Dex Peterson and Sam Spencer have known each other since they were eighteen. After going through the military together, they are now partners and work for the Darkling Extraction Agency, or DEA. They hunt darklings, humans that have had their souls removed and have turned violent, and their lives are in constant danger. Dex and Sam are a solid team and would do absolutely anything for each other, which is why Sam could never risk letting Dex know how he feels about him.
There is also a woman between these two men. Sydney Carpenter is a kick-ass, highly skilled fighting machine and she has saved Dex and Sam on more than one occasion. She shows up, eradicates the monsters, and almost just as quickly leaves again. But, the time they have spent together is enough to have both men falling hard for her as well.
As Dex and Sam stake out their next nest of Darklings, they meet up with Sydney once again. But this time it’s different. The mission is not routine, and the chemistry among them that is set to detonate is far from routine as well. The three of them must work as a unit, but first Dex is intent on getting the girl. While Dex and Sydney may be inevitable, they are not complete without Sam between them in all the ways that count. But the DEA might not be all that Sam and Dex were led to believe it was and Sydney has secrets, so many secrets, that she knows she needs to share, but her revelations will alter Dex and Sam’s world forever.
The Darkling Hunters hits so many notes of a great reading experience. The plot has fresh elements and the character are all interesting to read and Sydney is a unique female lead that was refreshing to read about. She has her secrets, but her take charge attitude and powerful fighting skills and instincts set the tone for the book.
There is a whole lot going on with this story and it is a long novel. Sam and Dex are introduced first. Their friendship and loyalty are undeniable and so is their chemistry. The need between them is a living and breathing entity, but the chemistry is the part they won’t acknowledge. After they left the military, they were recruited by the DEA. Ayers gives a background to the agency that reads as if it could be entirely plausible. Still, the agency is mysterious, Sam and Dex have never met their boss in person, and are conditioned to follow orders as they hunt Darklings, creatures who have no soul. There were times I did question Sam and Dex’s seemingly blind allegiance to the agency as they were content to just follow orders. We don’t learn all that much about their backstory, which worked well until the end when I did wish I knew just a little more about these guys.
Sam and Dex are both in love with Sydney. She has saved their lives more than once and Dex literally feels better when Sydney is around. Sam keeps everything quiet, both his love for Dex and his love for Sydney. Sydney is a strong, female character with more than a few secrets. The storyline was well paced in revealing everything that there was to Sydney and it was all fascinating reading. Sam and Dex both know she has secrets and they allow her to tell them in her own time.
The mission remains a central focus, but the developing relationship between the three of them gets plenty of page time as well. The varied intimate scenes are well written and when these guys all give in to each other, it is the hottest of the hot reads with one scorching scene after the next as the chemistry between the three of them never waivers throughout the entire book.
The story is not complete as the larger plot arc and mission will continue on in a sequel, which is scheduled to be released later this month. The ending here didn’t finish as strong for me with either the overall mission or the relationship, as I was looking for the ending to be as engaging as the rest of the book. But, the whole of it was an incredible start to a paranormal series and would be certainly recommended for the many intriguing dynamics and story lines going on the entire way through.