Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night
Bowen’s book was, to me, just as riveting as book #2. Bowen was introduced to us in Book#1 (Lachlain’s lykae cousin, in mourning over his dead mate), and appeared again in Book #2 as one of the ruthless competitors in the Hie (a contest for preternaturals, akin to “The Amazing Race” but much more deadly).
Bowen, hoping to win the prize in Book# 2 (a “key” that would allow him to time travel twice), shows himself as a cutthroat unyielding competitor. Desperate to win the key, and go back in time to save his mate, he even goes so far as to seal some competitors in a cave together. Unfortunately for him, his biggest competitor, still in the game (Sebastian the vampire in Book# 2) defeats him, because he too, is fighting for his mate’s life.
Book 3 opens in the middle of the game, right at the section where he entraps the competitors. While he is unwittingly attracted to a mortal witch (Mariketa), and experiences a little one on one time with her in a tunnel, the intensity between them make him suspicious that she might be casting some sort of spell on him.
He cupped the back of her neck, staring down at her. As she gazed up in fascination, the amber of his eyes turned to ice blue. He seemed desperate to recognize something in her, and when he clearly didn’t find it, his hand on her began to shake. “Damn you, witch, I donna want another.”
Oh right, I forgot to mention, he’s Scottish
He has his eye on the prize, and quickly rejects her, determined to continue on with his goal. Intent on keeping as many people out of the competition as possible, he traps six of the competitors (including Mariketa) in what appears to be an abandoned cave. Assuming that they will find a way our of the cave eventually (via the strength of the demon competitors, or the magic of his little witch cutie), he forges on.
Appalled with his sudden change in demeanor towards her, and realizing he is locking her in (with the strangers), Mariketa casts a quick and dirty spell on him as he escapes the cave.
Mari glanced away from the entrance when met with silence. “He won’t regenerate from injuries,” she explained. “Unless he returns to me to have it reversed, the hex will eventually destroy him.”
The spell causes Bowen to be unable to heal from any injuries (essentially turning him mortal). He is weakened significantly, costing him the win. As they say…payback’s a bitch
Weak, and also entrapped elsewhere, he is finally rescued, but informed that the six he has sealed away (now a few weeks later) have not returned. Because of his ruthlessness, an unrest amongst the immortals is brewing, and unless the members are returned safely (especially the witch as it is prophesied that she is destined to be the most powerful), a war against his kind will ensue.
He returns to the “scene of the crime”. Despite his extreme weakness, he manages to unseal the cave, allowing the others to escape. While all of the trapped immortal competitors are in bad shape, his witch is dying (from repeated attacks by tortured incubi that were also trapped in the cave for centuries).
The majority of the book takes place as he helps bring her back to health, develops an unmistakable connection with her, and an understanding with the other competitors. Together, they trek their way out of the jungle, day after day, escaping danger, confiding in each other, and becoming friends (well some of them do…let’s just say Bowen’s competitive streak lives on, as a certain demon has his own personal intentions with the witch).
“Doona ever doubt my desire for you – if I truly was in a contest for the right to have you, I’d have bitten his goddamned throat free, then laid it at your feet in offer!”
Mmmmm…nice….Ok wait! Why do I find that sexy? LOL!
Realizing he is jealous of any male looking at her, and acting as though she is his mate, he becomes confused as to the nature of their connection. A mate is a once in a lifetime occurrence, and since he has already met his, it is impossible that there could be another. Or is it?
Her ruby lips were slightly parted as she slept. An exquisite, if small, female.
And, gods help me, she might be…mine.
Unable to stop himself, he eased down behind her. When he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her soft, wee body against his, she sighed. As a test, he nuzzled her neck. Her ear twitched again, and she curled into him closer. Even in her sleep she responded to him as if she were his.
A part that had me giggling, when he finds her special…ahem…”pocket lipstick” in her purse.
“I’m lookin’ forward tae touchin’ you there again.”
“Ha! Why would you think I would ever let you?”
“I happen to ken that you’re a lusty one. And I’ve taken away your wee alternative. Tossed it into a river.” As she gasped, he said, “Took me a minute to figure out what it was – a minute more to believe you actually had it. Then imagining you using it? Had me in such a state. I could scarcely run without tripping over my own feet.”
Mariketa, a sweet, good natured young and inexperienced mortal (awaiting to “turn” into an immortal) has her own issues. Despite being prophesized that she will be the most powerful witch, she’s actually not very good at all. Having also been abandoned as a child, and then again by the love of her life, she questions Bowen’s feelings for her. While she is extremely attracted to him, her insecurities, and his hang-ups (over his “mate”) cause them both much angst.
“What if we somehow worked through all the obstacles between us and were together for a couple of years or so, and you were given another chance to go back to your mate? There could be another key. Would you ignore it if it was handed to you?”
Emotions seemed to pass over his face. He scrubbed his hand across the back of his neck. “I could lie, but I will no’. I’d use it.”
Oh NO he didn’t!!
One step forward, two steps back with this couple. That, along with the number of times she is almost killed (she has got to be the unluckiest being on earth), turns this tale into an extreme roller coaster ride. You think it’s fixed…you think all is well again, and BAM! Another tragedy, another twist. And those pesky prophesies? No one ever actuality “gets” them until the damage is done….grrrr! Fantastic thrill ride!
It was also a great intro into new and exciting characters, and we even get better acquainted with past characters. Oh and Bowen…YUMMY!! He is domineering, he is ALL ALPHA, he is arrogant, but everything he does, and everything he says (well… almost), made me melt.
He stood and paced. Almost to himself he said, “Or what it’s like to know you’re no’ whole and never will be.” He ran his fingers through his hair then stopped to meet her eyes. “then with you everything looks different – feels different – and I…damn it, Mariketa, I want it. So bloody much.”
He crossed to her, clasped her upper arms, and pulled her to her feet. Gazing down at her, his voice breaking low, he said, “Doona bring me back to life only to destroy me once more.”
*sigh* I’m normally a vampire girl…but those werewolves….they are really…yeah…