"The tides of war can be swayed by a word, an act, even the absence of a leader in the stronghold of a kingdom."
The sixth instalment "Dark Desires After Dusk" in the "Immortals After Dark" series by the respected author Kresley Cole brings us an adventurous journey filled with laughter, danger, seduction and desire.
The demon Cadeon Woede is a mercenary and a womaniser. Long ago, he was guilty for losing his brother's crown and their kingdom to an evil sorcerer. For nine hundred years he carried that guilt inside him and found no way to repent for his sins. Until now. He finally found a way to win his brother's crown back for them. He needs to get the sword from an evil metallurgist who happens to be the brother of the man who stole their kingdom. All he has to do in return is bring him a Vessel which comes before every Accession and hand her to him.
Everything would be nice and easy if that Vessel didn't happen to be his intended female. The only one who can ever fully satisfy him and give him children. Her name is Holly Ashwin and she was human which was the reason he didn't take her sooner. Because no demon may mate with a human female, it is a deadly dealing for a mere mortal. But she was turned to Valkyrie when she found herself in mortal danger and now there is nothing stopping him from claiming her. Except his promise to give her away for the sword.
The evil metallurgist will most likely use Holly to give him a child because it is written in a prophecy that the Vessel's firstborn will be a great warrior who can turn the tide of the war on the side of good or evil depending on who his father is. Cadeon knows all of it but the guilt for losing his kingdom was too great and he decided to deceive Holly so he could get her to the metallurgist without her resistance. As always, easier said than done...
The rage demons are definitely an interesting race. Being a demon but also being good is a concept that doesn't seem to go together well but hey, it worked wonderfully in this book, so why not. So, a rage demon on a mission and a confused newly awoken half Valkyrie, half Fury are stuck together on a voyage across America and Canada. Holly is a math professor working towards her PhD and a neat freak with the OCD while Cadeon is kind of a slob and a free spirit. They are different as they can be.
Despite everything working against them, they can't deny their attraction for each other. Holly tried for a while but ultimately she had no choice but to surrender. Cadeon wanted her even when she was mortal but now he tried to keep a safe distance because he knew he would have to betray her soon.
Cadeon's struggle is magnificent to witness. He feels guilty for disappointing his brother, losing his crown and their kingdom of Rothkalina and for nine centuries he swore he will do anything and everything it takes to win it back. Now when he finally has a chance to make progress on that promise, he realises that if he goes through with it as planned he will lose the only female ever who can be his true other half and he would lose all potential offspring.
It seems like a lose-lose situation and his heart is breaking in half. I believe that he would actually go through with the great betrayal if he didn't have a little help from Nix which made him spend a lot more time with Holly. During that time he realized how much she means to him and started exploring other options. Whereas Holly is concerned, she started the journey off with a desire to go back from Valkyrie to human and to her neatly ordered life but with time she started to loosen up a bit and realized how much more life has to offer her.
Fate does work mysterious ways after all...
Cadeon is a deliciously seductive demon with a sense of humour and a very protective behaviour. He is attentive, courteous, thoughtful, all while being sinfully strong and aggressive towards everything that threatens his female.
Holly is a very annoying human which does improve as she turns fully immortal. Thankfully. She is stronger than she believes and she is a very passionate woman who always repressed those feelings because she was scared of hurting someone. Now that she has a demon by her side that can't be that easily injured, she realises just how many options present themselves in their case.
They complete each other in a very unexpected way. The story will show you just how much you can complete another person who is almost your polar opposite.
The reason I gave this book four stars is that I found it a bit tedious in the middle and not eventful enough. Also, I think that this could have been amended by adding more scenes from Rydstrom's imprisonment by a beautiful wicked Sabine, Sorcerers of Illusions. I know the next book deals with this pair but more scenes as a prequel to it would have been nice.
All in all, I highly recommend this book, not just for the romance but also for the Cadeon's witty remarks ;) As well as for the Bugatti Veyron that the charming couple uses for their voyage of a lifetime !
"Are you from the nineteenth century or just trying to be misogynistic?"
"I'm from medieval times and I never have to try to be misogynistic," he slammed on the breaks and cranked the four-wheel-drive gear, peering at her hard. "It just comes to me natural, like a gift."