Series: Immortal Guardians #9
Published by Self Published on August 20, 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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Delve into the most eagerly anticipated book in New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) Immortal Guardians series.
Seth has led the Immortal Guardians for thousands of years. With them fighting by his side, he has protected humans from psychotic vampires, defeated corrupt mercenary armies, defended military bases under attack, and more. But the latest enemy to rise against the Immortal Guardians has proven to be a formidable one, wielding almost as much power as Seth. His goal is simple. He wants to watch the world burn. And he will use every means at his disposal to accomplish it. Seth and his Immortal Guardians have succeeded thus far in staving off Armageddon despite heartbreaking losses. But they have never before faced such danger. Seth has only one wish: to protect his Immortal Guardians family and ensure the continuation of humanity by defeating his foe. But then Leah walks into his life and sparks a new desire.
Leah Somerson has suffered losses of her own. It has taken her a long time to rebuild her life and find some semblance of peace. Then one night a tall, dark, powerful immortal with what appears to be the weight of the world on his shoulders stumbles into her shop, and everything changes. Peace and contentment are no longer enough. Now she wants more. She wants to find happiness. She wants to erase the darkness in Seth’s eyes and replace it with love and laughter. She knows he’s different in ways that make most fear him. Even some of his immortal brethren keep a careful distance. But Leah will not. Nor will she shy away when danger strikes.
“Fans of terrific paranormal romance have hit the jackpot with Duvall and her electrifying series.” —RT Book Reviews
“This series is earth-shattering awesome and Dianne has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Each of the stories… has been heart-stopping, intense, humorous and powerfully romantic.” —Reading Between the Wines Book Club
“Full of fascinating characters, a unique and wonderfully imaginative premise, and scorching-hot relationships.” —The Romance Reviews
“Fans of paranormal romance who haven’t discovered this series yet are really missing out on something extraordinary.” —Long and Short Reviews
“Paranormal romance fans who enjoy series like J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood will definitely want to invest time in the Immortal Guardians series.” —All Things Urban Fantasy
Dianne Duvall never disappoints. We wanted an earth-shaking novel for our most beloved character and she has certainly delivered on all the action, suspense and romance we have come to expect.
Seth has been the leader of the Immortal Guardians for centuries. He lost his human wife and children a millennia ago and has since made a new family with his beloved Immortals. And like any father-figure, Seth takes on all the responsibility for their safety and happiness onto himself.
As we have seen since Night Unbound, the danger to Seth’s family grows with each new attack, each having been orchestrated by Gershom, who a being as powerful as Seth and one with a unknown vendetta against Seth. A vendetta he is willing to throw the world into an apocalypse for if it will bring pain to Seth. Gershom is determined to destroy Seth and is willing to destroy his Immortal family to do it. Each time Seth fails to capture Gershom, the pressure is weighing heavy and heavier on Seth’s shoulders. We have seen that lack of sleep is affecting his judgment, his performance, and his overall happiness. Anytime we see Seth in recent books, he is somber and almost bleak from his own self-flagellation, and with only the rare smile and those are mostly for his adopted daughter and granddaughter, Ami and Adira.
When Seth meets Leah, we see for the first time a real spark of joy in Seth and it is amazing. The joy he feels when he is around her is like a drug to him. It’s like throwing a light switch the way she lights him up. As soon as he sees her, you can feel all his self-torture drain away and for those precious moments when he is focused only on her, Seth finally knows happiness. Seth, and the audience, are so swept away by the happiness she brings out in him, that we all suffer this oppressive dread and anger when his phone rings bringing him crashing back to reality.
Of course, the workaholic in Seth tries to deny himself the pleasure of time with Leah. I thought at first that it was simply that Seth doesn’t know how to relax after centuries of jumping to protect the Immortals in need but the more you read you see that Seth doesn’t believe he deserves to step away from his duty and he feels guilty for taking even a moment of quiet pleasure for himself.
I loved that once his people started to realize Seth’s growing feelings for Leah and how he was denying himself the time to be with her, David, Aiden, Zach and even former-other Jared are all stepping in to take care of Seth’s growing Immortal family and field the phone calls and emergencies that drain so much of his time and energy so that Seth would have no excuse to spend time with her. Even Chris Reardon and the network are doing what they can to protect Leah and keep her safe so Seth can be happy. They are all forcing Seth to have a life outside of just being their leader. Even little Adira kept taking Seth and Leah’s hands and joining them, making them hold hands whenever she was around. They believe Adira has precog abilities so it may simply be that she knew they would fall in love but it was adorable nonetheless.
I have to admit that when I first read the description of Seth’s book, I feared that the story plot would fall into my most hated paranormal story plot where the deceased spouse is reincarnated and our hero doesn’t understand why he is so drawn to this new woman until he realizes that she’s his dead wife and then they must be together. I. HATE. THAT. STORY LINE! But if it turned out that way, I had been determined to try to enjoy Seth’s story regardless. But of course, I should have known that Dianne would not disappoint me and drag us down that rabbit hole.
