Max Gallagher and Gabe Reyes are trying to settle into their life together, but a huge threat hangs over their head. Gabe is driven by getting revenge, and until he manages to stop the man who hurt them both, he can’t begin his life with Max. The two are holding off on completing their mating until after that’s resolved. When Gabe gets a lead on Stone’s whereabouts, he heads off, leaving Max behind.
Max promised he would wait for Gabe, but the months of no contact wear on him. When Gabe returns, his emotions are volatile and mixed. As much as he loves Gabe, Max’s hurt and angry that Gabe has been gone so long. It takes some conversation, but they eventually make up and agree that the hunt will be continued together.
When tragedy strikes at Council headquarters, Max, Gabe, and their leader Ben are called on to give all the information they possess about their quarry. The Alpha gives the order to head to the secretive Brotherhood to get the answers they seek, and to hopefully procure the item Stone is looking for before the monster can get them himself. But it means another separation for Max and Gabe, this time completely out of their hands.
Gabe once again doesn’t do well separated from his mate, and Max hates being apart. But what’s worse, they are betrayed again, only this time the results have dire consequences. It will take all they have within them, and the strength they possess together, in order to persevere and have that happily ever after they are working for.
I was looking forward to this second installment after I finished the first book, but I was immediately faced with issues in this story. The MCs had very little forward growth, the pacing was off, and, at times, the writing was choppy. While some major plot lines are resolved satisfactorily, new ones are created to continue onto the last book.
My biggest issue with this book was the pacing. This book is long and there’s a lot going on, but I felt that the focus was put on scenes where it was less than effective. Early on, when Gabe leaves for the first time, he’s gone for an entire year. But that year takes place in just one chapter, with very little detail from Max’s POV. When Gabe returns, Max is understandably upset with him, but the resolution back to a good place happens incredibly quickly. Max forgives Gabe too easily, in my opinion, and that was really because as a reader we didn’t see anything Gabe went through in his year away, and only get basic knowledge of it after the fact. Then they are separated again in short order, just a few chapters later. At least this time, we see much more of what Gabe is going through, and less of Max, which helped. But here I felt the scenes dragged on, and very little new information was disseminated with each new scene. I felt that if focus had been put on other crucial plot points, I wouldn’t have felt the drag as much.
There’s a lot of lore here that the author admits to taking liberty with. I don’t have a problem with that. But I did feel that things weren’t well explained and that a couple of the “twists” came out of nowhere. Without the lead up, it was a little dissatisfying to see the big reveal at the end. Though it wasn’t wholly surprising, there was definitely some deus ex machina going on with one major plot point that helps our characters out in the end, and while it wasn’t entirely a bad thing, it was also hard to suspend disbelief.
All that being said, though, the battle towards the end was satisfying. With Max compromised and Gabe giving in to his feral side, things look bleak. But together, they not only find their way back, but also finally are able to put an end to one problem plaguing them. The author did a good job showcasing the next problem and tying that in to everything that’s come before. Max and Gabe take the next step in their relationship, which has been a long time coming for them.
Overall though, this book was more miss than hit for me. The choppy writing style and the poor pacing worked against this story in a big way. And though I was intrigued by some of the plot points, the lack of character growth was also a detriment. As much as I wanted to enjoy this book, and as much as I liked some of the scenes and plot points, it wasn’t enough to keep me invested in the book or this series.