Spaz Guest ARC Reviews: Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

WinterblazeOnce blissfully in love . . .

Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . .

Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455520799
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455520794
  • List Price: $7.99
  • Buy at Amazon

This is a spoiler free review.

With Winterblaze, Kristen Callihan brings us the third book in her Darkest London series. You’ve seen me here before, gushing over these books. We are already quite familiar with the heroine Poppy Ellis Lane and hero Winston Lane from the events in the two previous books Firelight and Moonglow. They always seemed like the solid couple that nothing could come between, but when Winston is torn apart by a supernatural being and learns that for the past fourteen years of their marriage, Poppy has kept a giant secret, he drops her on her butt. Learning that she not only has a place in the supernatural world, but is also a part in The Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals (an organization whose sole purpose is to keep the world from learning that supernatural beings exist) sends him packing his bags.

While anyone can understand Winston’s hurt and sense of betrayal, what Winston has failed to yet realize is that his wife Poppy is an absolute badass. Once recovering from his injuries, resulting in obvious physical scars, he is let go as an Inspector with the CID, and leaves London for a holiday attempt, accompanied by Jack Talent, Ian Ranulf’s valet. After three months apart, it becomes clear that Winston is in the line of fire from a demon hell bent on revenge, and Poppy sets out to reunite with him. And when they find each other, they find one another very very very angry. Did I mention they are angry? They are furious with one another, him over her years of betrayal and she over his walking away from her, all while not being able to deny the love that still lies between them.

We are given flashbacks to when and how Winston and Poppy met and courted, intertwined with the main storyline. We discover that from the get-go that as a duke’s son and a merchant’s daughter, Win and Poppy came from very different worlds, and must have defied all odds to be together.  What is revealed is a seemingly very sweet love story.

“Men don’t usually fancy me.”

He knew what it cost her to say it, and instinctively, he knew she was trying to scare him away by her admission. London society maintained a pack mentality; the undesirables were culled. What she did not know was that her brutal honesty made him admire her all the more.

He held her gaze with his. “This man does.”

As their courtship plays out in flashback scenes we can better understand just how deeply devastating it was for Win to be so lied to with her supernatural gift and involvement in the supernatural world.  He fell in love with her, in part, for how honest and direct she was. Yikes. And as their modern day truce begins to happen, we watch them relearn each other in ways they never knew possible. It can be truly heart touching. And bloody hot! I have two words for you: angry sex. There are some really angry sensual scenes that had me glued to the pages.

Win’s eyes blazed, his mouth parting as he breathed. “Answer me.” His free hand went to the fall of his trousers. “It won’t change a thing. Getting me to fuck you won’t change a thing.”

Believe me when I tell you that where this scene goes next, you want to follow. As the story plays out and we learn more about what exactly the demon wants with Win, we find out that Win isn’t so squeaky clean in the being honest department himself. Major plot twist ahead! I love how it all played out, and was hooked.

As always, the secondary characters were very well developed. With Jack Talent, a shifter, accompanying Winston on his trip, there was also Mary Chase, a GIM (Ghost in the Machine) accompanying Poppy… both with their own mysterious agendas. With these two, we have a beautiful setup for the next book’s HEA. The tension and antagonism between the two is delightful!

As a human, Win is a somewhat beta hero who is deeply conflicted with his fear of not being able to protect his wife. He’s not as dynamic and showboaty as Archer and Ian in the previous books, but he definitely rises to the occasion. He worked for Poppy, and their romance worked for me, but what stood out the most for me is the side story involving Jack Talent. And the way Winterblaze concludes, it will leave you wanting to know more! Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series continues to be one of my favorites, and I need Shadowdance immediately. I might have shed a tear when I learned it will be another year until book 4′s release. When you get a taste of the teaser they include at the end, you’ll be shedding a tear right along with me.

wlp4star

Comments
  • Isalys February 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Oh yay!!! A great review for what sounds like a great book! I’ve really enjoyed this series and I think it’ll be really refreshing to read a romance that begins with an already married couple…who just need to work on their marriage!

    I love where Kristen Callihan is taking this series and can’t wait to read this one too! Thanks for the review, Spaz :)

    • Spaz February 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      It’s soooo good, you will definitely be pleased! There is an awesome twist! It remains one of my favorite series :D

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