I was soooo happy when it turns out that even someone as old as Seth, who has been mourning and celibate for a millennia, can meet someone new and learn to love again.
I loved that Dianne didn’t make Leah immune to telepathy, like Ethan. Seth simply didn’t read her thoughts. It was a matter of respect. He didn’t want to do that to her and he refused to invade her privacy. He even warned off all of the telepaths that if they read her mind, they would face his wrath. David does read her mind at the beginning but only to make sure she is not mind-controlled by Gershom since Ami and Adira frequent her store.
Another amazing thing is that Dianne chose Leah to be human. Yes, I said human. Leah isn’t a gifted-one. There are many reasons for that, especially since we will finally get some of the answers about who Seth, Zach and the others are and about where gifted-ones come from. All those things that she found a logical reason not to divulge in Night Unbound. While everyone is shocked that Leah is human, Seth does not shake his fist at fate and lament that Leah would grow old and die. Remember his first wife was human as well. He still falls in love with Leah knowing that their time together would be limited and he even brought her to meet a human/immortal couple so she would understand what the future held for them. While Seth can extend her life with his healing, she would not be immortal. But since neither Leah nor Seth is infected with the virus, I am wondering if there might be more babies to join Adira and little Michael in future novels.
I also loved that Leah is not a girl. She is a mature 46 year-old-woman. She has a confidence that we wouldn’t find in a 25 year old heroine. And her age is one of the reasons it takes so long for them to get beyond friendship. Leah doesn’t want to be Seth’s cougar girlfriend, since she believed him to be in his late twenties or thirties, at best. Seth doesn’t object since he fears an attack by Gershom if he knew how much Leah mattered to Seth. She understands his grief because she lost her husband and child and she understands why he feels he has to shoulder the whole burden on himself but she also stands up to him and doesn’t allow him to do it. Seth loved that she never felt intimidated by his size or the power that radiates from him.
Now we get slightly spoilery, so if you don’t want more, don’t click the box.View Spoiler »My only shock is that Dianne goes a bit Hollywood in this story. By that I refer to those miraculous story lines that Hollywood uses where the hero gets beaten and has no lasting bruises, defuses the bomb with seconds to spare or walks away from a car accident with no injuries. After tormenting us for books watching a beloved character slowly fall into madness because there was no honest way to save him, it surprised me that she would finagled things in this book to give us what we want rather than letting them follow a natural course.
There were a few instances in this story where things magically worked out and I don’t want to go into detail, but I will say that at one point in the story, Gershom is in a position of power against beloved characters. Gershom hates Seth and wants to bring about the apocalypse. What better way to do this, then to slaughter those Seth loves and let Seth’s rage bringing about total world destruction. After his wife and children were killed, Seth goes on a rampage of killing and is only stopped by the combined effort of the others and David. But that was a millenia ago, and Seth is much more powerful than even their combined efforts would be able to control. But instead of unleashing Seth’s rage upon the world, Gershom wastes energy before a big fight against Seth by teleporting several of Seth’s loved ones to lay a trap for Seth. As evil and full of hatred as Gershom is, it was very Hollywood for Dianne to pull the punch rather than stopping him before he could kill someone. Remember, he slit Ami’s throat while she was holding little Adira just to gain a head start running from Seth. Truly, he would only have needed to grab one loved one to lay a trap, anyone else could have been fodder.
Now, don’t think I am upset that Dianne didn’t kill off beloved characters. Go Hollywood! It just surprised me that after writing Gershom to be so evil in his attempt to hurt and destroy Seth, but when he finally had an opportunity to bring Seth to his knees, Dianne pulled the punch rather than having his attempt thwarted by Seth, Zach or Jared.
Just so you know, while Dianne might have pulled a punch at mass slaughter, the war with Gershom does get violent and bloody and there are casualties. Just not as many as there should have been considering how the story played out. « Hide Spoiler
This book is soooo good, I had to immediately read it again.
Thankfully, I had read several notes from Dianne that Seth’s book is not the end of the Immortal Guardian series as the ending has a let’s everyone get together and celebrate vibe like you might get at the end of a trilogy. Dianne, and we as a fandom, are having too much fun with these characters to walk away from them so soon.
This is still my favorite series and I can’t gush enough about it. Seth and Leah’s story is another triumphant addition. Everyone who likes Urban Fantasy and paranormal romance should be loving Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.
I couldn’t decide if I should just tease you or give you my favorite scene and really introduce you to Leah, so I will simply say, She made me do it. 🙂
Seth loosed the foulest curse Leah had ever heard him use.
Frowning, she lifted her head. “Is that someone at the front door?” It had sounded as if the bell had rung inside the room with them, not out in the living room or hallway.
“No,” he grumbled as he reached up to rub his eyes. “It’s someone at this door.” He sounded pissed. Looked it, too.
When he started to sit up, Leah planted a hand on his chest and used her position on top of him to push him back down again. “Ignore it.”
“I can’t.” Easing her off him and over to his side, he sat up again. “They’ll kick the door in if I do.”
