For millennia the struggle between light and dark, between the upper and lower realms, has been policed by a secret group of warriors culled from every fabric of existence. They are both otherworld and human, male and female. They are known to each other as the League of Guardians. Their pledge, to protect the line between dominions and make sure neither side grows too powerful. If they should fall, so shall the earth, the heavens, and hells. And there will be no more.
Wrong Side of Hell © Juliana Stone
In paranormal romance readers are introduced to a wide assortment of shifters: wolves, jaguars, lions, snakes, bears, etc. etc. Well, how about a hellhound shifter? Meet Logan Winters, a being of Juliana Stone’s otherworld whose job is to retrieve souls that are beyond redemption and escort them to District Three–one of several levels in hell–for processing. Logan is an elite hellhound shifter, born from the depths of hell and destined to straddle the realms, he is bad-ass, but one seductive dude. His animal is the size of a horse with a mouth full long razor sharp teeth, he is ferocious with an unearthly howl. You don’t want to mess with this guy shifted or otherwise! Logan is hard and brooding, and, he likes Canadian whiskey so that increased his appeal several notches in my book! lol
Logan is approached by Askelon or Bill, as he prefers to be called, who is a Seraphim (angel), a powerful ancient being. If you read Stone’s Jaguar Warrior series, you will know Bill was featured in the climax of His Darkest Salvation. Logan was a member of the clandestine League of Guardians and has unpleasant memories related to his involvement with the League and Bill. Logan is none too pleased to see the Seraphim or hear his reason for paying Logan a visit. It involves a young human woman who is linked by prophesy to the upper and lower realm. Kira Dove has a destiny to fulfill and dark evil from the lower realm has altered it. She has been murdered and her consciousness plunged into Purgatory or the gray realm. Bill wants her back and will do whatever it takes to see her rescued. Kira is not unknown to Logan, he saved her once before when she was a young child, he knows her scent, her soul and he alone can find and save her. Logan doesn’t want any part of the mission but Bill holds all the cards and Logan has no choice but to do his bidding and enter a realm hellhounds don’t have permission to breech.
Kira Dove has endured an extremely traumatic life. She has been haunted by the vision of an enticing, handsome savior since the age of 10 and also experienced nightmares of a frightening beast. She straddles the line between light and dark and her visions of doomsday and the otherworld caused her wealthy family to believe their daughter was mad. They had Kira committed to a mental institute that proved to be her own personal hell. Stone has a penchant for sculpting tortured heroines who survive significant abuse and pain. Their experiences strengthen them but because I want to see the heroine avenged the characterizations are effective in increasing my investment in the author’s strong, dark überalpha male heroes with their own set of complexities.
Kira’s battered body rests in the institute’s morgue and Logan is in a race against time to reunite her consciousness, trapped in purgatory, with her body before it’s too late.
Something thick and dull pounded against her skull and her gut churned in fear. Confusion didn’t even come close to describing the images that haunted her head. The things that had driven her mad years before rose to the surface and Kira backed away as the two shadows converged at the end of the alley.
They effectively cut off any means of escape, and for a second Kira struggled to see past the darkness that seeped from beneath their robes, pouring out like thick billowing clouds of smoke. She tried to speak but her vocal chords froze, and her hands clenched so tightly she drew blood.
The specter on the left made a screeching noise and pointed its arm toward her. “You.” Its disembodied voice cut through her brain. It hurt.She jumped as a growl erupted behind her. Kira whirled around and her fist flew to her mouth as she tried to squelch the scream that caught at the back of her throat.
A man stood, his tall length cloaked in shadow, though his eyes burned through the darkness, a fierce red that cut through the gloom.
She knew those eyes. She knew them well. They belonged to her savior–or at least that’s what she called him.
Wrong Side of Hell © Juliana Stone
Hellhounds are exceptional trackers and Logan finds a disorientated Kira who immediately recognizes him as the savior from her dreams, they forge an uneasy alliance. The author crafts vivid descriptions of a place manufactured from Kira’s memories of a better life when she was a young child. However, thick, swirling, gray mists wipe out all the color and beauty and bring frightening beings called trojans commanded by an evil bent on Kira’s destruction. Readers can expect a suspenseful, fast-paced and action packed read laced with intrigue and betrayal as Logan uses his formidable power to protect a woman he soon learns is fated to be his. Finding the way back to the upper realm is not an easy feat. I will say Stone pens great sexual chemistry, a hot mating and unique HEA for these two. ;)
Favorite characters Declan and Ana from the Jaguar Warrior series make a very brief appearance linking the story arc in the conclusion of His Darkest Salvation. I thoroughly enjoyed Stone’s introduction to her new League of Guardians spin off series and am excited to see where she takes Declan in his upcoming novel Wicked Road to Hell. Wrong Side of Hell can certainly be read as a standalone and the author provides a solid foundation for her League of Guardians series. Logan and Kira proved to be memorable characters.
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.