I just finished The Darkest Pleasure. So far, it is the best of the series.
Lots and lots of spoilers in this.
Danika, who we have met in both the previous stories, was ordered by Cronus to be killed by Aeron along with her sister, mother and grandmother. Some of the Lords kidnapped them while the family was vacationing in Budapest. They released them after locking up Aeron so he could not go after them hoping that they could find a way to deal with the kill order and Aeron’s bloodlust somehow.
In the last book Aeron had found her but Reyes stopped him and told Danika to run. At the beginning of this book, Danika is on the run having split up from the rest of her family and is working under the table at a diner in L.A. She has lost contact with her family. She is still plagued by nightmares that she has had all her life of demons, hell and heaven. She usually paints them to purge herself of the dreams but has not been able to while she has been on the run. Danika started taking self-defense classes or rather kick an assailant’s ass classes ever since she left the fortress in Budapest. She also cannot stop thinking about Reyes, one of the Lords of the Underworld.
Her newfound defense skills come in handy when two Hunters (fanatical enemies of the Lords of the Underworld who believe ridding the world of them will get rid of all evil) come into the diner and one grabs her. She’s a bit jumpy since her abduction so she breaks his nose, gets fired and takes off before she can get arrested or worse, the Lords find her. The other Hunter chases her down and she ends up killing him accidentally with a pencil she was carrying when she shoved it in his throat…OOPSIE. She goes to her house to get her stuff before taking off again but the Hunters end up capturing her.
Reyes who is bound by the demon Pain has been obsessed with Danika since the first time he saw her. He has chained Aeron the Keeper of Wrath deep beneath the earth to keep him from hurting others since his demon has taken over he is fixated on killing Danika and her family. Lucien finds out the Hunters have Danika so the warriors save her and Reyes takes her under his care even though he suspects the Hunters have talked her into being Bait and may be working for them now.
Reyes thinks he will never be able to have a relationship with Danika because he has always had to have pain inflicted upon him in order to get his rocks off. In the past he had taken lovers involved in BDSM but his lovers always ended up turning cruel to where they would enjoy dispensing pain upon others even innocents. He’s afraid that Danika will be horrified by this.
There is a scene in the book that I had trouble reading. Well, I had a lot of trouble reading the parts where he slices and dices himself. Reading the details would make me clench up and give me the heebie-jeebies but this particular scene was so vivid that I had to skip to the end of the scene where Danika catches him in the act of stabbing himself while he masturbates. Ugh…my leg still hurts with sympathy pain thinking about it. If I had a penis, it would hurt too.
Things heat up when they discover Danika may be the second artifact, The All-Seeing-Eye (they already have the Cage of Compulsion) and now they have to save her from Hunters, demons in hell and other places and even from Cronus.
She is reunited with her family and learns that her paintings are part of her gift of being the All-Seeing-Eye.
Meanwhile, there are lots of other things going on in the story.
Paris has met a woman who he thinks is the love of this life but she died when Hunters shot at him and the bullets hit her. He summons Cronus thinking he can bargain with him but Cronus questions him and asks him why he would choose a woman over curing his friend Aeron. Cronus leaves Paris to think about it; then in the midst of a crisis when Aeron gets loose from his chains and is about to kill Danika and some of the other Lords, Cronus tells Paris that he has resurrected Sienna and has her waiting up where he lives and that he could keep her for himself if Paris chooses to save Aeron instead. In the end, because it was such a crisis moment, Paris chooses Aeron.
Aeron has a new friend named Legion who found him when he was under the earth. Legion reminds me of Gollem from Lord of the Rings. Legion has green scales though and seems to worship Aeron and gets offended when Lucien calls it a boy. Legion tells them that she is a girl and she thinks she is pretty. OOOKAY then!
William, Anya’s immortal friend has moved in because Cronus burned his house down. He continues to crack me up. He reminds me of one of those big dumb pretty boys from a Disney movie except he isn’t dumb. He is just really confident.
Off to read the next book in the series…