Rising to her knees, Leah straddled him once more and pushed him back down. “No they won’t.” The two of them had just shared something amazing, something Seth had both needed and enjoyed. She wasn’t about to let whoever was ringing the doorbell drag him off to work. He deserved some time to himself, damn it.
And with her core resting atop his length, she could feel him already hardening again beneath her. So the quicker she sent the intruder on his or her way, the quicker Seth could make love to her again. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle it.”
Some of the irritation left his face as he arched a brow. “You will?”
Smiling, she scooted down to the foot of the bed and hopped off. “You think I can’t?”
“I think I won’t let you if you plan to do it naked.”
She blushed as his heated gaze swept over her.
The doorbell rang again.
Grabbing Seth’s black T-shirt off the floor, Leah pulled it over her head. The neckline was too big, exposing one shoulder. But her breasts were covered and the hem reached halfway down her thighs. “You see? No longer naked.”
His eyes flashed brighter with desire.
Leah drew her hands down her body. “You like seeing me in your shirt, don’t you?”
“Hell yes, I do. It makes me want to peel it off and–“
She pointed at him. “Hold that thought.” Crossing to the door, she swung it open…and looked up. At least a dozen or so males–all with black hair, brown eyes, broad shoulders, and a lot of muscle–were crowded into the hallway outside. And not one of them stood less than six feet tall.
“Wow.” He wasn’t kidding,” she murmured, remembering David’s words the night he and Seth had come to her store for the first time. “You guys are tall.”
For some reason, her words made them tense.
“Who was right?” Gershom?” Roland demanded. He and Marcus were closest. “What are you doing here, Leah? Where is Seth?”
Leah was a little surprised he remembered her name from the store but gave it little thought. Every one of the men appeared tense and held weapons. Swords. Short swords. Daggers. Sais.
What exactly did they think the two of them had been doing in here?
The thought made her smile. “Seth is unavailable at the moment. May I take a message?”
If anything, the polite words made Roland’s brows drawn down farther. “Not good enough. Let us see him.”
Leah glanced at Seth, who lounged–gloriously naked–on the bed, beyond their sight. She faced the men once more. “I don’t think so.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist,” he retorted. When he would’ve moved forward and pushed his way inside, Marcus grabbed his arm.
“Roland,” he cautioned.
Roland turned on him. “The ground was shaking just moments ago, Marcus, and you know that only happens when Seth is pissed.”
The ground really had shook? “I knew it!” she exclaimed in triumph. “I knew I felt the earth move! I just didn’t want to say anything because it sounded so cliché.” Then she frowned. “Wait.” Roland thought that only happened when Seth was pissed? “What exactly do you think has happened?”
“I think you’ve harmed Seth,” Roland declared furiously.
Leah stared at him in astonishment, then motioned to herself. “I’m naked under this shirt!” What the hell harm could she do to Seth while in the nude?
Roland’s face darkened. “And my wife was naked when she stabbed me in the heart with a dagger. Step aside.”
Leah gaped at him. “Sarah stabbed you in the heart with a dagger?” She had only met the woman a few times in her store but had liked her.
“No. My first wife did.”
“Oh. Did you cheat on her or something?”
“No, she cheated on me.”
Leah frowned. “She cheated on you, then stabbed you in the heart? What a total bitch!”
The statement seemed to take him by surprise.
“You see?” Sarah called from somewhere out of sight “I told you your first wife was a bitch!”
Marcus leaned forward and caught Leah’s eye. “We all know Seth is here. We all know he’s in that room. A minute ago the ground was shaking and it was storming so badly outside that the wind nearly peeled the shingles off the roof. The fact that Seth didn’t answer the door himself has only heightened our concern. Please, step aside and let us see him.”
Sighing, Leah looked over to Seth. “Well, I guess you’d better cover up, buttercup,” She said with resignation. “We have company.”
But Seth no longer seemed annoyed. In fact, he seemed amused as he dragged a corner of the sheet over his lap.
Backing up a step, she swung the door all the way open.
The men in the hallway tensed as though readying for battle.
Several gasps, eyes widening as they noted the scatted clothing, comforter, and pillows on the floor, then located Seth’s long, muscled form reclining on the bed. Though the sheet covered his goods. it left his chest, arms, and one leg bare. His long hair was mussed from her fingers. A fine sheen of perspiration glistened on his bare skin. He looked sated and relaxed. Only a complete imbecile would fail to guess what they had been doing.
Stunned silence engulfed them.
Leah shifted her weight as she waited for someone to break it. Seth looked positively edible, sprawled out before her like a banquet, and she was eager to partake again.
When the quiet stretched, she tilted her head to one side and met Seth’s gaze. “It storms when you make love?”
His eyes still held a golden glow as he sent her a sheepish smile. “Apparently. I think because it’s been so long.”
After thousands of years of celibacy–and considering how power the man was–she supposed it shouldn’t surprise her that he had rocked the very earth and sparked a storm when he had finally unleashed his passion.
Turning back to the large warriors in the hallway, Leah flashed them all a grin. “Well then, boys, you’d better put your rain boots on. Because monsoon season is coming.”
Their mouths dropped open just before she shut the door in their faces.
Seth burst out laughing.