel flowing from the pages as Bone struggles to remain indifferent and neutral which has lots of turbulent emotions flowing throughout this rocking romance. The fast pace of this story ensures that readers remain glued to the pages as the thrilling suspense builds and adrenaline pumping action draws readers deeper into this exciting and dangerously alluring apocalyptic world. There is certainly never a dull moment to be found as surprising twists keep everyone hopping and exciting events takes readers on a thrill ride as Bone and Xander set off to kill a demon or three and possibly save the world as they know it. This series is a brilliantly creative world of a war between angels and demons in an apocalyptic setting that readers can easily imagine, so beware that reading this story will take readers on an exciting journey from neutral territory, to the light side and the dark side, on stage and to a masquerade ball that readers don’t want to miss.
4.75 stars--HARDEST FALL is the second instalment in Juliette Cross’ post-apocalyptic, dystopian DOMINION fantasy, romance series focusing on the fight for control and power- the Great War- between Heaven and Hell. This is demoness/former seraph Bone, and demon Xander’s story line. HARDEST FALL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Bone was first introduced in book one-Darkest Heart. Told from dual first person perspectives (Xander and Bone) HARDEST FALL follows the building relationship between demoness/former seraph Bone, and demon Xander, and the ongoing war between Heaven and H*ll. Bone, the former angel, has an affinity to metal, and as such, is the creator of some of the most specialized weapons in the war between Heaven and H*ll but as a former Seraph, Bone also has a gift of song that heals, as well as influences those she wants to control. When high demon Dommiel brings a broken and battered demon into her private lair, Bone is asked to help save the life of the man with whom she will fall in love. Enter Xander, aka Alexander Godfrey the once human rake of Victorian England, and a demon who sides with the Angels and the human resistance fighters known as the Twelvers. What ensues is the building romance and relationship between Xander and Bone, and the potential fall-out as Bone is commanded (or forced) to build a secret weapon for demon Prince Rook, a weapon whose power could destroy them all. The relationship between Xander and Bone finds our hero falling for the demoness that calls to his heart. Bone refuses to take sides in a war between Heaven and H*ll but a war that pushes our heroine to side with the man she loves, and the people he will die to protect. The Sex scenes are intimate and passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. HARDEST FALL is a story of good vs evil; Heaven vs H*ll; love vs hate. Bone and Xander struggle with sins of the past, sin that resulted in the demonic changes to our leading couple. The premise is inviting, complex and intense; the romance is seductive and spicy; the characters are sassy, spirited, playful and strong. Juliette Cross pulls the reader into a captivating, thought-provoking and thrilling ride between angels and demons, and the people they love.
The moment I laid eyes on the Hardest Fall, my fate was sealed. I was going to devour this book and never look back. Bone is a character from the first book Darkest Heart. All you really know is she’s always alone, creating weapons for either side. Because she didn’t choose a side, that was her thing, no one was going to tell her what to do and that's it. That of course, is until Xander practically lands in her lap aka table. There’s so much about this story that’s brilliant. It captivated me from the start. The raw, gritty details of the apocalypse. But even in that, way deep down there was the hope, love, and light that they all needed. I don’t want to go into too much detail about Bone. It’s a heartbreaking one that I think she should tell you herself. And Xander, oh boy, hello? This guy is a Demon Hunter that’s sexy as H*ll. This story practically had everything you would want. There’s that vulnerability that these two share. That tear down the walls that they’ve built. To protect themselves. I mean it is an apocalypse, who can you trust? I connected to both characters, and I laughed with them, I teared up as they spoke of their past and cheered as they fought the darkness that threatened to swallow them whole. The vision that Cross has for this series, I’m on for this ride. It’s a captivating series that will have entranced till the end. Overall, Five Boundless Stars.
