Though I haven’t loved the Realm Enforcers books as much as the Dark Protectors series from which they came, I have to say that this third installment was definitely a bigger hit for me than the first two. That’s probably because –A– this heroine is every bit as badass as the hero and –B– the story feels much more tied into the original series and characters.
Rebecca Zanetti has been sprinkling in little teases about the romance between Simone and Nick for the past couple of books. Now, they’re finally the main event. It’s a second chance at love story for these two. They were supposed to be mated a century ago. But a prophet warned Nick that he must take another path or risk Simone dying from a plague only he could help prevent. It forced him to break her heart and live a dark life, but his sacrifices paid off. Now that he has fulfilled his mission, all he wants is another chance with the powerful witch he has loved a lifetime.
Simone has no intention of opening her heart to the man who so destroyed it all those years ago. But circumstances force Nick back into her life, and with him come all of those feelings she has worked so hard to tamp down. Someone has framed her for a crime she didn’t commit… one punishable by death. And if that weren’t enough, she can barely get to her trial date for all of the attempts on her life. Nick is there to keep her safe and help her mount her defense, all while pushing his way back into her heart.
I really enjoyed Simone. I loved her self confidence. I loved her strength and unapologetic nature. She is one of the most powerful witches in the realm and she knows it. She is secure in who she is, what she wants, and what she can do. She is Nick’s equal in every way, and it’s nice to see a power dynamic that is more balanced than in the previous books. Yes, Nick is still possessive and bossy (as these heroes always are) but Simone holds her own, and I never felt like he used her safety as an excuse to tell her what to do.
I do wish Nick would have tried more to make emotional amends, though. It felt like he expected Simone to just move on and accept that his actions in hurting her were necessary. And maybe they were. But the woman deserved a heartfelt apology. I wanted him to really make her understand how much he hurt at the same time she was hurting. It would have infused a bit more emotion into their reunion and would have made me feel for Nick in a way I just didn’t.
The danger plot ties in with the ongoing storylines about the planekite and someone plotting against the witches. But there was a lot of Zane time, as well as other core characters from the Dark Protectors who tied into Simone’s life and trial. There was even a cool sideplot with dragons and more revealed about Bear’s mysterious history.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, though still not to the extent I adored the original series. It looks like Adam and Tori’s story is ahead… though I am far more intrigued by Bear.
This book also contains a novella about Talen and Cara from Fated. Surprisingly, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did the novel. I would have expected to love it, since it’s a Dark Protectors novella, but it fell really flat for me. Basically, Talen and Cara are going on vacation when they run into trouble. Conveniently, this intersects with the story’s theme surrounding Talen’s dominant, protective nature that Cara both resists and is epically turned on by. It doesn’t really advance any story arc. But Talen and Cara fans may enjoy.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press