Adult Paranormal Romance
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless--and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions at any cost...until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.
Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation--or her ultimate damnation?
With Wicked Nights, Ms. Showalter introduces us to an entirely new cast of deliciously sexy and damaged souls, seamlessly transitioning us from the Lords of the Underworld and their demons to the Angels of the Dark through Zacharel, the beautifully cold angel sent to assist the Lords in their last several adventures. Though the Lords are keepers of the most challenging and problematic of demons, Zacharel and his army of angels all teetering on the brink of falling are equally tortured, the darkness forced upon them by life, fate, and circumstance a captivating contrast to their purpose in the heavens. Though some of the trademark humor so cherished in the witty banter between the both the Lords and their women is missing in this first installment between Zacharel and his men, Ms. Showalter succeeds yet again in creating characters whose lives we can’t wait to share and whose histories we’re desperate to learn.
Given the time we’ve spent with Zacharel as he’s aided the Lords, our affection for him is strong from the onset, our anticipation to discover all the secrets of this angel from whose wings snowflakes continuously fall incredibly high before we even read the first page. Though a connection to him is easily established, the connection he forms to heroine Annabelle doesn’t feel quite as strong as we'd hoped when we cracked the spine. After the tragic death of his beloved brother, Zacharel has had no interest in forming attachments to anyone else, shunning even the temporary contact of an intimate relationship with a woman so many of those under his command embrace, instead choosing to remain hard and seemingly heartless in his single-minded pursuit to destroy demons without a care for the human collateral damage he leaves in his wake.
Based on what we know of him and his emotional detachment, the speed with which he softens and thaws for Annabelle seems just a touch questionable. For a man who’s never even so much as experienced a hint of desire, it’s hard to fully believe in his sudden need to touch, taste, and fully possess Annabelle, to the extent that he can barely focus on anything else. Anna, for her part, is incredibly strong in mind and body, surviving unimaginable things during her incarceration in a mental facility with her sanity intact to emerge wounded but healing. She can at times seem very young though, some of her witty retorts slung in Zacharel’s direction just making the distance between them both in age as well species (as she’s human) feel far more significant that it might have otherwise.
While the romance between Zacharel and Annabelle is perhaps not as strong as some of the combustible partnerships we’ve been gifted with from Ms. Showalter in the past, the cast of secondary characters she brings to this new angelic table is as intriguing as ever. Sometimes, a shift in a story from one character’s journey to the next can be frustrating (particularly in a romance) as our desire to get back to the main couple outweighs our interest in following lesser characters, however, that is certainly not the case with the Lords of the Underworld or now the Angels of the Dark, the few of Zacharel’s army to whom we’re introduced in this first book laying claim to our hearts nearly instantaneously. Thane, Xerxes, and Bjorn hold particular interest, their shared brutal pasts only hinted at in between our moments with Zacharel and Anna, but though our time with them is brief, it’s more than enough to trigger a countdown to when we might finally be granted access to their full stories.