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Book Review and New Release: The Demon’s Desire by Kendra Leigh Castle (Book two of the Hearts of the Fallen series)

 Title: The Demon’s Desire
Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Series: Hearts of the Fallen
Genre: Paranormal romance
Published: 2013
Pages: 232
Format read: ebook
Rating: B+

This was a new-to-me author and series, and I really enjoyed it. Even though it’s actually the second book in the series, I quickly caught on to the “rules” of the world and didn’t feel at all lost. I actually liked that there wasn’t too much world building here–it felt like we were dropped right in to the action, which was a lot of fun. I fully intend to go back and read book one, The Demon’s Song, and figure that any questions I still have about the world it is set in will be answered there. For now, though, I had more than enough to help me enjoy this installment.

Dru is a vampire, and for two thousand years or so she’s been helping her brother Justin keep the inhabitants of their hidden world, Terra Noctem, safe. She had a disastrous experience long ago when she gave her heart to the wrong man, and ever since she’s kept herself so busy she’s barely even had time to acknowledge her loneliness.

Until Meresin. The unlikely pair shared a moment in book one, and neither can get the incident–or each other–out of their minds and hearts.

Meresin is one of a group of Fallen–demons who were angels long, long ago–who recently took refuge in Terra Noctem. He holds a frightening power–he is bonded to lightning, which is making him not only moody and brooding, but also more and more unstable. When Terra Noctem itself is threatened, he decides that the only way to redeem himself is to go back to the source of his dangerous power and try to have it removed. On the way, an act of violence serves to bond him to Dru, and suddenly he’s not only searching for his own redemption but also to save Dru’s life. Can they possibly survive the ordeal ahead of them?

I’m not going to lie–Meresin is a tough guy to like for much of the book. He’s surly and rude, and pushes everyone around him away with both hands. It’s clear that he doesn’t want to be drawn to Dru, and the feeling is mutual for awhile. As Castle slowly reveals Meresin’s history, however, the reasons for his attitude and behavior become clear, and he ends up as a much more sympathetic character than I would have thought he could possibly be. By the time he and Dru reached their destination, I was behind their cause 100%.

Dru was a fabulous heroine throughout. I loved that she was strong for her people, and really enjoyed her relationship with her brother. I also liked that it was she who did most of the pursuing in her relationship with  Meresin. I’m definitely hoping she’ll feature prominently in book one–since its hero is her brother, I figure that’s a pretty safe bet.

My only real complaint with this book is that the major climax–the moment that determines Dru and Meresin’s fate–largely takes place off page. The character from whose point of view we’re seeing that scene loses consciousness, and by the time we return to the narrative, it’s all over. It felt like a bit of a letdown, but I so enjoyed everything else about the book that it was hard to be too disappointed overall. The characters I’d started to care so much about got their HEA, and that in itself was satisfying.

In a nutshell: I will absolutely return to this author and this world. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and gave me characters I loved to root for. Solid B+.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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