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Those into paranormal romances will probably recognize this one.  If this is new to you, there’s enough reading material in the series to keep you busy for a while 🙂

*****

The Darkest Promise

Lords of the Underworld series

by Gena Showalter

Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages

Publisher: HQN (March 27, 2018)

Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance…

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn’t allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they’ve forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever…

“One of the premier authors of paranormal romance. Gena Showalter delivers an utterly spell-binding story!”-Kresley Cole, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Gena Showalter never fails to dazzle.”-Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author

“Showalter…rocks me every time!”-Sylvia Day, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Showalter writes fun, sexy characters you fall in love with!”-Lori Foster, New York Times bestselling author

“Showalter makes romance sizzle on every page!”-Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

*****

Excerpt:

Misery had quickly peeled away the layers of her humanity, hope and happiness. Again and again he’d wiped her mind of any joyous memories.

The bastard still wiped her mind of any joyous memories. Every day he breathed his poison into her thoughts, hurt others through her voice and ruined whatever relationships she managed to forge. He’d re­duced her life to one horror after another.

If only she could control him. But Misery was a sep­arate entity with his own motivations and goals. A dark presence she’d never been able to drown out. A prison she had never been able to escape.

Right now, he’s not my biggest problem. The but­terfly…

Disaster was imminent.

Cameo searched for a way out of the forest. At one side, a breathtaking river with rainbow-colored water trickled into a rocky crag. Some type of fish broke the surface. A water unicorn? A long, ivory horn stretched from between his eyes and—

She gasped. Another water unicorn had jumped up and thrust his horn into the belly of the first. Blood spurted, creating a crimson waterfall. Countless other fish converged on the injured one, sharp teeth ripping into scales and organs until not even bones remained.

Mental note: no baths in the wild, ever.

At her other side, a field of ambrosia flourished, unaffected by the over-hot sun. Thick emerald stalks dripped with countless violet flowers, the petals drawn together to avoid the worst of the heat.

The field might be her only viable—

A thorny limb snatched the jumbo-size butterfly from the air. Her ears twitched, the soft breeze carry­ing the faint sounds of screaming.

Viable path or not, it was time to go.

Cameo lumbered to shaky legs, wincing as twigs sliced her heel. Her brow wrinkled. Her feet were bare, her combat boots gone.

Someone had stolen her shoes?

A quick scan proved her tank top and battle leath­ers were torn and stained with dried blood, but still in place. However, the daggers she’d made over two hun­dred years ago were missing.

Someone had robbed her while she’d drifted out of consciousness.

Someone would pay!

*****

Review:

This is the first in the series that I’ve read and I kinda knew going in that it would probably have an impact.  I made myself push through the awkwardness, especially at the beginning, and while there were definitely things that I missed (and nuances that would have had more significance to me as a returning reader), after a bit I found myself having a really good time.  I can definitely see why Showalter has been so popular!

You have to feel for a woman who can never be truly happy, has no relationships that last, has large gaps in her memory, and can make people break down sobbing at the sound of her voice.  That’s a lot to take but Cameo does it with strength and determination.  She has a support system with her friends but her’s is not an easy path.

Lazarus’s life has not been easy either (rotten childhood, dead mother, and enslavement – whew!) but he’s managed to find a place of his own and he’s working on building up an army to seek revenge on those that have wronged him.  (Ya know, just your average To Do list, right after 1. Turn those who cross me into stone and put them into my garden as gruesome statues.  Yikes!)  But he’s struggling with an almost overpowering need for Cameo and having her back is putting a kink in all sorts of his plans.

I know that both Cameo and Lazarus have been in previous stories, so I’m missing out on a lot of backstory and development, but as a new reader I found them quite interesting.  Both are carrying burdens, from their pasts and where they see their futures going.  But like any good paranormal story there’s always more than you know!  I think that’s one of my favorite things about stories with sci-fi elements – you can do whatever you want as long as it makes sense in the realm you’ve made.  And I feel that Showalter did that pretty well here.

I wouldn’t normally jump into a series this far along (I saw somewhere that this was book 13!) but I’m glad I did.  The world that Showalter created – a lovely mix of mythology and paranormal romance – seems complex and intriguing.  The characters were fun, sassy, and kept me turning pages.  (I’m definitely curious about some of the side stories that were hinted at so I think I’ll be looking to add a few more books to my ever-growing TBR pile 🙂 )  Overall, a pretty dang good read but one that was probably enjoyed even more by those who have some history with these characters.

*****

Author Info:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, she’s been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours–and her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

*****

Gena Showalter’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Sunday, March 18th: Book Binge – excerpt

Monday, March 19th: @novelgrounds

Wednesday, March 21st: Reading Reality

Monday, March 26th: @cityofdarkclockwork

Tuesday, March 27th: Tome Tender

Tuesday, March 27th: Romantic Reads and Such – excerpt

Wednesday, March 28th: Stuck in Books

Wednesday, March 28th: @booknerdnative

Thursday, March 29th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt

Friday, March 30th: Stranded in Chaos

Monday, April 2nd: Read Love Blog

Tuesday, April 3rd: @vixenreads

Wednesday, April 4th: Saints and Sinners Books

Thursday, April 5th: @laceybooklovers

Friday, April 6th: Romancing the Book – excerpt

Monday, April 9th: The Book Disciple

Wednesday, April 11th: The Romance Dish

Wednesday, April 11th: Books Without Any Pictures 

Friday, April 13th: Moonlight Rendezvous

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