Once a heart is lost in shadow . . .
Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case-and the last thing he relishes is a partner.
Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.
Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years.
He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights-even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past . . . or risk losing Mary forever.
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The Darkest London Series: Book 4
By Kristen Callihan
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2013 Kristen Callihan
All rights reserved.
Four Years Later—London, November 1885
Pulling the hood of her billowing black cloak farther over her head, Mary Chase wove through the mass of humanity that made up London. The November eve was crisp and clear, and her breath left in soft puffs of white. A vermilion-and-gold sky hovered above, a rarity here where fog usually held dominance over everything and everyone. Against the brilliant canopy of dusk, the dome of St. Paul's was bleak and grey, flanked in silhouette by the cathedral's smaller spires.
Traffic became a crush as she made her way along Ludgate Hill, reaching the circus. Omnibuses, carriages, pigs, cattle, and drays fought for space on the road, while hawkers, clerks, newsboys, homemakers, and pickpockets fought for space on the walkways. A perfect place to become lost. At least Mary hoped so. It was essential that she not be followed. Her position within the SOS depended upon stealth and secrecy.
A stew of excitement and anxiety thickened within her. She had a feeling that tonight she would finally get her chance to prove herself. For nearly two years she'd worked as assistant to Poppy Lane, otherwise known as Mother, leader of the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, or the SOS. But Mary wanted more. A chance to work on an actual case, to be out in the field with other regulators, agents of the SOS. For, as a certain obnoxious and arrogant regulator had been quick to point out, the ones in the field were at the forefront of danger. And although Mary was trained, she'd yet to be tested.
Mary sidestepped a group of boys hanging on the railing at the base of the Waithman obelisk and then passed a boardman advertising Collingworth's Cigarillos for the Improvement of Asthmatical Ailments. A hollow whistle lowed, and the ground beneath her feet trembled as a great steamer rumbled over the causeway and into the station beyond. Right on time. For once.
Thick black smoke rolled down to the masses, and Mary's mouth filled with the bitter taste of burnt coal. Using the cover of smoke, she rushed toward the overpass, and in the confusion of pedestrians hurrying along, she pulled her cloak off, quickly bunching it up. She emerged on the other side, no longer a young woman wearing a long cloak, but an old grandmother, white-haired and hunched, leaning on a cane for support. Traffic flowed around her as she hobbled along, her massive dress swaying about her small frame. Slowly now.
Just before the looming cathedral, Mary joined a cluster of vendors, the scents of meat pies, hot buns, and coffee making her mouth water. She slipped a bob into the hand of one crone selling muffins, then, quick as a cat, ducked behind the wide cart. In a flash she was a lean and spry youth, her step light, her hair out of sight beneath her cap.
Mary chuffed as she skipped along, losing herself in the crowd once again before slipping into a tavern on the heels of a man doing the same. The odor of sweat, spirits, and tallow mingled. Few spoke here, and if so it was to mutter for more drink. Keeping her gaze roving, she headed for the back room. The door opened easily.
"'Bout time you showed," snapped a male voice as she sat down at the small table obscured in shadows.
Mary didn't bother with a reply. An annoyed huff followed, and the man leaned forward, moving out of the darkness. He was handsome, well formed, and well dressed. Quite lovely really. Mary scowled.
"You are foolish, Mercer, to choose that identity." Mary didn't know whose it was, but based on the cut of the suit Mercer wore, she gathered that the poor fellow had been wealthy. It was a tricky business for a demon to take over the life of another. Harder still when the person lived in the public sphere.
Mercer sneered. "I'll have you know that this form gets me into more places than you'll ever creep." An ugly gleam lit his blue eyes. "And more beds."
She swallowed down a shiver of disgust. How many women were lured by this false front, having no notion of what they truly bedded? "And they'll all remember you too. Hard to miss, wearing such a fancy skin. Your vanity will see you dead one day. Which is no concern of mine." She shrugged. "Save when you are dealing with me. You get caught, and it will be my pleasure to strip you of that skin." The demon had been an excellent informant to her over the years, but she didn't have to like him.
Mercer's handsome lips twisted, and for a small moment his irises flickered mustard yellow. "Mayhaps others will be wanting the information I have. I'm thinking I might sell to the highest—" He yelped as her knife slammed into the table with a thud.
