Series: Hidden Legacy #4
Published by Avon on August 27, 2019
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.
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…
In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.
But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.
To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.
Little sister Catalina comes out swinging in her spinoff story. Sapphire Flames is full of excitement, action and plenty of magic and most of all, it leaves us desperate for more.
Catalina was noted as a Prime when House Baylor underwent the trials to be declared a House and her designation was noted as a Siren. Simply, Catalina can draw anyone in under her spell. It is dangerous to her because those she draws in become obsessed with her to the point that they would tear her apart to have a piece of her. Catalina has spend the majority of her life trying to bury that part of her and keep it from leaking out. As a child, adults and children alike were obsessively drawn to her.
Sapphire Flames takes place three years after the trials which declared them, House Baylor. A lot has changed in three years, Nevada is no longer head of House Baylor (and that will be be explained in the story) and Catalina at 21 is now head of the House. Three years is also how long a new, emerging House is protected so they have time to built itself before other House can attack. This is especially noted when the insurance company cancels all their policies as their deadline comes closer. Everyone is waiting to see what comes next now that House Baylor is no longer under the protection of emerging Houses.
We saw a glimpse of grown-up Catalina in the novella Diamond Fire. Now in Sapphire Flames, after years of hiding away to protect herself, Catalina, with the guidance of Connor Rogan’s mother, has learned how to control her Siren abilities. She has also learned what it means to be Head of a House.
Augustine Montgomery needs Catalina’s help and then tries to coerce her into becoming a vassal House to House Montgomery. This is the same thing he tried with Nevada and failed, and now he is trying it with Catalina. She turns him down flat and she also finds out that he turned away Runa Etterson, the Prime Venenata who removed the poison from her sister’s wedding cake. Runa’s mother and sister have been killed, and no one believes it is an accident. It is House warfare and Montgomery won’t help. Catalina considers Runa a friend and without her help, everyone at Nevada’s wedding would have died so she offers the help of Baylor Investigations.
With their probation period over and God knows what about to descend on them, now isn’t a good time for House Baylor to step in the middle of someone else’s House War, but Catalina can’t just walk away. What she didn’t expect was that Alessandro Segredo would also be involved somehow.
Alessandro had been brought in for Catalina’s trial because he is able to negate other magics. Alessandro was also rich, handsome and the subject of Catalina’s teenage crush. Nothing makes sense in this case, so why not another mystery why the Alessandro turns out to be more of an assassin than playboy. We also learn that Alessandro’s powers are way more than just negating the magic of others and this throws a crazy new element that we haven’t seen before.
As Catalina and Alessandro dig deeper, they begin to unearth someone’s very dirty little secret, one they are very willing to kill to keep in the dark.
I was spoiled as I was a late comer to the Hidden Legacy series and the entire trilogy was already released. This means I binged on the audiobook version for approximately 40 hours straight. Now I am left with just an introduction into Catalina’s story arc and she has caught me in her siren song. I want more Catalina!!
If you haven’t read the Hidden Legacy series, you could start here without being lost. But, I would definitely recommend you just start from the beginning since the writing of Ilona Andrews is magical even without the paranormal elements.
“So, about this business of me lying,” he said.
You’ve got to be kidding me. “What about it?”
“Care to explain what you meant?”
“I don’t want to talk about it right now.” I felt like I was running on the edge of a sword as it was.
Alessandro fixed me with his stare. Magic flared around him, flashing with orange for a fraction of a moment. “I’m afraid I have to insist.”
I stopped and crossed my arms on my chest. “Or what?”
“You’re just going to throw it out there and walk away?” The stalking killer was back in all his glory. “A bit cowardly, don’t you think?”
“Fine, let’s talk about it. When Benedict’s goons chased me into that mall, I beguiled four of them. As they cheerfully murdered their friends for me, they told me this charming story about how they killed a lawyer in his own home. They put a gun in his mouth, pulled the trigger, and left him for his wife and daughters to find. They killed him with no remorse, collected their payment, and then went about their lives, fishing, saving for their kids’ college, and doing whatever else hired killers do in their off time.”
“And you think I’m just like them.”
“That’s precisely my point. You’re nothing like them. At first, I thought you might be, but it made no sense. You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You’re a Prime from one of the oldest and most respected Houses. You have a noble title. You’re smart, funny, handsome, charming and rich. If you see a fast car you want to drive, you buy it. If you find a woman you like, you seduce her. You could be anything. Every door is open to you. The world is you playground.”
I should’ve stopped, but he’d started it and now I was on a roll like a runaway train. “So I thought to myself, why would a man with your opportunities become a hired killer? It could happen if you were an adrenaline junkie. There probably comes a point when the cars, yachts and women no longer provide enough of a thrill. Perhaps taking the life of another human being is the only way you feel alive.”
His expression was flat, but his eyes were drowned in orange fire. “So that’s how you see me?”
“A man like that would be fundamentally selfish, Alessandro. He would put his enjoyment above the lives of other people. He wouldn’t give a half-starved dog a treat. He wouldn’t pose for a picture for an elderly woman just to make her happy or comfort a teenager lost in guilt and grief. He wouldn’t fight his way through an assault team to save a girl he barely knows. He wouldn’t promise her that he would stay with her to see things through. Because a man like that only cares about himself. Why are you doing this Alessandro? What is it you want?”
He just looked at me.
“Will you answer the question for once in your life?”
He face was resolute. “You have family obligations. I do too.”
“What does that mean?”
He didn’t answer.
“I hate you.” The emotional dam broke and words tumbled out. “You walked into my life and screwed it all up. I’ve wanted you for so long, and now you show up, and you flirt with me, and you hold me to protect me, and you tell me things like ‘I’ll stay with you as long as it takes,’ and all the while I have to constantly check myself because I’m scared to death that if my control slips, I’ll turn you in to a lovesick zombie. I know you’re trapped somehow and all I want is for you to be happy, Alessandro. Tell me what’s going on, and I swear I’ll do everything I can to help you. Tell me. It’s driving me insane…”
His big body braced mine against the wall. I saw his eyes, amber and heated from within, he bent his head, his lips touched mine, and I tasted the faint hint of champagne…
He kissed me.
It felt like lightening. It tore through me in one blinding jolt and then I was on fire. There was nothing hesitant or gentle about it. He kissed me like he needed me to breathe. I grabbed his jacket and pulled him closer, fierce and desperate, my body screaming for more of him. It was reckless and stupid, and I knew we had to stop, but nothing in this world could make me let go.