|Once a heart is lost in shadow...|
Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.
Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.
Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past...or risk losing Mary forever.
Jack Talent is running on pure revenge when we first catch up with him in Shadowdance. In the previous Darkest London book, Winterblaze, he was captured, tortured and brutalized for his blood by demons and he retreated so far into himself, he was lost. Mary Chase was able to find and rescue him, but their past is one that’s sticky and their relationship is best described as volatile, hostile and strained. Too bad they end up being partnered through their organization, SOS, to find a killer who’s murdering demons. Also too bad that Jack is the one responsible for these killings (we find this out immediately) and Mary now knows. She starts off wanting to prove his guilt so she’d be able to turn in this man who’s been nothing but horrible to her for four years, but when shifters start being killed as well, a new killer needs to be tracked and targets are put on both Mary and Jack’s backs.
Oh where to start! I was taken with this couple prior to Shadowdance. There’s so much tension between them that I wanted to get to the bottom of and oh do we ever find out about everything in this story. Mary and Jack are tied together in so many different ways, both in how their paths have crossed throughout the years and also in what they’ve both been through, being brutalized and being filled with such hate and need for revenge that it tore up both of their souls. Mary is a GIM, she has a mechanical heart and was transformed one night after she was raped by three men. As she was running away, she was hit by a carriage and died. Her will to live was strong and a man, Adam, changed her into a GIM. She’s now able to separate her soul from her body when she needs to and she’s an amazing tracker. Jack is a rare shifter and after enduring a horrific childhood, he escaped and found a family with Ian Ranulf. His recent capture and torture has changed him completely as he’s still dealing with the emotional scars of that ordeal and his blinding need to kill every demon that was involved with his torture. He feels as though he has nothing to lose, he doesn’t feel loved, he’s been pushing people away and he’s on the verge of losing himself to madness. Enter Mary. Their partnership doesn’t start off on the best foot, mainly because of their history (which is detailed out as the story goes along), but as they get to know each other better, especially when it comes to Mary understanding Jack, they’re two halves of a whole and they need each other to heal both their pasts and to be able to move forward.
I’m spending a lot of time on Mary and Jack’s relationship because it really is the driving force of this entire book. There is a major suspense storyline involving the person killing shifters, a person who kidnaps Holly (granddaughter of Eamon for those of you who read Entwined) and a setup for what I presume to be her story with another man who goes through hell; hopefully their adventure is up next. So there is a lot of action going on that Mary and Jack are right in the middle of, but for me the most captivating part of Shadowdance is their relationship, how they come to terms with their pasts and how they help each other find love for the first time. At one point I did start thinking, come ON already, get together! The sexual tension is high and the payoff comes late into the story but just hang in there because the last 20% of this book is impossible to put down. It’s Mary and Jack’s huge turning point together when all their secrets come out, all their fears and emotions and especially in Jack’s case, he lays himself bare to her. It’s intense, emotional, heartbreaking and amazing – I had tears in my eyes during their scenes and if I hadn’t already been in love with both these characters, this huge scene between them would have done it, no question.
Jack is one of my favorite heroes I’ve ready this year. He has moments of being an ass, but his past, what he’s trying to overcome and how he breaks down because Mary is there to help build him back up, is one of the best journeys I’ve read. His scenes are all memorable, whether it’s his moments with Mary or one powerful scene with Ian, the man who saved him and raised him from a boy to a man, every scene is filled with emotion and is really unforgettable.
I continue to be so taken with this world. A historical series with paranormal/steampunk-ish type elements that all work so well together. As I was reading Shadowdance, I kept thinking this is a nice story, captivating, hard to put down – but, that last 20% wrecked me, in the best possible way and made this book into one of my favorites I’ve read this year. Do yourself a favor, read this series, I’d recommend reading the books in order, and get to know Jack and Mary. Theirs is a story that I’ll be thinking about for quite awhile, which is one of the best things I can ever say about a hero and heroine.
For her whole life, she’d [Mary] thought of men in terms of force. Blunt instruments that asserted their will and strength. Jack was that, more so than most. But she had never truly realized a man’s vulnerability, that a man might need comfort and tenderness. In truth, a man was like crystal, all hard, cool surfaces and solid strength, yet so easily brother if mishandled.
They were twined together, Jack’s thigh between her legs, her arms wrapped about his shoulder and around his waist, his arms doing the same. Though it did not feel sexual, not at that moment. If felt peaceful. And she could not help but think of them as two strings, wound up tight to become rope, and stronger for it.
Release Date: December 17, 2013
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*