Kinked by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #6
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8), Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 5th 2013
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Two opponents must confront the cause of their obsessive fury in the latest Novel of the Elder Races… As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own. To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.
I was hesitant going into this novel because Aryal wasn’t my favorite character in previous books (to be honest, at times I down right disliked her). I’m happy to say I worried for nothing. The book was phenomenal. It’s darker and more gritty than the previous ones, but it didn’t feel forced or carry unnecessary drama.
Aryal has made it her mission to find out everything she can about Quentin Caeravorn, one of Dragos’ new sentinels. She knows he’s a criminal and she’s determined to uncover all his secrets, then take him out. She refuses to work with him, especially since she is convinced him being in the tower puts Dragos in danger. She doesn’t trust him and isn’t willing to play nice, even though that’s what she should be doing.
Quentin just wants Aryal to leave him alone so he can settle in as a sentinel. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening. When she crosses one final line, he decides he’s going to have to kill her. She hasn’t given him any other choice.
When they come to blows down the hall from where Dragos’ infant son is sleeping, he finally loses patience with them. To get them to work together, he sends them on a mission together. They’re to do reconnaissance in Numenlaur, an Elven Land that was recently attacked. Neither wants to work with the other, but Dragos makes it clear they have no choice.
Both Aryal and Quentin are surprised to find they’re physically attracted to each other. Their chemistry spikes off the charts and, even though they hate each other, their bodies want nothing more than to get dirty…with each other. But Quentin hasn’t embraced his sexual desires and Aryal doesn’t have the patience to help him release them…or does she?
While battling an unforeseen enemy in a land they’re unfamiliar with, they also have to battle their feelings for each other. If they can resolve their differences they just may find the other half of their souls…
I’m going to say something shocking here. Wait for it…
I loved Aryal.
No joke, I straight up loved her. In previous books she came across as judgmental and rude. Which she was. But she was also loyal, independent and capable. I admit, that shocked me. Harrison did an excellent job of making her a three-dimensional character. Her reason for investigating Quentin – aside from the fact that they rubbed each other the wrong way – was to protect Dragos. She doesn’t believe in much, but she believes in him. She isn’t willing to take it on faith that Quentin is a good guy, especially with all the rumors flying about his criminal activity.
More than anything, though, her self-awareness is what makes her so easy to relate to. She knows who she is, inside and out. And she’s accepted all the parts of herself. The good and the bad. She doesn’t shy away from her feelings or play coy. Because she doesn’t have to. People will take her as she is..or not. Either way, she doesn’t care. She’s content to live her life, and damn anyone who has a problem with that.
“You can dress it up in those designer clothes you wear at the bar, and turn on the charm, but strip off all the clothes and the charm, and what lives underneath is raw and dark.” Her voice was flat and quiet. “You’re never going to really find yourself the way you’ve been going. You’re always going to feel restless and dissatisfied, until you realize that the games you’ve been playing don’t feed the animal that lives inside of you.”
She looked down at him, and there was a strange expression in her gaze, something he’d never seen in her before. “There isn’t anything wrong with the darkness, you know,” she said, almost kindly. “It’s just as beautiful as anything else.”
In this respect Aryal is the more mature of the two. Quentin carries a lot of guilt with him, which makes him harder on himself than he needs to be. Rather than embracing everything he his, he’s hung up on the mistakes he’s made. Aryal is the one who helps him let go of those.
Not only does she help him accept all the parts of himself, but she doesn’t him get away with anything in the meantime. She straight-up calls him on his crap, forcing him to look outside himself.
Aryal said, sounding exceedingly aggrieved, “You’re like some kind of high-maintenance girlfriend. I have one of the worst days of my life. Hell, I might be crippled. I might never fly again. That’s beyond my worst nightmare. I don’t know if I can live with it, and yet somehow tonight has become all about you. What about what I need?”
“What do you need?” he whispered.
She said tiredly, “I could use a hug. And you’re the only person around who can give me one. So put out, will you?”
Though Aryal was my favorite character here, Quentin was no slouch. He’s strong and valiant, and cares deeply for those he’s accepted as his. He accepts all of Aryal, which I think soothed something inside of her as well. Though she was comfortable with herself, she was also lonely. To have someone who sees all of her and is not only willing to tolerate her, but in fact loves all of her was a balm on her soul.
Harrison brings anther fast-paced, action-packed action sequence. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the mystery to be solved. While the characters and love story were gritty, so was the overall story-arc. There were times I teared up and others when I flat out cried.
Harrison brings us a rich tale full of drama, love and two characters who are kinked just enough for each other.
5 out of 5
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