darkest hour before dawnStory Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Mark Westfield
Length: 10 hours, 8 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Sebastian Hobbs is still in love with his mate, Dr. Hudson Colbourn. A tragic situation tore them apart, but both men still care for each other. When things heat up at work, putting them in danger, they are both driven to protect their mate. And in the process, they reconnect, though Hudson is still reluctant to get involved and tries to move on.

Seb won’t let him go though, and when Hudson is threatened, he’ll go to any length to protect him. That lands Seb in hot water, but there’s a way to get out of it. And even though both men are determined to stay apart, they can’t help but be drawn together time and again. If they can just forgive themselves for the mistakes of the past, and the part they each played in it, they might just be able to find the happy ever after they are looking for. Because if ever there were two men made for each other, it’s Seb and Hudson.

From the first moment these guys appeared on page in the THIRDS series, I’ve been waiting for their story. Reunion romances get me every time. And Seb and Hudson certainly have a turbulent past. The tragedy that separated them was a big one and Hudson, in particular, thinks they can never be right again because of it. Seb’s steady patience through it all, his determination to give Hudson what he needs, is really endearing without being overbearing. These guys go together perfectly, and they complement one another.

But I admit that I had a little trouble with it as well. Hudson seems doggedly (excuse the pun) determined not to forgive himself. And it also seems that the intensity of it is extreme. I mean, yes, what happened was very sad, but they did everything right and it was just an accident. In the end, I couldn’t quite understand why he was so determined to stay away from Seb as punishment, and then when things changed, it moved awfully fast. I would have liked to see more conversation and forgiveness to really be grounded in their love.

On top of the romance plot, which is the bigger focus in this book, the metaplot is moving along. I love that Cochet manages to move things forward and that things are really heating up. It feels like the big resolution is right on the horizon, and since there’s only one more book in the main series, it’s exactly the feel this book should have. So the suspense side of things nicely balances the romance, and we still get more clues as to what’s going on and how it’ll all be resolved. There’s a twist here toward the end. And I knew it was coming. I can’t even tell you exactly what tipped me off, but I knew without a doubt what was going to happen. But I’m still intrigued and waiting so see how that, in particular, plays out.

Let me be honest about something. I love Westfield’s narration of this series. He’s always spot on with just about everything, with a smooth voice that draws the listener in, and he brings the right amount of emotion to every scene. But ever since the beginning, I’ve sort of been dreading this book. See, Westfield never managed to get Hudson’s accent just right, and I was reluctant to listen to it for hours on end. But in the beginning of this book, Westfield makes note that accents would be diminished, and it worked beautifully here. Hudson still has a hint of British in his tone, but its understated and lovely, which definitely makes a difference. Overall, it worked really well throughout the story. The narration was top notch, and it was so easy to get lost in the story.

There’s only one full length book left, though there is another shorter story coming in between. Cochet has managed to ramp up the intensity again, and it’s all leading toward the end. This book is another winner in the series, and I can’t wait to see where it all ends.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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