Mercer's gaze drifted down to the sharp point lodged between his pale fingers. Mary looked only at him. "Do you know how a GIM ties a cravat, Mercer?"
He pressed his lips together.
She leaned in a bit, picking up the noxious scent of sulfur and smoke. Bloody foul raptor demons. Mary's voice was a blade in the thick air. "We make a nice, deep cut here"—she pointed toward his throat—"so that we might pull your tongue out as far as it will go before we wrap it about your neck."
Sweat pebbled along his noble brow but his yellow eyes glared. "You gonna flap your chaps all night? Or do you want to hear what I have to say?"
Mary sat back with a pleasant smile. "Talk."
His large hand lifted from the table. He made a show of adjusting the lapels of his stolen coat. "I gather you know the Bishop's been busy of late."
The so-called Bishop of Charing Cross was making quite the reputation for himself. First appearing in London in January of 1884, he'd started a sensation by leaving victims with their hearts ripped out, spines severed, and chests branded with a small cross. Their bodies were always found on the plinth of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square where it faced Charing Cross. A few eyewitnesses—of dubious credibility—claimed to have seen a man wearing long black robes fleeing the scene.
The newsboys, being the inventive sort, had dubbed the killer the Bishop of Charing Cross on account of the cross brand and the fact that the robes were similar to the cassocks worn by clergy.
So far he'd claimed five victims. Wealthy men, some titled, some not, all of them most thoroughly slaughtered. Only the SOS knew that the victims were, in truth, an assortment of raptor and sanguis demons. It was the duty of the SOS to both protect humans from supernatural harm and hide proof of supernatural involvement in the human world.
"We know," she said. "You'll have to do better than that."
Mercer's grin was evil and cold. "The Bishop made a wee mistake whilst doing his dirty business this last kill."
Mary did not move, but every muscle in her body tensed. "Go on."
Mercer paused, waiting, his expression said, for her to show a bit of good faith. Mary tapped her thigh, and the unmistakable jingle of coin rang out. Satisfied, he looked about for a moment, then leaned in close, bringing with him the scent of rotting onions and perfumed pomade. "I was there when he left his victim out in the open."
Mary stilled. "You saw him?"
Mary watched the demon. "Risky of you."
"Don't I know it, love." He paled then. "I'm thinking if the wind were not on my side, I might not be here now to share my good fortune."
Her heart began to whir. "He could scent you?" Most supernaturals had an elevated sense of smell, but some had a more refined sense than others.
Mercer's long finger tapped the scarred table. "The question you ought to be asking, love, is how much does this information mean to you?"
Her smile was slow and thin. She worked it, letting him feel the menace behind it. Two years of training to be a regulator had taught her many things, especially how to wield information like a whip. "Ah, now, Mercer. I already have valuable knowledge, do I not?"
His brows lowered, and she whispered on. "Information that might slip out, carry on the wind where anyone might hear. Such as how you know the identity of the Bishop—"
"Hold your tongue!" He made to grab her hand.
Mary's knife was under the table in an instant. She pressed the blade in deep enough for him to feel. "No, you hold. There are a lot of soft bits here that you might miss, Mercer."
Fangs shot out as he growled. "You don't fight fair no more, Chase."
"More's the pity for you." Mary had wearied of playing it clean. It got her nowhere with the dregs she worked amongst.
"Pay me and I'll tell you."
She didn't move. "If you play me false, I will find you."
"Understood." He raised one brow, prompting her to act. "Now hurry up, I've an assignation with a plump and wealthy widow."
Mary quelled her disgust. A bag of coins hit the table.
Mercer licked his lips. "You won't have to look far for your Bishop, love." He grinned then, his eyes alight with cruel mischief. "He's been right under your nose the whole time. Might even call him an SOS favorite."
Dread pulled at Mary's spine. "Name."
"You know it well." His words seemed to slow, growing more distinct, and suddenly Mary did not want to hear them. But they came regardless, ruining her evening and instantly making her life that much worse. "Mr. Jack Talent."
Later that night, in another part of town—
The moon hung bright over Trafalgar Square, lending the vast space a dreamlike quality in which shadows danced beneath the monuments and fountain pools gleamed with silver effervescence. A soft wind ghosted low over the pavers, kicking up dust and bits of rubbish.
