Paladins of Darkness #1
He studied the contrast between Laurel’s slender fingers and his callused hand. Soft versus hard. Hands meant to heal reaching out to hands meant to kill.
Deep underground lies a barrier between our world and the world of the Others — human-like beings who are desperate to leave their dark world for ours. But the alien physiology of the Others is bad for Earth, so the barrier is protected by the ancient race of Paladins who are gifted with super healing abilities allowing them to come back from death. Devlin Bane leads the Paladins stationed near Mount St. Helens and he does all he can to protect his side of the barrier, but it’s a deadly job and each time a Paladin is revived from death they lose more of their humanity — pushing them closer to turning into the very thing they hunt.
I absolutely loved Dark Protector and I found the world and story so unique in today’s plethora of paranormal romances. I first read when it came out and my love for it and it’s characters hasn’t waned a bit. Devlin was a fantastic hero who is finally learning what it means to truly care for someone. A Paladin’s life is dedicated to protecting the barrier and this means they rarely make connections outside the Paladins or the government agency that directs them. I loved Devlin’s inherent honor and his complete loyalty to his brothers in arms and his work at the barrier. When he begins to fall for his handler, Dr. Laurel Young, she’s pulled into that protective circle and the reader knows that Devlin will do anything to keep Laurel safe. Devlin is the perfect balance of alpha/gentle and sweet/grumpy. He’s far from flawless and he struggles with accepting the harsh side of Laurel’s job that means she may one day put down one of his brothers or himself if they turn Other.
Working for the Regents is a dream come true for Laurel, who left her small town family who can’t quite understand their intelligent and career driven daughter. Laurel cares deeply for all the Paladins in her charge and she’s determined to find a way to understand their decline from powerful Paladin to murderous Other. Finding a way to help the Paladins would give Laurel something truly meaningful to contribute. But that care becomes more when she’s working with Devlin and once these two start crossing lines there’s no going back. Devlin and Laurel’s chemistry was on fire and it’s made all the better for the forbidden nature of it. Handler’s are of course not supposed to get involved with Paladins and Paladins have generally stayed away from long-term relationships — after all, how do you explain an ability to come back from the dead and an exceptionally slow aging process. There’s so much delicious tension, physical and emotional, between Laurel and Devlin that you can really feel how much they want each other but also how much they know it could all blow up in their faces any second.
Because this was the first in a series we get introduced to a few other Paladins but I never felt like it was an overwhelming number of characters (a current problem with a lot of series starters). There was also a new character that showed up at the very end that is very intriguing! While the bad guy in this book is revealed there is still an overarching storyline that is not solved in this book so once you finish this one you’ll be ready to dive right into the next one!
5 out of 5 stars
Threats of rape
Devlin Bane: Born a Paladin, he is a member of an ancient band of warriors locked in a centuries-old war against evil.
His destiny: To die over and over again to protect mankind from the Others, only to be revived each time by his mortal Handler.
But his fierce strength and courage cannot save him from gradually becoming one of the monsters he was born to destroy.
Dr. Laurel Young, who has spent years training to become a Handler, must remain detached from her patients. But each time she revives the darkly compelling Devlin Bane, he claims a little more of her soul and incites in her desires that grow wilder and wilder — even as he inches closer to losing his humanity.
As the war against the Others grows more desperate, Laurel and Devlin can’t help but give in to the fierce hunger that’s sizzled between them for so long. Now they’ll face the ultimate battle together — to save a dark, passionate love that goes against every rule as they join forces to fight an enemy who is closer than they ever imagined.
Published by Pocket Books on June 27, 2006
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