His Darkest Embrace

His Darkest Embrace - Juliana Stone My Thoughts

“His Darkest Embrace”, opens 3 months following the action packed conclusion of “His Darkest Hunger”, jaguar warrior shifter Jagger Castille has been living in the sultry jungles of Belize in his animal form. He has no inclination or desire to return to civilization or his family, as he is dealing with painful memories from his experience while serving in the military special ops in Afghanistan and Iraq. He therefore attempts to find solace in what is his natural habitat, hunting and living for the most part under the cloak of darkness.

While exploring a cave in the mountains of Belize Eagle Knight and shifter Skye Knightly loses track of time and when she emerges the sun has already set, she is alone in the dark jungle unable to find her way back to base camp. To make matters worse, she is being hunted by ruthless mercenaries of the DaCosta jaguar warrior clan who are under orders to bring her in alive. Skye's family are the protectors of a magical portal that has the potential to unleash the demon underworld into the human world, causing untold destruction.

The DaCosta and Castille jaguars are mortal enemies and when Jagger finds the two nasties about to brutalize and take Skye against her will a lethal battle ensues between the shifters. As a black jaguar warrior, Jagger is extraordinarily strong and deadly when provoked. He quickly dispatches the two terrorizing Skye but when he shifts to human form she flees in fear. He finds her, injured, and takes Skye to his lair for protection and to give her time to recuperate.

Ms. Stone creates a fascinating heroine and species in Skye, powerful and proud, eagle shifters have one Achilles heel, they need the sun’s glow and warmth to activate the special majics required to enable them to change. Skye is a golden beauty and when the sun rises, she is able to shift into a magnificent, golden eagle, a fierce raptor, and lethal warrior. Warrior jaguar shifters of the past had hunted the eagles to near extinction she therefore sees Jagger not as her savior, but as a mortal enemy. While Skye is strong kick ass heroine, she also has vulnerabilities.

Much to her chagrin Skye eventually realizes she has no choice but to work with Jagger to accomplish her family legacy of finding and sealing the portal. So with mercenaries and worse hunting her, they set out on a long trek through the jungle to find a contact of Jagger’s who may be able to help locate specific cave that is foretold to house the portal.

Jagger and Skye's story is rife with sexual tension and conflict. Despite a simmering mistrust they are inexorably drawn to one another and Ms Stone really ramps up the sensuality in this story. As two shifter warriors their intimate encounters are intense, passionate and animalistic. Jaguar warriors have a special soul deep bond with their mate and once a union is forged they feel an overwhelming need to protect. However, Jagger meets his match in Skye, she is stubborn and independent, and isn't about to be told what to do. It's a HOT match..

The plot of "His Darkest Embrace", is extremely fasted paced and action packed as Jagger and Skye race against time to find and retrieve the portal before Cormac O’Hara, the powerful and evil sorcerer readers met in “His Darkest Hunger”. Cormac, knows Skye holds the key to finding the portal and he wants her and it, badly. There is also another evil demonic presence haunting Skye, manipulating the outcome of their quest.

What I really loved about this story was that Ms. Stone involves the key characters introduced in “His Darkest Hunger”, they help to advance the plot but do not overtake the storyline. She is building her world with just the right amount of momentum, and introduces two new characters who play a pivotal role in a climax that was as explosive as the ending of the first novel. I'm know they will likely have key roles in the next book, "His Darkest Salvation," Julian's story (I can't wait!). I also found Ms. Stone’s graphic imagery outstanding, the lush darkness of the jungle and her portrayal of the advancing evil that the jaguars and animal life can feel rippling in the earth. I could literally envision the jaguars shift from animal to human and Skye to her eagle form. There are back to back awesome scenes in this novel and I hope other readers love it as much as I did.

I found “His Darkest Embrace”, to be sexy, at times bittersweet, action packed and suspenseful. If you enjoy a dark, erotic paranormal romance, you may like to give this story a try. Ms. Stone gives enough of background in her narrative to allow new readers to enjoy the novel in isolation, but IMHO the read would be a much richer experience if “His Darkest Hunger” was read first.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat Level: Hot, Sexy and Passionate