The hour turned and, in the distance, Big Ben chimed. Clean, resonant notes of the Westminster quarters rolled over London, a soothing lullaby, a musical constant that had heralded life, death, and all that came between. With a steady dong, dong, dong, the hours rang out. As the last note faded, the night watch strolled along Charing Cross and called the hours.
"One o'clock and all is well!"
Save all was not well.
Scurrying along the dark alleyways where only the desperate or despot dared tread was a raptor demon. A foul creature who fed on misery and pain, the demon had his pick of nourishment in London. Tonight's clear skies and crisp weather promised that plenty of London's populace would be out and about, just waiting to be pulled into the darkness. An excellent night for hunting.
Only he was not the sole hunter out for blood. And as he followed the night-bobby, intent upon making a small meal out of the copper, death followed.
His stalker growled low in his throat, a sound so soft that the demon remained unaware. Ironic, thought the hunter, that serving up death was the only time he truly felt alive. A rage began to boil within his veins and pull his skin tight. So tight that he barely felt the cold November air bite at his exposed cheeks. The very stink of the demon he followed made his nostrils pinch and his insides pitch. How well he knew this one's foul stench.
The bobby stopped, perhaps feeling a thread of danger. After looking about, his handlebar mustache quivering in the breeze, he slipped into a tavern.
Thwarted, but not for long, the raptor turned down a dark corridor, and the hunter followed him. The lively song of a fiddle danced along the cobbles and on its heels came the laughter of men. They were gathered at the very end of the lane, hunched over a fire barrel. The raptor paused and smiled as if savoring the moment. The hunter savored it too, letting the hate within him grow. And then he attacked, slamming into the unsuspecting demon and dragging him into the deepest part of an alley.
Glowing yellow eyes glared back, fangs bared in a hiss. The hunter stalked forward, letting the raptor see him, take a good look at death. And the raptor's eyes went wide, his grey skin going sickly white beneath the moonlight.
"I see you know me." The hunter's voice was whisper-soft and ice-cold, even while his body grew, tearing at the seams of his coat. Fangs slid over his bottom lip, and his fingertips throbbed under the weight of his long claws. The shift was always the same, taking on the form in which death would best be delivered.
A calculating gleam lit the raptor's eyes. "Oh, yes. I'd say I know you well. Tasty blood you have, young lad."
Raptors never were very intelligent. Like a whip, the hunter lashed out. His claws sliced into the demon's gut and shot up, under the ribs, to grasp the hot, beating heart within. The demon screamed, his body bowing, his eyes rolling back.
Holding his prize tight, the hunter hauled his catch up close. "Say my name."
The raptor's bottom lip quivered. Just once before he spoke up. "Talent."
Jack Talent gave the foul heart a squeeze. "Again."
"Talent! Talent!" The demon writhed in his grip, unable to fight back or get away now that Jack held his heart fast.
A cool calm settled over Jack, easing the pain within him, if only for a moment, and he smiled grimly. "Wanted it to be my name on your lips when I sent you to hell." And then he ripped the raptor's heart out.
Washed in blood, Jack leaned down and severed the demon's spine, and the light died in the demon's eyes.
Peace ebbed away before the body even cooled. But Jack knew peace would never truly be his until they all died. Throwing the body over one shoulder, he made his way to Trafalgar Square.
Not a soul stirred as he came upon Nelson's Column. There he would leave the body, just as he had all the others. But as he moved closer, and the moonlight illuminated the spot before the plinth, his breath stopped and his blood stilled. A body already lay there.CHAPTER 2
It was inevitable that Jack be called into headquarters. The Bishop of Charing Cross had struck the night before. Murder was nothing new in London. Strange ones of a public nature, however, were another matter. Jack had been the regulator in charge of this particular case for a year now, a blight on his otherwise stellar record. This time a shifter had been murdered. As one of five—make that four now—known shifters living in London, he took it personally. Having intimate knowledge of certain facts, Jack was also unnerved by this new murder. Deeply. And he wanted answers.
Cool shadows slid over him as he strode down the long, echoing corridor that led from the SOS common rooms to the main meeting area. Headquarters was full of regulators updating their intelligence before going out. He did not like being around them, or anyone. Not that he had to worry on that account. The others steered clear of him, their eyes averted and their bodies tense. Fear he could handle, hell welcome, but pity?
