Blog Tour (Book Review): Transcending Darkness by Airicka Phoenix

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Title: Transcending Darkness
Author: Airicka Phoenix
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 504 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis

One: Sign the contract.

Juliette Romero had a debt to pay, a debt that wasn’t even hers. But it was the only way to keep her family safe and all she had to do was sell her body and soul to the devil.

Killian McClary wasn’t called the Scarlet Wolf for nothing. He’d been the head of the McClary Organization since he was fifteen and had built a reputation for being a ruthless son of a bitch when it came to running the city’s underbelly, not to mention merciless when it came to punishing those who betray him. He didn’t believe in weaknesses. Only results. Juliette, with her shy smiles and hot little body was a weakness unlike any other and yet he was powerless to resist one more taste of her sweet flesh.

Two: Become his for a year.

When given the choice between her life or her body, what could Juliette possibly do, but submit to a man whose very name invoked fear in the hearts of others? She just never anticipated falling for his dark, hungry eyes and clever hands, or the way the beast in him made her feel oddly safe and cherished.

But what will happen when Killian’s dark past finally catches up to him and threatens the woman he can no longer imagine himself without? What will happen when both sides find themselves caught in a web of passion, lies and broken promises? Can Juliette tame the wolf or will her love for him devour them both?

Three: Don’t fall in love.

Boundaries will be crossed, loyalties will be tested and lives will be changed forever.

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I’ve found that lately I’ve more selective and picky when it comes to what books I read. I mostly read books by authors I already know and have read before, or a book that has been recommended to me by someone who has already read it and promises me it’s good. I used to just browse around Amazon, find a cover or synopsis that caught my eye, and then buy it, but after reading one too many books that turned out to be giant stinking piles of crap, I decided to stick to authors I know I like. So when I came across Transcending Darkness, I was a bit leery. I’d never read anything by Airicka Phoenix before, but I just couldn’t say no to that synopsis. It had everything I look for in a book, and I decided to take a chance on an author I didn’t know and I’m so happy that I did. There’s nothing I love more than being surprised by a book, and Transcending Darkness surprised me in the best way possible.

“You should’ve escaped whilst you had the chance. Now you’re mine, little lamb.”

The thing that hooked me in from the very beginning was the setup for the relationship between Killian and Juliette. The first night he meets her, Killian unexpectedly saves her from a violent and dangerous situation, a night that results in mind blowing sex. It was only supposed to be one night, and then Killian and Juliette would go their separate ways and never see each other again. But weeks pass and Killian can’t forget Juliette. So he decides to make her an offer she can’t refuse. He presents her with a contract. He’ll pay off the debt she owes to the man hell bent on destroying her, if she gives herself over to him for an entire year.

Juliette blinked, “A year? Why-?”

“Because that night wasn’t enough. Because I can’t stop wanting you and that is a problem. A year will ensure I have successfully fucked you out of my system.”

The man would have had me at “fucked”, but for poor Juliette this is a real crisis and she has no idea what to do. She has to think about this really really hard, and internally I was screaming at her “TAKE THE DEAL!!!!” The hot, rich guy is offering to pay off your debt to a man who wants to rape you, lavish you with gifts, and make you orgasm about 10 times a day and for some reason you don’t know what to do? Seems like a no brainer to me. Thankfully Juliette lets her vagina do the thinking and takes the deal. But while the initial basis of their relationship is sex, what develops is a surprisingly romantic relationship between them. More than a few times I found myself smiling and internally “Awwwww”ing at some of their interactions (the laser tag date being a favorite). And while there are definitely elements of violence and danger mixed throughout, the story was heavier on the romance than I expected, and as someone who LOVES suspense, I didn’t mind because the romance was written so well. He wants her, but he doesn’t want to want her. When everyone else looks at him and sees a monster, Juliette just sees a man. Because of the nature of his business, anyone that gets close to Killian is in danger. He knows Juliette is a liability but he just can’t stay away from her.

Eyes the infinite black of the night sky bore into her and carved deep grooves along every curve. She felt the weight of his desire wash over her like the slow rise of dawn creeping across the bed in the morning. It singed every inch of her.

“I need to breathe again.” Each word vibrated as though torn from his very soul.  They wrapped around her with their thorny edges and cut in deep. “I need to feel what it’s like not to be dying inside.” The tip of his nose grazed the side of her face lightly, barely even a whisper. “I need you.”

*releases long and extended dreamy sigh* I just love sexy, tortured criminals who can’t stay away from the women they love, especially sexy, tortured Irish criminals. Makes for great angst. And great sex.

While Killian was by far my favorite part of Transcending Darkness, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my other favorite characters, Killian’s sister Maraveet and Juliette’s sister Vi. I freaking LOVED THEM! They were the characters that added a little bit of humor and levity to the story. They were bitchy, self absorbed, in your face, and the voice of reason when Killian and Juliette needed their heads pulled out of their asses. But they weren’t just throw away side characters. They were important to the plot and they with important in understanding who Killian and juliette are. Their relationships were delved into making the story all the better for it. I could read a whole book of just Maraveet or Vi (and I have my fingers crossed for Vi getting her own book. PLEASE!!!)

At 500 pages Transcending Darkness, is quite a lengthy a read. While I never felt the need to skim, I do think it could’ve benefitted from being trimmed down some. The writing was a little long winded during some parts and I would lose my concentration. Overall though, I loved Transcending Darkness and had a hard time putting it down. I went in not knowing anything about the book and sometimes that’s the best approach. I had no idea what to expect and what I got was a well written love story about two tortured individuals who found each other in a violent world. For anyone who likes romance and wants to try something a little on the darker side, but not too dark, I would definitely recommend this. I am so happy I took a chance on an author I didn’t know because she proved that sometimes taking a chance pays, and this one paid off big time.

“How does it feel knowing you’ve tamed the wolf, little lamb?”

“I don’t want to tame him. I fell in love with him first.”

– Rachel

*An ARC was received from the publisher for an honest review.

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About

Self-proclaimed romance addict, Airicka Phoenix lives in a world where unicorns, fairies and mermaids run amok through her home on a daily basis. When she’s not chasing after pixies and rounding up imps, also known as her four children, she can be found conjuring imaginary friends to play with. Airicka is the prolific author of over eighteen novels for those who crave strong, female leads, sexy alpha heroes and out of control desires. She’s a multi genre author who writes young adult, new adult and adult contemporary and paranormal romance.

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