Wow! That's all I can say. I first read Kresley Cole years ago when A Hunger Like No Other, the first in the Immortals After Dark series, came to bookstores. I loved it, but I could never get into the whole "race" thing that took over the next few books. I could see how an Olympic quest would be interesting, but for me, I just couldn't get into it. Fast-forward to this past year when I saw Cole at RWA Nationals in Atlanta. She won her 2013 Rita Award and was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. I admit I paid special attention because Unbroken, my paranormal romance, was nominated for the Golden Heart. I remember looking up at her on the stage after I'd lost in my category, wondering if I'd ever even publish, much less be nominated for a Rita.
Though Unbroken is still on hold, I have published--and, I'm happy to say, I've read a new Kresley Cole book. :) And it has me blown away and shown me what I have to strive for. The book is MacRieve, about a damaged werewolf and his innocent half-Lorean mate. It is truly awesome. Knowing I was uncertain about the series, I picked up MacRieve reluctantly, but I couldn't resist the cover (isn't he yummy?!?!). And what was between the covers was far more pulse-pounding than the guy staring out at me from the front of the book! Here's the description from Cole's website:
A BEAST IN TORMENT
Uilleam MacRieve believed he’d laid to rest the ghosts of his boyhood. But when a brutal torture revives those ancient agonies and destroys his Lykae instinct, the proud Scot craves the oblivion of death. Until he finds her—a young human so full of spirit and courage that she pulls him ba ck from the brink.
A BEAUTY IN CHAINS
Seized for the auction block, Chloe Todd is forced to enter a terrifying new world of monsters and lore as a bound slave. When offered up to creatures of the dark, she fears she won’t last the night. Until she’s claimed by him—a wicked immortal with heartbreaking eyes, whose touch sets her blood on fire.
A FULL MOON ON THE RISE
With enemies circling, MacRieve spirits Chloe away to the isolated Highland keep of his youth. But once he takes her to his bed, his sensual mate becomes something more than human, evoking his savage past and testing his sanity. On the cusp of the full moon, can he conquer his worst nightmare to save Chloe . . . from himself?
You know me, I like dark and gritty and emotional. MacRieve was certainly a roller coaster ride in that respect. The characters felt and felt deeply. What woman wouldn't want to heal MacRieve's wounded soul? The things he has endured were horrific, but you can't heal what you don't know, and Chloe can't break down the walls her mate has put up between them. Cole has a talent for throwing together characters who are diametrically opposed, in the most believable ways, and then letting their differences wreak havoc on them. I thought MacRieve was as wounded as he could get at the beginning, but oh no, the worst was yet to come. His story touched my heart and made me cry. And though I typically focus more on the male character, Chloe tore at my heart too. I even enjoyed the soccer talk (Chloe's a pro soccer player), though I pretty much hate sports. :)
So, run, don't walk to pick up MacRieve. There's even an audio excerpt on Cole's site. This book has certainly turned my eye back toward this series. I guess now I'll have to see how long it will take me to read the other books. ;)