One younger agent lowered her lashes when he passed, and a growl rumbled in his throat. She started and hurried off. Rightly so. No telling what sort of beast would break free should he lose his temper. Not even he knew. That was the way of a shifter, not owned by a single monster but possessed by all. He was everything, and he was nothing in particular. In truth, being a regulator was the only certain and good thing in Jack's life.
At the end of the black marble hall, a guard stood beside a massive steel door. He saw Jack coming and swiftly opened it.
"Master Talent," said the guard, "they are waiting for you."
He was precisely on time and the director was already waiting? And what did the guard mean by "they"? His meeting was to be with the director. Who the bloody devil would be here—
Her scent slammed into him like a punch. And what little equanimity he'd maintained flew out the door. Oh, no, no, no ... they wouldn't dare. He eyed the inner wood door that blocked him from the meeting room. She was in there.
His muscles clenched tight as he forced himself to enter.
"Ah, Master Talent," said Director Wilde from the head of the table. "Right on time. Excellent. Let us proceed." His clipped voice was unusually animated, as if he knew Jack's displeasure at the unexpected third person in the room and reveled in it. Which wouldn't be surprising. Wilde loved to keep regulators on their toes.
Jack heard every word, but his gaze moved past the director and locked on her. Mary Chase sat at Wilde's right, serene and ethereal as ever. Her face was a perfect replica of Botticelli's Venus, and her body ... no, he wouldn't think about that. It was one rule he refused to break. He never, ever, thought too long on Mary Chase.
Mary Chase would have liked to think that, after years of being on the receiving end of Jack Talent's hateful glare, she'd be immune to it by now. Unfortunately it still worked through her flesh like a lure, hooking in tight and tugging at something deep within her. One look and she wanted to jump from her chair and hit him. However, knowing that he found her presence bothersome gave her some small satisfaction.
Excerpted from Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan. Copyright © 2013 Kristen Callihan. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing.
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
Kristen Callihan, known for her contemporary sports and rocker romances like The VIP and Game On series also writes a paranormal romance series called Darkest London. This series, set in, yes, a very dark Victorian London is part steam punk and part paranormal and this world is filled with all sorts of supernatural beings. Our heroine Mary Chase is a GIM (Ghosts in the Machine), one who has chosen at death to live for eternity as long as that heart keeps whirring. Mary is an agent of the SOS (Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals) and has been paired with shifter Jack Talent to solve some gruesome murders by the Bishop of Charing Cross. We met Mary and Jack in the previous novel Winterblaze, and they hated each other with a capital H. Determined to do her job, Mary tries her best to investigate with Jack who is an obnoxious beast, literally. As their investigation continues, Mary finds out some disturbing things about both Jack and the investigation. Despite these danger signs she’s somehow drawn to Jack even though he is obnoxious and rude. I am a huge fan of this series, but Shadowdance is one of my least favorite books so far. The first three books featuring sisters Miranda, Daisy and Poppy were so cohesive, that this book felt like a throwaway. Don’t get me wrong the world building was great and this novel sets the scene for the next book, but when it feels like that’s the raison d’etre, it’s just not as enjoyable. These two characters seriously hated each other and even though I could feel the swing from hate to love, it seemed a little forced on Mary’s part. Jack was just too distraught and disturbed to be “saved” and his love felt too desperate. However, there is an underlining story that runs through these books so don’t skip it! It wasn’t horrible just not as good as the first three books. The set up for the couple in the next book was awesome and is needed to move forward in the series. ❤️❤️❤️❣️
The two main characters are so richly drawn out and depicted in this story, especially Jack. We met Jack in Ian and Daisy's book. He was Ian's smart mouthed valet with impeccable fashion sense. He was also the man violently tortured in Winston and Poppy's book. From the get go he and Mary Chase have been explosive together. They can't stand the sight of each other. In this book, they are forced to partner up to solve a serial murder case that Jake hasn't been able to solve on his own. I won't go into details about said case or Mary's other purposes for working with Jack, but needless to say, their story was explosive from beginning to end. The conflict and villain were super good (I know, not eloquently phrased but it fits--it was super good). The plot and the pace at which their relationship blooms and grows was great; they actually don't come together till very close to the end but man the story and passion are not lacking due to the late development of them coming together. Jack is such a complex character and Callihan does a superb job dropping hints about who he is without giving too much away. His character builds steadily and beautifully. Mary Chase is a great addition to the Darkest London scene and I enjoyed her in her small role in Ian and Daisy's book and her slightly bigger role in Poppy and Winston's book. But she doesn't truly come into being until she sets out to rescue Jack from his torture. At that moment, you know there is more to them than hate. In this book, she is strong and fights for what she wants but she also does not beg for a man's attention, and Jack has to fight to win her trust and love. This book, I think, I have to say is my favorite in the series. Loved every page and every detail.
