Enslaved in Shadows
Release Date: June 18, 2012
Publisher: Book Rhythm
Shadow Unit #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Book Source: Author
A man’s Past leads to his Future……
Agent Stone of the Shadow Unit’s job is simple, most days. Work in the Shadows, police his own Kind.
When an unwanted assignment turns out to be his darkest fantasy from the past, Draven can’t help but be conflicted by the memories of the past and his responsibilities in the future. But his decision has been made.
The Heart of a woman is Tested……..
Jes can’t let the tall dark agent back into her life.
How can she trust any man after what she’s endured. Years of abuse have broken her down and she doesn’t have room for more. The man she turns to for help hasn’t abused her physically but he’s tormented her emotionally. A past betrayal left her scarred, but also brought her life.
Can she accept him into her heart and trust him again?
One will survive and adapt, the other will realize hearts can be mended even if it’s a bit too late.
The road to forgiveness sometimes only brings more pain. Unexpected events set their lives on two separate tracks leading to one outcome. Lives will be changed and an emotional battle to save their souls will leave them both trapped and enslaved in their need for one another.
The story begins about five years in the past with best friends Jesminda and Belinda on a get-away-from-it-all trip to Belize. While relaxing at a bar, tall, dark and handsome Draven catches the eye of Jes and likewise, Draven is inexplicably drawn to Jes. This leads to an evening of hot jungle sex, where names are not allowed. Draven, a wolf shifter, feels too close to human Jes, and decides he cannot afford more than one encounter.
Forward ahead to present day, where Draven is part of an elite supernatural enforcement team set up to keep the paranormal appearing normal to the outside world. Unfortunately, there is a bit of bad going down and a human drug runner, Marcus is kidnapping vampires to drain them of their blood. Draven’s team is in charge of protecting Marcus’s ex-wife and her child – Jes and her five-year old girl, Faith.
The first few chapters of Enslaved in Shadows lays out a fairly complex world full of supernatural beings of all shapes and sizes. Some we’ve seen before in other books, but others I’ve never read about before. The world is not unfamiliar, but Ms. Eden has added her own flavor and interpretations to some traditional creatures, together making her own unique platform. There is a bit an information dump to wade through to get to a comfortable understanding of some of the going-ons, but the result is a successful creation that holds much promise.
Now on to some of the characters that inhabit this world of shadows… I will start with my favorite: team member Royce. He is a mysterious man that has the ability to read minds. He also has blue blood that can heal even the most serious of injuries. Although his mind reading was annoying at first as he constantly spoon-fed Jes and Draven’s thoughts to each other in hopes of getting them to talk, he quickly grew on me. He is cocky and can be pushy, but he also demonstrated compassion. I look forward to more of his unique perspective and humor.
As for our hero and heroine… Although Draven and Jes share a lot of passion and extremely sexy scenes, I had some difficulty connecting with the pair as a couple. I think it’s because Ms. Eden does such a convincing job writing Jes’s character. Jes is a broken woman. She has been abused and misused so horribly by her ex, Marcus, that she cannot connect with Draven in any way emotionally. Even when Draven marks her (and does so without consent), a time that should be amazing, she is reminded of the horrors of her previous relationship. She couldn’t hear “I love you,” without thinking about how Marcus said those words while beating her senseless. I was so convinced of Jes’s mistreatment, it was equally as hard for me to accept Draven in Jes’s life. Even though they may be meant for each other, he is aggressive and cocky. He makes important life decisions without consulting Jes. Their mating scene was not romantic to me at all. I totally identified with Jes’s fear and pain. It infuriated me that Draven hurt and claim her without even asking.
And I wasn’t a huge fan of Draven. Not only was he a bit too forceful with Jes, at the beginning of the book he was in a long-term relationship with Melissa, and he treated her pretty poorly. She may be a bitch, but he breaks up with her in front of everyone, without any warning, as he takes off on a work assignment. Maybe we didn’t get enough glimpses of his life with Melissa before Jes was in his life, but I felt his behavior was pretty ugly. Melissa’s part in the story felt off, and the conflict she added felt unnecessary.
One other character I have to mention is the mysterious Solon. He appears out of no where and we discover he’s been Jes’s “guardian angel.” We know nothing about him other than he has great power. He is another unique character that I would like to learn more about.
I do feel I need to mention that this book has some disturbing torture scenes. There is an interrogation of a traitor at the Unit’s headquarters, as well as some torture scenes involving Jes. These scenes are extremely graphic and unnecessarily gory. I found them very upsetting.
I make my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, but I will say that I wasn’t a big fan of the ending. The story is left open-ended, and I’ve stated this before, I am not a fan of this type of ending. It’s not a cliff-hanger; we aren’t waiting on the edge of our seats to see what happens and who survives, but rather it’s like Enslaved in Shadows is the first chapter of a larger plot line and nothing has been resolved. However, with that said, I think that the beginning of book 2 will be explosive and will suck the reader in immediately!
Enslaved in Shadows is a good start for this first time author. I felt that the writing could have been stronger – more developed, and at times the voice and tone of book changed from scene to scene. However, I enjoyed the world that has been created in Enslaved in Shadows. There are new paranormal creatures that we haven’t seen before. Mysterious, hot men – all with stories begging to be told. The story is suspenseful and has an interesting overall plot. I look forward to find out where the path leads next.
Liked it, but I had some issues (B)