Clay Bennett is a powerful DarkRiver sentinel, but he grew up in the slums with his human mother, never knowing his changeling father. As a young boy without the bonds of Pack, he tried to stifle his animal nature. He failed...and committed the most extreme act of violence, killing a man and losing his best friend, Talin, in the bloody aftermath. Everything good in him died the day he was told that she, too, was dead.
Talin McKade barely survived a childhood drenched in bloodshed and terror. Now a new nightmare is stalking her life--the street children she works to protect are disappearing and turning up dead. Determined to keep them safe, she unlocks the darkest secret in her heart and returns to ask the help of the strongest man she knows... Clay lost Talin once. He will not let her go again, his hunger to possess her, a clawing need born of the leopard within. As they race to save the innocent, Clay and Talin must face the violent truths of their past...or lose everything that ever mattered.
Clay Bennett, a leopard changeling and a DarkRiver Sentinel, has intrigued me ever since he was introduced to us in Slave to Sensation. His exotic looks of coco skin and dark hair provided a perfect backdrop to showcase his intensely green eyes. While his dark exterior conveyed his mood and monosyllable speech told the world to back off; something just grabbed me from that very fist moment and never let go.
Clay's pain, we learn, is rooted in his self proclaimed failure to save his childhood friend, Talin McCade, from the horrible torture inflicted upon her by her stepfather. These glimpses into the past are laden with darkness yet the light of the friendship that Clay and Talin shared during their childhood was beautiful. It made you root from them, for their love, even when the future, so tainted by the blood of the past, made that love seem impossible.
Talin McCade, seemingly back from the dead, needs Clay's help to find her missing children that are disappearing off the streets. A Guardian of the Shine Foundation, Talin is a social worker for orphaned children. Her love and possessiveness of these children remind me of Changeling Pack, and their fierce protectiveness of their own. This trait immediately bonded me to Talin. This same possessiveness is projected on Clay from the start. God help any other woman who looks in his direction with anything more than civility. Although she is terrified of Clay she sucks up her pride and asks for his help. Clay can no more say no to Talin than he could stop the rain. Although he is furious over her secrets he still intends to help Talin and ultimately make her his in every changeling way.
I particularly loved all the scenes and dialogue devoted to Clay and Talin. Since Silence was not an issue here, Clay could immediately become possessive. From the very first page, we are alone with them together and silently offering encouragement while they battle to rise above the blood of the past and love each other without pain or punishment. The heat between the two was tangible and the love scenes were hot and emotionally intense.
The entire novel is peppered with cameos from our other beloved mated couples. Judd seems to have thawed out more while Faith is still learning to understand her emotions. Her protectiveness of Clay was really sincere and an interesting catalyst in regards to Talin understanding the depths of her feelings. Sascha's development was the most intriguing. She has really become `human' and out of all the changelings and Phy additions to the DarkRiver and SnowDancer packs, Talin, a human, related to her the most. We also got to see a lot of Dorian which sets up his story, Hostage to Pleasure, in the fall of 2008.
This addition to Ms. Singh's Phy/Changeling series was superb. The depth and clarity she brought the characters was truly awe inspiring. Mine to Possess now resides peacefully on my Keeper Shelf beside the first three novels in the series. I'll be waiting impatiently for her next.