Received the captivating, passionate free goodreads paranormal story Shadowdance (Book 4 in the Darkest London Series) by Kristen Callihan. Mary Chase has been given the investigation of the serial killer the Bishop of Charing Cross, but she has to work with another investigator who is already on the case and would rather work alone, Jack Talent. Mary and Jack's relationship is one in which the last person either would ever want to work with is each other. As Mary and Jack battle to overcome horrible past memories, their passion and attraction toward each other grows. The serial killer's means of murder changes to not only include demons but shifters and other supernaturals as well. Mary and Jack realize that the only way to stop the evil being is to work together. Read the recommended wonderfully, thrilling, paranormal romance of Mary and Jack in Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan.
Kristen Callihan is a very talented writer. While I enjoyed the prior three books in the series, this one was too dark and convoluted for me.
Kristen Callihan is back with the 4th installment in the Darkest London Series. This time we branch out a bit from the usual Ellis family members to some "adopted" members of the family--GIM (Ghost in the Machine) Mary Talent and shifter (or is he?) Jack Talent. Both characters are part of the previous volumes in the series, so fans of the series have already been introduced to them. In Darkest London #3, Jack had a horrific, traumatizing, and life-altering experience at the hands of demons. He is now consumed with revenge and has shut everyone who loves him out of his life. Mary Chase has been through trauma of her own. For years these two have detested one another (or have they?), and now they find themselves partnered on a chase for the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals to hunt down a vicious serial killer. Can they refrain from killing one another long enough to focus on the case? And what if one of them is the main suspect? I have enjoyed all of this series and look forward to the next one to come out in 2014, Evernight. (The end of Shadowdance sets up quite nicely for Evernight, of course.) I have waited quite a while for this one to come out, so my memory of reading the other volumes isn't the freshest, but I don't think I quite enjoyed Shadowdance as much as the others. I just don't think I connected with Jack and Mary the way I did with Poppy, Miranda, and Daisy.
Callihan does it again, pinning me to the page with her impeccable world building, incredible characters, and breath-catching romances.
Two wondrously developed characters who are struggling with mental and physical wounds from horrendous pasts come clashing together in Shadowdance. Mary Chase has been making a life for herself with the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals. Her only torment is Jack Talent, a difficult, wounded agent that she saved from being a blood whore. A new revelation in an on going case reveals Jack might be their culprit, Mary requests to join Jack's investigation to find the proof she needs. What she never expected was the bond they share. Jack Talent's psyche might be damaged beyond repair. He yearns for revenge on those who used him and fed on him. When he is paired with Mary his tenuous hold on himself is tested beyond his limits. He has always yearned for Mary but holds a secret that can destroy them both. Kristen Callihan out did herself in Shadowdance. This extremely dark world explodes across the pages and sucks you in. Mechanical men, demons and creatures of the night haunt the historical London streets. Brilliantly written, the love/hate relationship between Jack and Mary builds to a crescendo that balances on trust. We are kept on the edge of our seats till the end and left wanting more. Shadowdance immerses your senses into the fabulously imagined world of Callihan's creation. I didn't want the story to end and was only teased by the possibilities to come. I received this ARC copy of Shadowdance from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication December 17, 2013.
