The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

The Darkest PromiseLords of the UnderworldGena ShowalterParanormal RomanceHarlequin HQNJune 13, 2017eBook432

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn’t allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him – until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they’ve forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever.

I enjoyed this book so much. It’s been a while since I’ve read an adult paranormal romance, and this did not disappoint! The characters—all of them—were very well fleshed out, even ones without their own bodies—like the demon of Misery. Part of this is because even though I haven’t read the first 12 books (though now I’m definitely going to—and the back of the book actually summarizes each of the previous books), I got a sense of the history and complexity of each character.

Most importantly, Cameo and Lazarus were both awesome on their own as well as a couple. She is a kickass fighter with a smart mouth and the heart-wrenching and isolating problem of dealing with the demon of Misery that pains almost everyone around her, except Lazarus and her friend Violet, who was also awesome. There comes apart in the second half of the novel when Cameo is so overcome by Misery’s influence, and it really hit home with me, as someone who has struggled with depression. It made me connect with her and Lazarus more than ever, though by that point I was already very invested.

Lazarus is… sexy, sarcastic, strong, sometimes misguided, not someone you want to cross, and a guy with a secret heart of gold. He’s everything you want in a main male character, and he doesn’t disappoint. His own struggles, and the way he struggles to help Cameo is wonderful and often downright hot. And the way he defends his relationship with her with the other Lords of the Underworld makes me want to stand up and cheer for him. Who doesn’t love a warrior who cares so deeply for his woman?

The plot was intriguing, complicated (but not too much so—though at times the nature of the antagonists are hard to immediately grasp), and had so many moving parts that were masterfully woven together by the author. The Darkest Promise‘s level of excitement and engagement never lull, and I can only say that keeping that up in the 13th book in a series can’t be easy, but Showalter does it. It’s definitely a very entertaining read, and I whole-heartedly recommend it.

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