Fourth in the Guardians paranormal romance series revolving around a group of former humans. People who sacrificed themselves to save another. The couple focus in this story is on Alice and Jake.
I had a difficult time getting involved in this story for about the first third, but I finally got involved and couldn’t put it down. This is the first time a Guardian has gone back to visit family and we eventually find out why it was so easy. There’s also a major reveal about Michael! Quite, quite shocking..! I certainly never saw it coming…ever. We also discover more about the origins of the nephilim and just why it is that Lucifer wanted them out of Hell. As well as Brook’s interpretation of how redemption works. Then, there’s the truth behind the fountain’s depth. Never saw that one coming either. The one loose thread is just how Zakril was betrayed when his so-called betrayer was already imprisoned… Then there’s the weak point with Anaria at the end. I don’t know if it was just Jake lashing out or…
Brook drew out the “tease” on Alice’s human background and slowly, at just the right speed, allowing the romance between Alice and Jake to blossom. At first, I couldn’t see why Jake would be attracted to Alice, but Brook finally reveals that as well and, it makes sense. A very nice endorsement of character being of greater import than looks. Or, how character changes how we see a person!
It’s growth for both Jake and Alice. Jake gains confidence in himself while Alice learns how to reinterpret society…and sex. She has been rejected so much and so often over the years that she takes everything wrong and acts out with some pretty gross images. Although, she is really good at shutting a man down…jesus… And Jake, ooh boy, Jake really does need to tighten up those filters on his mouth… You’d never believe he was sixty-some-years-old.
Oh, too funny…Jake lays out all the sexual fantasies he’s been having as he and Alice have been trudging through the deserted regions of Hell…and Alice is so not expecting to hear who stars in them! It’s a trudge that has all the time in the world for them as they reveal and speculate.
Alice is in a conundrum—the demon with whom she made the bargain is demanding its payment—Michael’s heart. She’s damned either way and she would much rather not deliver. Still, if there is any way around it…
Then she discovers a fellow Guardian who is also interested in temples, archeology, history. Perhaps, with his help, she can discover a way around her bargain.
And so their exploration of the disappearing temples begins. Sites appear and disappear without warning. At one, they witness “the most boring orgy, ever”. At another, they’re almost drowned. Yet, the temples serve their purpose…knowledge. Awareness of each other. A chance for friendship to bloom. And some damned scary adventures…!
It’s their escape from Hell that ratchets up the need to find more temples. The nephilim are hunting Anaria and the Guardians must find her first.
Alice Grey, a.k.a., the Black Widow, is a repressed Victorian lady who, as a Guardian, has retreated into the Archives, retreated into her Gift with the spiders. Henry Grey was her husband. Nefertari is her humongous pet spider. Irena (metalsmithing) has her own issues, yet is friends with Alice. She also seems to be having a relationship with Alejandro, the Guardians’ fencing instructor.
Jake Hawkins can teleport. Not always to the destination he intended, but he gets there in the end. He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of guy with an interest in the past. Poor Alice doesn’t know what to make of his happy dance when something goes right. Lindsey Hawkins is his great-granddaughter. It’s so sweet the “monsters” he slays for her.
Charlie is a vampire now and she’s with Drifter, a.k.a., Ethan McCabe, a Guardian who is good with locks. The Guardians and vampires tend to hang at Old Matthew’s Cole‘s Hard Time Bar and Grill. Her sister Jane Newcomb still works at Legion Laboratories even though she knows it’s a front for a demon business and she’s engaged to the demon, Sammael. Lilith, Hugh Castleford, and Sir Pup come in handy in this story along with Selah (teleporting) and Drusilla, a Healer for the Guardians.
Michael is the first Guardian, created after he died as a human killing the dragon during the Second Battle. Zakril was a Guardian. One of the first. Betrayed and a betrayer.
Rebecca, Mackenzie, and Pim (she’s apprenticing to Drusilla) are novice Guardians.
Belial wants the prophecy to come true. Now. And it will take Michael’s heart to make Belial’s dream happen. Teqon is the demon who bound Alice. Khavi (foreseeing) and Anaria are grigori and bound up with Michael. Lyta is Khavi’s female hellhound—the future is looking brighter for Sir Pup!
It’s Jake looming large in the street bordered by buildings retreating into the distance, a street light seemingly providing the glow that surrounds him. I guess they didn’t read the story since Jake spends most of his time in Caelum, Hell, or various digs as he hunts with Alice.
The title at least is accurate, for Alice has been Demon Bound.