4.5 Stars ~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog The Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan has quickly become one of my favorites. There’s something to be said about Callihan’s imagination. There are no boundaries with her, no feat to difficult to accomplish. With larger than life characters, Callihan breathes passion and life into each individual, making it so easy for readers to fall in love with them. Jack Talent has had a difficult past. But his blood is the most sought after thing in London at the moment. With a murderer on the loose, he is paired up with Mary Chase, his one-time savior and is reminded of all that was bad that happened to him. As he fights those memories – and his attraction to the feisty GIM- Chase and Talent find a camaraderie of sorts and this is probably more frightening to Talent than the mechanical men and the various demons lurking the night. There is no other way to say this so I will tell it straight – SHADOWDANCE is brilliantly written. Incredible pacing, elegant writing and perfect timing with those twists and gut-wrenching turns make this book a wild ride that was so fun to experience. It takes true talent in a writer to be able to accomplish this time and time again, and Callihan manages to hit it right every single time. For fans of the Infernal Devices or Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series, trust me when I say this is a series you need to read. Even if you’re tired of Historical or Paranormals, Callihan’s series is a refreshingly vibrant gem in a well-loved genre. *ARC provided by publisher
Dark, romantic, and thrilling, Shadowdance was a fantastic steampunk romance. The creepy demons of mysterious murders had chills going down my spine, while the romance dark, sweet, and steamy. I really enjoyed reading this book. Mary was a strong heroine. She wasn't the type to sit and wait around. She fought for what she believed in and what she wanted. She was tough, brave, clever, and likable. I thought she was great. Jack was also amazing. He had one hell of a dark past, not the least of which was what he suffered at the hands of bloodthirsty demons. He quite understandably wanted revenge, but even with all that anger and bitterness, he wasn't corrupted. He was still a good, sweet man at heart, one who was determined to protect those he loved. I adored him. He was just wonderful. The romance was great. Despite the years of animosity between these two, you didn't have to dig deep before their real feelings were revealed. I thought that is was so sweet how, despite everything they still loved each other. And, the chemistry between them was hot, from the moment they met (even though they refused to act on it until much later). There were certainly some hot scenes in store. The plot was well paced. Though I was hooked for most of the way through, there were some points where things started to drag a bit. But, then the story would pick back up, so it wasn't a huge problem. There were tons of thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat, and some dark secrets that I never saw coming. I really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was perfect. Shadowdance was a brilliant steampunk romance. It was dark, romantic, and full of shocking secrets. I loved every bit of it. Lovers of romance, if you want a dark and lovely read, this is your book. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
This romance has been two books in the making. And thank goodness it was worth the wait. Shadowdance continues in the footsteps of the rest of the Darkest London series, giving us a wonderfully fascinating and dark story. The Scenario; Jack Talent, shifter, and Mary Chase, GIM (Ghost in a Machine!) are forced to work to together as agents of the SOS to find the serial killer known as The Bishop of Charing Cross. By now, Jack and Mary have a history and quite the rivalry. At first the murder seemed like a pretty open-shut case, but than things start to change and it becomes even more dangerous with the killer attack the elusive shifters and suddenly revelations (of both the secret type and heart) are realized. Callihan weaves in a great paranormal murder mystery story that definitely had me wanting more with it’s dark and dangerous undertones. The story was well paced and had me thoroughly invested. The Romance; This attraction between Mary and Jack has been simmering on the back-burner for a while, but now it’s time for the main course and damn is it delicious. I loved watching their relationship progress. Especially as the friction between them sets of some sparks. And oh do the sparks fly (underlying attraction and tension (of the steamy sort) will do that to you). Suddenly it ignites a whole slew of wonderfully adorable and sweet moments that definitely had me swooning a bit. The secret heated looks, the bantering, the teasing, the little stolen moments, the realizations were a perfect build-up to fireworks. “A kiss,” he said “is a conversation.” Easing closer, he continued to speak as he caressed her cheeks with featherlight strokes of his thumbs. “A first kiss” – his lips neared hers- “is an introduction” And then his mouth brushed against hers. The contact sparked, sharp and bright like lighting. Yet his lips soft, unexpectedly so. Her breath caught the same instant his did. Against her mouth he whispered. “That was hello.” Jack and Mary are definitely the highlight of this book. The fact is I adore Jack. Jack was so broken, that I just want to give him some hot coco and a big hug. It totally breaks my heart and definitely breaks Mary’s. He makes himself a totally worthy hero. I adore Mary too, she’s so adorable but also confident and strong. Watching her realize how important Jack had become to her was so endearing. You I just wanted to root for Mary and Jack so badly to get their happy ending. They are the anti-thesis of insta-love, the epitome of the bicker your way to love couple and every moment was worth it for their happily ever after. She snuggled in closer, letting him curse, letting him pet and kiss her, Because Jack Talent, in all his imperfect glory, made her perfectly happy. Oh P.S. Kristen Callihan, you are killing me. MY GOSH THE SET UP FOR EVERNIGHT! Why do we have to wait?!!?!?!? /tears. Seriously, every book just gets better. I neeeeeeed to know.
Loved this one the best of the 4 so far and I liked the other 3 a lot!