Kresley Cole

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole

 Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him.  The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed-until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires.  When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strengths and skill to keep her alive.  Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary.  It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them.  Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.  If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul-or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

A great addition to the Immortals After Dark series, Wicked Deeds takes place almost simultaneously with No Rest for the Wicked.  As a writer, I found it interesting that Cole chose to have Bowen and Mari separated for almost the first quarter of the book.  It totally worked and furthered the storyline, but I suspect that’s not something a newbie author could get away with *g*.  While the plot is relatively simple and straightforward, Bowen and Mari’s relationship is anything but.  Both have obstacles from their past (and future) to overcome, and they can only do that by trusting in each other…something neither is willing to do, even if they want the other to distraction.  This is a hot, lush book.  While I recommend you read the first two books in the series to totally immerse yourself in the worldbuilding, you could certainly read this as a stand alone and be perfectly happy.

TABT…If You Deceive, by Kresley Cole

 Ethan MacCarrick was a heartbreakingly handsome rake until a powerful nobleman ordered him brutally beaten and his face scarred for a crime he didn’t commit  Ethan’s reprisal-bankrupting the nobleman and forcing his exile-does little to appease his wrath.  Ten years later, a haughty, mysterious beauty enchants Ethan-the daughter of his enemy.  At last, Ethan will have the revenge he’s craved; he’ll promise her marriage, seduce her, then cast her aside.  When Madelaine van Rowen’s family was suddenly plunged into destitution and dishonor, she steeled herself against further heartache.  She never weakened, never trusted, until a towering, scarred Highlander relentlessly pursues her, breaking down her defenses.  The passion between them burns hotter than Ethan’s fury, and soon he finds he can’t let her go.  But when Madelaine discovers the truth about him, can Ethan convince her to accept all he now offers-when he once destroyed everything she had?

Great, great, great addition (and I’m thinking, conclusion?) to the MacCarrick brothers saga.  Both Ethan and Maddy were strong, flawed and *really* human characters.  Watching Ethan begin to rethink his revenge as he fell deeper under Maddy’s spell…and she under his…would have been fun if it wasn’t so heartrending.  This story does overlap with the other two, but you can read it as a stand-alone.  Personally, I’d highly recommend picking up the entire series (If You Desire and If You Dare), because the characters are so vividly drawn, as is the worldbuilding…you won’t be disappointed!