On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve read Lex Chase before and this sounded much darker than her previous work. This indeed turned out to be the case, with betrayal evident at every turn until at last, everything becomes right again. The world building is excellent, with the different species wonderfully realised. Sevon himself was a wonderful puzzle. His struggle with abuse masquerading as love and his confusion was heart wrenching. The bad guys were all very, very bad, though in a few places where their deeds feature it felt a trifle thin, with a bit more telling than showing. Still, it was an excellent read and a great start to what promises to be a wonderful new series that I look forward to reading.