4++ “Heaven had nothing on my bedroom at night” Stars You know how good is this story? I need the next installment in the series ASAP, I don’t care what Ms. Cross has to do, even if means she has to become a hermit and abandon her family and friends for as long as it takes to get it written. That’s how good Hardest Fall and the Dominion series is. I strongly suggest reading Darkest Heart first as the overarching story and the whole world where our story takes place is set up there. Actually, the Dominion series is a spinoff or sequel to The Vessel Trilogy (which I haven’t gotten a chance to read yet but it’s up there in my TBR), but I didn’t have any problems understanding how this apocalyptic world works. Now, this one had a bit of a slower start for me. With the level of kick-***-ness that Bone is, I was expecting this to pretty much hit the ground running, especially after the very first chapter. And although it took me a bit to get into the groove of the story, it soon picked up its pace and I was in battle-action heaven. Bone was an epic leading demoness. She had grit, sass and a fierceness that I totally adored. I especially loved to witness her surrendering the walls she had erected around her heart… and we had Xander to thank for that. Xander was sexy, charismatic, charming and alpha enough to butt heads with Bone. Granted, he acted somewhat jerkishly in the beginning but all things considered; he was pretty timely in getting his head out of his behind and realizing what he felt for her. Now, as much as I loved Xander and the insanely hot chemistry he shared with Bone, I can’t say he surpassed Dommiel as my favorite… he’s a really hard act to follow. But I can’t deny he gave a really good fight… With lots of action, intrigue, battles and the hottest sex, Hardest Fall had everything I was waiting for. The story just keeps getting more and more interesting and I can’t wait to see how it’ll all unfold. With so many fascinating characters I just can’t decide whose story I’m hoping for next! *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
I absolutely adore this Dominion series & was looking forward to Bone & Xander in Hardest Fall. It certainly didn’t disappoint with the feisty Bone opening up to tell her story with some surprises & the same with the background to Xander. It brought back the Demon Twin Princes from the previous book who are menacing from the start & have been connected to Bone in the past. The storyline was compelling bringing them together, making then choose sides in the apocalyptic battle & forging new alliances. This is a well deserved 5 stars & I will now have to go back to the real world until the next book.
Holy Heaven and Hades! I’ve loved every book in this series but I never expected to fall so deeply into this one! In the previous books we’ve been introduced to both Bone and Xander and I was curious to see what the future would hold for these characters. I never imagined they would each have such dark, painful backgrounds. While Xander seemed more adjusted to his past, he still needed to share it with someone he could trust and he found that in Bone. As for Bone, she was hiding from her past as well as the present and pretty much refusing to face the future. Remaining in neutral territory she thought she could stay unaffected. But that was before she healed the demon hunter’s heart. There was just so much goodness to this story! Everything evolved in smooth even strokes, the writing absolutely exquisite as Ms. Cross led us through the journey these characters faced as not only individuals but as a couple. With layer upon layer we bear witness to the healing power of friends, of companionship, of being needed, and of most especially of love. Gah! This story just wrapped itself around my heart and squeezed. I felt completely connected to Xander and Bone and despite the fantasy of the story, it felt realistic for the world they were living in. Hardest Fall is a fast paced read with lots of action as well as some devious machinations that was truly the only cause for angst, and even that was not between this hero and heroine. The chemistry sizzled every time Xander and Bone were together and while the smexy times were intense, it never took over the story. It was just another layer of this couple’s journey. We get to see all the previous players as they continue to fight the fight but now we’re seeing them in more established roles and relationships that caused me to sigh with pleasure even as I swooned a time or two at Dommiel. I’m highly recommending this one to anyone who likes a paranormal apocalyptic read. You’re going to love every one of these characters as well as their stories.
"Hardest Fall" is a paranormal romance about Bone and Xander. Bone is a demon who was formerly a Seraph who fell from grace. She now forges powerful weapons in the apocalypse for all sides- she is neutral in the waging war between humans and demons. The book begins with a bang, when Xander is brought to her on the brink of death to be healed. He is a demon hunter, but Bone still feels a pull to him and her song responds, healing him. Once he is healed and wakes up in her bed (alone), Xander witnesses some of the demons ruling London, Rook and his brother, have asked her to forge a special crown, which could allow them to control the wearer. Determined to maintain her neutrality, Bone is considering her options. Xander attempts to get her on his and humanity's side, pointing out that such a weapon would not be part of her neutral pact. As Xander and Bone work together and with the other hunters to figure out what Rook is up to, they also learn more about each other and a romance grows. While I found the story intriguing and enjoyed the main plot, I did feel like I was missing some big pieces of the world building. Notably, I did not read the first book, so I am assuming readers learned more about this apocalyptic world in that book. I would have liked a recap in this book regardless. We also know both Bone and Xander have a heavy past, but it takes a long time for the reveal, and by then, it almost seemed late, as it was harder to care, because of all they are doing in the present. I would have personally liked more information earlier in the story. In terms of the romance, this was pretty strong with an immediate connection but slower to physical action (though not too slow). The connection is built with several conversations and reveals. The overall story was really fascinating, and I would have enjoyed more time learning about this new world and the demons who run it as well as the powers of these varied creatures. I assume this will keep coming out through future books in the series, and I would definitely be interested in reading more. Overall, it's a solid paranormal romance, and I will be curious to see how this series evolves over time. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
