Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Published by Berkley Books on June 13th 2017
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that's exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him. Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence--her mind clear of all emotion--Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That's what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious...and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan. Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed...
My undying love for Kaleb was tested after meeting Valentin Nikolaev in Silver Silence. I don’t know if my uber-powerful psy can fight against the power of this honey sweet bear with is big laugh, who can be “sneaky like a cat” to work his way into the heart of the woman he loves. I just want to hug him! *sigh*
Valentin started winning me over as soon a Silver opens her door to find the Alpha bear who can sneak into her high security apartment simply because he wants to see her and get under her skin just a little. He calls her Starlight or his Sunshine and sends her gifts of food — food is very important to a bear — all of which she tells him to stop doing but bears apparently don’t hear so well when “no” is involved. Valentin pushes Silver because he knows she is strong willed and he really likes when she pushes back. We can easily see that this big bear has his heart set on Silver and not just because she is pretty. He has a great deal of respect for her. He sees everything about her as exceptional and attractive, from her efficiency and her passion for her work to her kindness to the little cubs in his den. And he will do anything to make her see him as a future mate. How can you not love a man who when Silver has a moment of doubt says You are Silver Fucking Merchant, of course you can.
From her first introduction, Silver was pure Silence and as a protege of both Kaleb Krycheck and Ena Mercant, she was all efficiency and ruthless businesswoman. Yet you can also easily see from the beginning that Silver is softening to Valentin, even though she acts cold and standoffish like a good psy, but she never calls security or threatens him in any way or even tells him to go away like she means it. She is not as bothered by his constantly showing up at her apartment as she tells him she is nor is she bothered by her calling her Starlight since she lets it slide. She does realize that her acceptance of these actions as just being Valentin seemed to start about the time that the E-psy’s started the honeycomb and which is bleeding emotions into all the psy’s.
Silver is attacked at the beginning of the story making it necessary for Silver to go somewhere safe. We don’t know if this has anything to do with Silver being the director of the newly established worldwide Emergency Response Network run under the new Trinity Accord or is this more personal. Valentin offers sanctuary to Silver with the StoneWater bears because who would be stupid enough to try to attack a den full of bears. Bears might appear a bit clueless but it is all part of that “sneaky like a cat” facade.
While Valentin is angry that Silver’s life is in danger, having Silver in Denhome is exactly what Valentin wants. He is hoping that he can use their time together in his cat-sneaky plans to wheedle his way into her heart and bed and that he can get her to feel at home with his clan.
Silver is trying to recover while not being overwhelmed being surrounded by the always curious bears, but someone is targeting humans and Silver needs to keep working to mobilize EmNet. Instead of working a wedge between the three factions, these attacks keep focusing the attention on everyone working together.
Yeah, yeah, yeah… action…story plot…let’s get back to how adorable these two are. I had a hard time picking a favorite scene. Valentin shows his kind heart while taking care of his clan, and while he plays at being a humble brute, Silver sees the intelligence behind the facade and is quite impressed. And while Silver plays Psy and says she is Silent, we can see that Valentin is breaking down those walls. She teases him and feels safe with him. I had to laugh at one point when they try to out scary each other to get information on Silver’s attack.
Whether they are working as a powerful team to support Trinity or the clan, or just playing with the cubs in the den, you are going to love Valentin too because…well, bears! You just won’t be able to help yourself.
Apparently not the least discomforted by the physical liberties she was taking, Valentin said, “Then let’s talk about the decision you have made. In case you’ve forgotten, it’s the one to do with sex.” Heat in his voice, his fingers working muscles that had turned to honey. “How about we start with kisses and ice cream?”
Silver mumbled her response. “Kisses aren’t on the menu. Neither’s ice cream.”
“I thought you wanted to experience sex.”
“I think you have the wrong idea about intimate skin privileges, Starlight.” His breath brushing her ear, his husky words a near-tactile caress. “We could do the physical act, but that’d teach you nothing about why sex can cause people to do insane things.”
Silver made herself open her eyes, though she didn’t shift from her position curled into Valentin–despite the fact that she couldn’t recall pulling her legs up onto the bed, or moving her hand from this thigh to place it over the steady beat of his changeling heart. “Explain.”
“Sex and emotion,” he murmured. “That’s the explosive combination. People kill for love, die for love. But even if it doesn’t get that far, affection is a prerequisite to intimate skin privileges in my book. Kisses have to be on the menu, along with a million other small acts that build bonds no one can break.”
Silver ignored the latter part of his statement; it was too dangerous. “I don’t understand affection.”
“Let me show you.” A deep rumble. “Take a chance, Silver. If you’re going to test your adult control, do it for real. Nothing halfway.”
Silver was so drowsy, her muscles so relaxed, she was certain she was already breaching Silence. However, she couldn’t bring herself to move away. The strength of Valentin’s hands, the heat of him pulsing against her, it was…good. “You want to convince me to live with emotion.”
“Never exactly hid that.” His jaw brushed her temple, the stubble against it abrasive but not in any way painful. What was disquieting was her need to feel it again. Even then, Silver didn’t withdraw.
She’d made her decision, would not be held hostage to childhood memories and the horror of her mind being crushed by a building roar of noise. She needed to learn who Silver Mercant was without Silence. For this experiment, she would assume nothing. Not even that her life depended on purest Silence, a truth she’d been taught as a child and never before questioned.
Her grandmother would’ve never lied to her about that, would’ve never hobbled her, but given all the recent revelations about the flaws in Silence and the Psy Council’s manipulation of their people, she had to assume the Ena herself might not have had all pertinent information. Most important, she’d stop fighting an undeniable truth: That the only reason she’d permitted Valentin to touch her was that he caused her to react in ways no one else ever had.
Rough, tough Valentin Nikolaev had gotten under her defenses from day one.
“You have to know one thing before we do this.” She deliberately moved her hand to the bare skin of his forearm.
Valentin shuddered. “An uncivilized bear might take that as permission to break the rules about not touching you skin to skin, but since I’m a gentleman bear, I’m going to ask.” Deep and rough, his voice scraped over her skin like he was rubbing his stubbled jaw against the most sensitive parts of her. “Skin contact okay now?”
“Yes, but that’s not what you need to know.” His skin was hot under hers, the dark hairs on his arms giving it a texture that wasn’t smooth but wasn’t rough, either. He had hair on his chest, too–she could feel the springiness of it under her cheek through his shirt.
“There’s a high chance I’ll return to Silence.” Her grandmother might not have had all the information, but one truth no one could change; pre-silence, Silver’s sub-designation had been considered extinct.
No Tp-A had ever survived to adolescence, much less adulthood.
“I’ll take that risk.” Valentin’s right hand curved around her throat. “But I should warn you, too, Starlight,” he whispered against her ear. “I’m playing for keeps.”
Her pulse sped up, her skin flushed as blood surged to the surface in a primal response to the gauntlet Valentin had thrown down. Her first instinct was to stifle the physical response under a wave of Arctic ice…but she was Silver Fucking Mercant and she’d made a decision, would see it through.