As a hellhound, Jeremiah is used to people hating him, or at the very least being terrified of him. Hellhounds are considered among the lowest of the supes and even places that are welcoming to paranormals aren’t always happy to have him around. But when Jeremiah gets called by the Queen of Midlona about threats to the royal family, Jeremiah doesn’t hesitate to take the job. Someone has attacked not just the King, Queen, and their young children in Midlona, but also their college-aged son living abroad. They have hired Jeremiah and his team at the Trident Agency to both protect them all, as well as to help figure out who is behind the attacks.
Remi may be the crown prince, but that doesn’t mean he is accepted by his people. Remi’s mother is a siren, but his father is human. The same people who were mad that his mother married his father are also not happy about the idea of a “half breed” like Remi one day assuming the throne. Remi loves his family, but he needed to get away from the constant scrutiny and pressure, and left for college. So he is really not happy to be called home, nor to find himself with a new bodyguard, one who is a grumpy hellhound no less.
The men start out at odds, neither particularly happy with one another. Jeremiah finds Remi to be a spoiled, entitled prince who is making his life impossible by refusing to take proper precautions. Meanwhile, Remi feels stifled and frustrated by the constraints on living his normal life and can’t help but take that out on Jeremiah. But as the men spend more time together, they begin to realize they may be more alike than they thought. Both men find themselves constantly judged and found lacking for who they are, at times even hated. While Remi grew up in a life of privilege and Jeremiah struggled on the streets, both know the pain of hate and trying to overcome it. The two men are also fiercely attracted to one another, despite themselves. The draw between Remi and Jeremiah is strong, even as Jeremiah tries to keep his distance, since Remi is a client.
The more time they pair spend together, the more they realize that something real is building between them. However, no matter how much they may want one another, figuring out how to make things work seems impossible. If Midlona won’t accept a crown prince with some human blood, they certainly won’t accept him having a mate who is a hellhound. But even if the men can figure out a way to a future together, the threats against Remi and his family continue. Now, it will take everything Jeremiah and his team have to find the threat and stop it, before it is too late.
Sunshine is the first book in E.M. Lindsey and Kiki Clark’s new Trident Agency series and I really loved it. I found the world building here a lot of fun, as it is sort of a contemporary, alternate world with some countries predominantly supernatural, like Midlona being a siren country and the neighboring country home to the gargoyles. The authors bring a lot of creativity here and a wealth of various supernatural beings. I loved the siren and hellhound pairing, as both types of beings are fairly uncommon in romance. We are also introduced to a variety of other supernaturals, as well as getting some background on the various global politics.
The set up here is pretty straightforward, with a bodyguard and his charge at odds, until they eventually fall for each other. But even though the plot doesn’t break a lot of new ground, I found the story itself to be really engaging and to have plenty of depth. Remi and Jeremiah seem so different on the surface, but they are both dealing with similar pain and eventually find a shared connection. There is a sexy and intense dynamic between them, with great chemistry as they start out hating (but wanting) each other and slowly make their way to not being able to live without one another. So there is lots of heat here, plus some exploration of the mate bond between them (as well as some semi-shifted siren sex). I think the story could have gone into a little more detail about Jeremiah’s past for further character development, but overall I found these guys such an appealing pair. Fans of possessive and growly mates may particularly enjoy their dynamic, and there is just a hot, intense vibe between them, with a lot of sweetness too.
Alongside the developing romance, we have the threats against Remi and the rest of his family. I loved the close bond he has with his family, even as he sometimes feels a little stifled. His connection with his young siblings is particularly sweet. Over the course of the story, there are various threats and moments of danger along the way that add some excitement to the story. Remi doesn’t always make the smartest choices about his own safety, even when faced with the seriousness of the situation. I also think that the aftermath of it all wraps up a little quickly, without much follow up on what happens to the bad guys, or even how the attacks all came together. I am not sure if future books will follow this same group who was behind it all and that is why it isn’t really resolved, but it did feel like things were left a little open here. However, overall I feel like there was nice balance between the developing relationship and the suspense side of things.
There is also nice found family set up here for Jeremiah and his teammates. We meet the members of his main team and learn a little about them. I think the authors do a great job giving us an introduction to the team without falling into too much sequel bait exposition and side stories for the folks who are presumably future main characters. It was enough to really whet my appetite for the series, however, and at the end of this book we get a hint of what is next to come.
Overall, I found this one just a lot of fun and a really great start to the series. I am super excited about this one and can’t wait for more.