After a particular hard undercover case, Niko Spruce isn’t doing well. But he’s surviving. Getting called to another murder scene means he has something else to focus on. But the dead body on the beach is not like anything that’s ever been seen before in Maeve’s court. And when a man shows up from the water and claims the dead man is a selkie, everything is turned on it’s ear. Selkies don’t exist. Except they do.
Cobalt Sincloud is part of the royal guard and is sent by his king to assist in the investigation. He’s determined to find out who killed the prince, and where the prince’s Soul Stone is. Niko is reluctant to work with Cobalt. Not only does Niko not work with a partner, but there’s something about Cobalt that calls to Niko. It’s clear Cobalt can fulfill Niko’s deepest desires and most intimate needs. But Niko refuses to walk down that path again.
At first, the leads go nowhere. But as Niko and Cobalt look into the prince’s whereabouts when he was on land, they begin to see just what the prince was facing. It leads to a deep, dark, sex trafficking ring and reminds Niko of his last case, and just what he had to do to survive. As Niko and Cobalt get closer to the truth, they also become closer to each other, and give into the desires they both have.
Niko is wiling to do absolutely anything to solve the case and to bring down the sex traffickers. Including being Cobalt’s pet and preforming intense BDSM sessions for an audience. But there are more secrets than Niko is prepared for, and even as they solve the case, Niko’s life is irrevocably changed.
I’ve been a fan of this author since reading the Worth series, and this book takes place in the same world as that series and as the Three Courts series. But you don’t have to have read them in order to understand this book. It stands alone just fine, and the author does a great job of filling in any blanks. For those of you who have read those series though, there’s an added layer of knowing things that have gone on in other courts, and how certain things have come to be. But believe me when I say that not knowing those things won’t detract from the story at all.
I love Evans’ world building, and it’s the main thing that draws me to the author again and again. The courts, the paranormal creatures, the magic and how things work…everything is so well done, fully fleshed out, and complete. I love that Evans’ has taken traditional mythos and given it its own spin. And here we get to delve into Maeve’s Court, that of the Fae. Not only is Niko Fae, but the whole way the territory works is clearly shown. I was drawn in and absorbed into the story, read it all in one sitting, and completely captivated.
The MCs are also very well drawn and fleshed out. Niko is the narrator, and the story is told solely through his third person POV. We get to know him best, really see his backstory, and just how broken he is. But he’s surviving and healing, though part of that doesn’t take place until he accepts his desire to be truly and completely submissive to his sexual partner. Cobalt understand that right from the start, and he pushes Niko, but never too much or too far. Their chemistry sparks from the first meeting, and absolutely lights up the page as the story progresses. I loved these guys together, and even though the story ends with a bittersweet HFN, it’s perfect for who they are.
So along with the romance, there’s the murder mystery, and I have to say I was pleased with the turn of events here. I’ll admit, I did not see the big bad coming. The mastermind behind it all was a surprise to me, and that was delightfully refreshing. Of course, other players weren’t a surprise, and that was exactly as it should be. So for the mystery as a whole, I have to say it was very well done, which is often a sticking point with me.
I will also make a note here that there’s talk of abuse and rape in this story, and that one character needs to interact with his abuser again. I thought it was handled well, for the most part, but it’s something to be aware of. There’s also a scene where Niko and Cobalt delve into some hardcore BDSM, including blood play and breath play. It was essential for the story, and beautiful in its own right. I only mention it for those who need to steer clear of those things.
The only issue with the book is the pacing, and it’s not even a huge issue at that. This is a long book, and there were times when I thought the story got bogged down and the pace dragged. This was mostly in the first half of the book, and I think it could have benefited from a tighter narrative at times. I was ready for the action to move on, and the MCs hit yet another dead end that ended in the same actions and thoughts as before. But that’s a small thing when taking the book as a whole.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and I’m thrilled that this isn’t the end for Niko and Cobalt. There will be another story continuing their journey, and given their chemistry and the way the book ended, I can’t wait to have more. If paranormal mystery is your thing, with a healthy dose of BDSM, then absolutely pick this one up.