HARDEST FALL by Juliette Cross is book Two in the Dominion Series. This is the story of Bone and Xander. I haven't yet read the previous book, so for me this was a standalone book. Bone has fallen from grace but is making her way alone in the world taking neither side of the on going post-apocalyptic war, building weapons for any who pays the highest price. Keeping to herself and her secrets has gotten her this far, but when a man who is near death is brought to her to heal..a choice is to be made. Xander is a demon hunter who is healed by Bone and starts to draw her to his side. But of course their path isn't a easy one which just leads to the excitement of this book. Loved it and such a big fan of Ms. Cross's writing...always will recommend her books
Book 1 and now 2 in the Dominion series are my first taste of this authors work and I have to mention that the biggest take I've gotten, is how vivid the scenes are written. The detail in which the author has brought this paranormal world alive has me wishing to see this made into a movie. Right from the start the action is on and doesn't stop until the end. There are battles that involve angels, demons, demon hunters and even humans. I like that the author doesn't make the good and the bad as black and white. Some demons are evil, some are fighting for good. It makes for an interesting mix of characters. I love Bone's character. She's a fierce woman that may have lost her way but not her honor. Her past with Rook brought an intensity to the story. With the tremendous power he holds and how cruel he is, I really couldn't wait to see how Bone and Xander were going to defeat him. What I liked about Xander was how he was relentless in his pursuit of Bone. He knew she had so much good in her that he was determined to pull her off the sidelines and to fight for their cause. It wasn't always about the cause though. He knew she was meant for him, it didn't matter that she was a demoness and he was a demon hunter. There are many great side characters in this series and I have my fingers crossed for Uriel and Maximus to have their own story. There is just enough mystery around them that I'm super intrigued.
Hardest Fall is book two in the Dominion series by Juliette Cross. I have been reading Juliette’s books since she published her very first book. Every book is a new experience, a new journey. I have been so looking forward to Xander’s story and it was everything I could have imagined. Xander, who is George’s cousin, is a demon hunter. In true Juliette Cross form, the book starts out right out of the gate grabbing you. Xander has been severely hurt in a battle. George and Dommiel are desperate to save him and take him to Bone, who in the previous book, helped to heal Dommiel’s arm. Bone is a maker of weapons. She can forge any metal into the deadliest of weapons. She used to be a Seraph but fell from grace. She now considers herself neutral in this apocalyptic war. She will sell to the humans trying to rebel against the demons that have taken over the world. Or she will sell to the demons as well. As long as they can pay her price. She doesn’t want to help save this hunter. Even though he is nearly dead, she can feel the pull to him and that alone should tell her that she needs to stay away. But she does save him. And thus begins the journey of Bone and Xander. “She wasn’t truly lost, just frozen in her walled off field of neutrality. Well, I was about to break down her walls and show her what I thought of her bloody plea to paint her world black.” At the same time, the demon prince Rook and his brother Simian, are on a quest for power. Rook wants a very special weapon forged with the essence of both he and his brother. Such a weapon will have unmeasured strength to do horrible things. Bone and Xander need to figure out what Rook needs this for. Xander shows Bone what life is like for the resistance. He shows her that there is still love, laughter and hope. “You’re not meant for the lonely darkness.” “What am I meant for?” “Me.” As Xander and Bone work together with Dommiel, Anya, George and Kat to figure out what sinister plan Rook is up to, their bond becomes stronger, their walls begin to crumble, and Bone begins to realize what she has been denying herself all these centuries. “It matters little who touched you first, because I, darling, will be the last.” “This man, this demon hunter, was meant for me. And I was meant for him.” This was a crazy, wild, beautiful ride. Bone was a strong, independent warrior and I loved watching her rediscover her heart. This book had some of the sweetest moments, some sexy times, and some nail biting, edge of your seat, intense scenes. All I can say is wow, what an ending! You could read this as a stand alone. There is enough information given to be able to understand this world. But, I do believe that you would enjoy it so much more and have a stronger connection to the other characters if you started at the beginning. There is so much awesomeness that you just don’t want to miss! The archangel Uriel will get his story in the finale of this series, Coldest Fire. I can’t wait! “I mended that man’s heart. Then he awoke. And he mended mine.”