Rating: 4.5 stars
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Nathan Grier knows that fae exist beyond the Veil—a world separate from the human realm. He’s spent his entire life running from them, keeping hidden and doing whatever he can to protect his twin brother, Jim. The Griers are from a carrier family, a line that has fae blood dating back to the time when fae and humans mingled freely. It is because of the ancestral blood line that Jim is a changeling, a human that can turn full-blooded fae.
When Jim was taken by the fae, Nathan was willing to do whatever it took to get him back, including summoning a Messenger and offering to trade his life for Jim’s. The Messenger took the deal, but Nathan had no intention of going through with it. He killed her, but not before she marked him. Now Nathan has a bounty on his head, and if the fae Lord that holds it finds him, he will be turned into a slave for the dark fae court. Nathan isn’t as concerned as he should be because at least he has Jim back.
A psychic points the brothers toward an apartment and a time, telling them that someone named Sasha Kelly will be there. All they know is that this Sasha person can help with Nathan’s predicament. When they arrive at the apartment, they don’t find a woman like they expected. Instead they find a man with bright red hair and a gun. Sasha is a sealgaire, or seal, someone who hunts down the dark fae creatures that wreak havoc on the mortal plain. The brothers have always actively avoided seals after one killed their parents. But they need Sasha’s help, and it turns out, Sasha needs them. He’s hunting a serial killer—that is really an incubus or a succubus—and asks them for assistance, promising to help them once he finds his quarry. Together the three men set off to hunt down the creature killing women.
When the hunt is successful, Nate and Jim discover the secret that Sasha has been hiding. He is an incubus. At first, Nate is repulsed. He hates everything fae and seal alike, and Sasha is both at once. But it’s obvious that Sasha only wants to help and that they can trust him. Now focused solely on discovering who holds the claim on Nathan’s mark, the men track down leads in order to try to find a way to remove it. But Jim’s time in the Veil changed him, though he can’t remember it, and his dark fae powers are growing. The Grier brothers are famous throughout the fae world, and many dark fae want to take Jim back. On the run, the men look for answers while fighting for their lives.
This is a really bare bones summary, but anything more would be giving too much away. The world building here is really outstanding. Anyone who is familiar with fae myths and legends will recognize some of the aspects, but the author puts her own twist on things as well. It’s well developed and the author does a good job about not overwhelming us with information, but also providing what we need to know. It never felt like an info dump. I really liked that aspect. I felt that we were getting exactly what we needed to understand without being given a lecture.
These men face peril and danger time and again. The fae are out to get them to reclaim Jim and to bring in the bounty on Nate’s head. The seals are after them, a man named Gabriel in particular, thinking they need to be killed because they pose a danger to the world at large. They have few friends they can actually trust and have to be incredibly cautious about where they go and whom they ask for help. It makes getting the information they need not only difficult, but dangerous as well.
And in the midst of all of that, Nathan is confused by his attraction to Sasha. He thought himself straight, but Sasha definitely turns his head. He thinks Sasha’s suggestive comments are just the man messing with him, but Sasha is attracted to Nate as well. Nate tries to chalk it up to Sasha’s incubus powers, but they don’t work that way. Sasha can’t make someone be attracted to him, only heighten attraction if it’s already there. Eventually, Nate gives in to his attraction, and let me tell you, when these two men finally come together, it’s explosive. And incredibly satisfying to see Nathan finally accept his feelings and desires.
The secondary characters, especially Nate’s Spirit Guide, Walter, and the fae artifact collector Schuester, really enhance the story. Each time a new character is introduced, we are given just the right amount of backstory to feel like we’ve known them as long as the MCs have. It’s easy to understand who they trust and why. Just like the way the author gave us information about the world, the secondary characters were dovetailed in very nicely and believably.
I only had one tiny issue with the book and that was that, at times, it could have benefited from a little bit tighter editing. There were moments that seemed to drag on just a tad too long and could have been condensed for a bit better pacing. This was really a small issue in the greater scheme of things, but enough that it’s worth a mention.
As it is the first book in a series, the ending is decidedly HFN. What Meuwissen does fantastically is wrap up the major story arc of the book, while still leaving the greater plot points unresolved. I want to find out what happens next to these guys, I’m completely invested in their story, and I’ll definitely pick up the next book. Absolutely recommended.