It’s been ages since I’ve read one of Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren books, but it all came rushing back as soon as I settled into the story. This book has been a long time coming. It was several books back that the evil Mathias kidnapped Anka from the home she shared with Lucan. He tortured her, raped her, and forced her to break her mate bond with the man she loved. When she finally escaped him, she had no memory of Lucan or their life together. She ran to her childhood sweetheart Shock for comfort and protection.
Breaking the mate bond drove Lucan insane. Though Anka eventually remembered him and cast a spell to help him heal, he still is not himself. He misses Anka but believes she has chosen Shock over him. And in a way, she has, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.
As this book begins, Anka is on a quest for vengeance. She wants to join the Doomsday Brethren to fight Mathias and repay him for all the things he took from her. The only way that the leader, Bram, will let her in, is if she agrees to train with Lucan. That, of course, makes it even harder to fight her old feelings.
So if he loves her and she loves him… why fight it? The short answer is that she thinks she is unworthy of him. Not just for what happened when she was with Mathias, but also because the trauma brought out some submissive needs from her in the bedroom. Shock has no problem meeting her dark desires, but she fears Lucan will never understand.
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of BDSM, but I felt like (with the notable exception of one scene with a whip toward the end) Lucan approached the issue with care and respect for Anka. So it didn’t bother me the way the genre so often does. What did bother me was Anka. Yes, she has been through a horrible ordeal. And it is not her fault that Mathias forced her to break her bond or that she forgot Lucan as a result. Yet I still felt like she jerked Shock and Lucan around in epic proportions. She made an unbearable situation even worse with her selfish behavior. This started long before her kidnapping. Poor Shock has been pulled around on a string for a century. True, he’s no gentle flower, but what Anka has done to him is not ok. Her ridiculous hang-ups about social status made me want to shake the stupid out of her. And as the story went on, she just made it worse and worse.
I actually did like the book in spite of Anka. Both Lucan and Shock are great characters. They held up the absurd triangle. In the meantime, there is great movement on the ongoing Mathias and Morganna storyline –with a very big ending.
Reading this reminded me why I like these books. Now I’m pining away for my boy Shock to find a HEA. And to let me in on some of his secrets. Like now.
*ARC provided by author for review
Embrace Me at Dawnby Shayla BlackRelease Date: May 29, 2012