Addict (Hunter #2; Thieves #7) by Lexi Blake
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment
Genre: Paranormal/UF Het Romance
Tags: Paranormal – Vampires, Werewolves, Demons. UF, Romance, New Heroine, Series, Contemporary Setting, PI, Action, Suspense/ Mystery
Length: 308 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
In order to destroy a legendary monster and save the royal family, Kelsey must make a deal with a devil…
When Kelsey Owens returns home to Dallas, she is a changed woman. After months of training with Marcus Vorenus , she has more control over her abilities. She’s ready to start her new job, even if it means dealing with the King of All Vampire and his partner, Devinshea Quinn. Her first assignment, however, will force her to face her past. Grayson Sloane is in trouble and she has to find him.
With the help of Gray’s brother, a full empath demon, Kelsey tracks her one time lover down. Before she knows it, she’s pulled into Gray’s undercover operation in a demon sex club and sitting across from a Duke of Hell. Abbas Hiberna plans to use her city to test his new drug, Brimstone. It doesn’t just give supernatural creatures a high. It also leaves them vulnerable to demonic persuasion.
When the king’s own men begin to turn against him, even the royal family is in danger. Keeping them safe will put Kelsey in the duke’s crosshairs and test her fledgling relationship with Marcus. With her new life crumbling around her, a dark secret about her former lover is revealed and Kelsey will have to choose between saving Gray Sloane and the revenge she’s waited a lifetime for.
**SPOILER REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ PREVIOUS SERIES BOOKS
Kelsey Atwood (now Owens) is back from Italy after her dramatic exit at the end of Ripper and she’s in her new role of Nex Apparatus for the Vampire Council. Vampire academic Marcus Vorenus is not only her trainer but she’s taken him as her lover. Kelsey is calmer, more in control and not drinking to keep her emotions and reactions in check. She now knows she is not human, she’s a rare she wolf/Hunter cross.
“So you’re some kind of superwolf?”
“I’m not a wolf, exactly. I’m also not human. I’m kind of a freaky combo. I’m really good at killing stuff, so here I am.”
Kelsey also thinks more about her brave, loyal, and deceased biological father, Lee Owens, and less about the violent and barbaric Hunter father who raised her and dogged her thoughts previously. Her friendship with her best friend, Liv, is still in tatters, as is her relationship with one of her brothers, Nate. Both of them helped her end up under the control of Daniel Donovan, the King of all Vampires, and she wasn’t happy about the way they went about it. I agreed with Kelsey. They went about it all wrong, especially Liv, but pretty quickly Kelsey forgives her when she becomes a client – Kelsey was a PI before everything went down. I wasn’t keen on the way Liv behaved around coming back into Kelsey’s life or Kelsey accepting her so readily but it is what it is. Liv’s lazy fiancé, Scott, has disappeared after getting work at Brimstone, a new nightclub in town that caters to paranormal outliers but is also trying to mimic Ether, and Liv wants Kelsey to bring him back.
During her investigation into Scott’s disappearance one of Scott’s friends attacks Kelsey at Ether. Alan is a dog shifter and ordinarily doesn’t have much power at all, but he nearly rips Kelsey’s face off and would have inflicted more carnage if he wasn’t at Ether. When Henri – vampire doctor and academic – performs an autopsy he finds that the whole of Alan’s pre-frontal cortex, and thus impulse control, has been wiped out because of a new drug called Brimstone… which means all roads lead back to demons.
Meanwhile, Kelsey is approached by a demon who says he’s her ex’s brother, ‘Mathew’ – a demon can never give you their demon name. Part of the reason is they can always be summoned once you know their demonic name which leaves them exposed. According to Mathew, Grayson is in trouble and needs her help. He gives her an address and makes a time for her to meet him there. The address Mathew has given Kelsey is for Brimstone. So her case ties in with her ex and his family, Livs fiancé and Ether. Because he’s a demon lord’s son, Mathew has an in at the club for Kelsey, and Grayson is there as Mathew predicted. Gray looks different, a bit sullen, angry, and he has a reputation of being with a different athletic brunette every night – a mirror of Kelsey. The reality is that Grayson is actually working a case in the club that involves the demon owner, Julian Winter, and his father and he wants Kelsey gone and out of danger asap. While Gray is none to happy Kelsey is there it’s also apparent that he still loves her, his animated dragon tattoo still vibrates only for her, but they’re separated.
Grayson has had a huge makeover in this book. He was given time to develop further, but he’s going to be a work in progress and there’s now a slower burn happening between Kelsey and Gray. Later events in the book also add a complication to their relationship and, of course, she’s with Marcus for now. In the last book there were immediate declarations from Gray of love and desire and for a wedding and babies with Kelsey. It was overwhelming, but there were reasons and forces behind it all. Gray is a halfling demon with prophetic talents and a dysfunctional family, but Kelsey was understandably hurt and left him. No matter the separation, Kelsey always thinks about Gray, even when she’s with Marcus. Adding to this, Marcus has a prophesised companion in his future, although he isn’t sure that will ever happen. Still, he is deeply committed to Kelsey and claims her as his mistress – a respected position in vampire society – and he calms her mind as all academics can with a rare paranormal Hunter.
There’s tons of action in this book and great urban fantasy and paranormal world building, as per usual. Dallas is under snow this time because the demon Jack Frost, Julius Winter, has come to town. The snow sets an eerie and peculiar backdrop for the book. There is also a dubious legal drug manufacturer of Brimstone who is in bed with the demons. It’s the perfect drug to bring the entire world into chaos via addicted and anarchic supes. The demons also want to cause the downfall of the vampire royal family – meaning Daniel Donovan and his partners, Zoey and Devinshea, and their children, particularly four year old Evangeline as she is also a born consort. The demons believe that will tear apart Marcus and Daniel because certain people in the know believe Evangeline is meant to be Marcus’ future consort. Kelsey wants to help Sloan and to help her king and his family, which has now become her family. She even wants to help Liv with her missing boyfriend, as much as she doesn’t like him.
Everything built toward a strong ending in this book with more threads getting closer to being tied up and others opening right up, and I am really looking forward to what happens next in Sleeper, Thieves #8. The demons continue to hang around and now they have ramped up the stakes because of their dislike of contracts with the Vampire Council. Kelsey’s love life needs some working over too. I also believe there may be some explanation about Neil, or, more precisely, Neil’s time in Hell with Stewart. His escape.
The wonderful mix of paranormal and contemporary humour is back in full force. It feels like Ms Blake has settled nicely into the blended family of her Thieves series, just like Kelsey has become more comfortable within the Donovan-Quinn and Owens families.
“Do I want to know what the Easter Bunny does to small children?”
Donovan shook his head firmly. “No, you do not. Ever seen Monty Python? ’Cause someone on that show has met the little fucker, let me tell you.”
When I looked down, there was a crowd of demons. They’d come from Hell to witness the death of the king. They were in all various forms. Some were red skinned, with scales showing and horns aplenty. Some were in their human forms, including one well-known politician, and didn’t that explain a whole lot.
I am well and truly Team Grayson after this book, and that’s saying something because he annoyed me immensely in book #1. Ms Blake brought out his best this time. Oh, I’m sure he’ll piss me off again next book, or the one after, because I can count on Lexi Blake to toss character’s behaviour around and manipulate them to suit the scenario of the book/series she is currently in. She is a past mistress of knowing how to toy with readers’ hearts and emotions to the max, and as a passionate reader I applaud it.
Kelsey got past her ‘I’m not good enough’ self doubt after a while and managed to kick some arse along the way. Her paranormal power is awesome, albeit in a fledgling state. I loved Zoey in the original five books, she is such a strong woman, and I really do like Kelsey quite a lot. She’s got what it takes but she’s not long discovered who and what she is and that’s being further developed. Her relationship with Lee, her deceased father, has become important to her and spurs her on, as does her relationship with young Lee Donovan-Quinn. And bless Uncle Zack for being the family glue that binds, as well as Jamie, when she needs it.
Speaking of Lee Donovan-Quinn, he is something else. I do not like children in my adult reading, Cindi can attest to this, but this nine year old is special and readers of the series will know why. Even so, Ms Blake wrote him with a touch of extra love and care and charm. He was very organic to the story and as roguish as he is already, he is totally a nine year old. When Lee was on page he could make me laugh or get teary. He’s a scene-stealer. He’s delightful and I adore him.
This series straddles the Earth plane, the Fae plane, the Hell plane and the Heaven plane, so there is a lot going on between them all. There are prophecies in this series, especially in this book, which are interesting but frustrating all in one, but I’m hopeful Ms Blake can make them work well. Much like the sometimes used and vague, ‘make the right choice, Zoey’ and now ‘make the right choice, Kelsey’, I hope for the same with the series characters. A newcomer, Jacob, came along and threw out some waffley prophecies, I seriously felt like someone had been into the hash brownies, and Grayson is now headed off with Jacob because while Jacob is an angelic prophet, Grayson is of the demonic persuasion and that has never really happened before, well we could cite Lucifer, but who’s going there. Right? 🙂
If you’re thinking about reading this series you have to start at the beginning, or you could try from Ripper but I honestly don’t advise it. There are so many names and people and events and details you will miss. Definitely the emotional connection won’t be anywhere near the same if you start here or Ripper, and if you are a sucker for details and emotional depth, like I am, you’ll need to start at the very beginning with Steal the Light.
Ripper and I had a bit of a tumultuous time, it is the beginning of an offshoot within a series, but everything is back on track and solidified with Addict. The Thieves series is pretty darned awesome as a whole. It has so many pluses. There are plenty of things going on that I look for in most UF/fantasy or paranormal books: Action – check. Good UF/fantasy and/or paranormal world building – check. Romance – check. Great characters, people you can love and hate – check and check. An overarching storyline being developed and realised – several checks. Entertaining storytelling – check. Raises the heartrate – check. Don’t want to put it down – check. So many boxes ticked.
I’m well and truly sucked into this series now. I pre-ordered Sleeper just after I finished Addict because I knew Sleeper was finally coming – it’s been a delayed release. I nervously await what’s going to happen next for Kelsey, Grayson, Marcus, Trent, the Donovan-Quinn family, Neil, Stewart… the list goes on. Much like the prophetic tapestries, there are various trajectories this series can take and I look forward to the ones it takes me on. 4.5 Stars!