She has tempted many men. but never found her equal.
Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death - a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.
But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable
forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining..
Lords of the Underworld Book Two
Centuries ago, a band of warriors and guardians to the Gods attempted to teach their charges a lesson. Pandora, while a gifted warrior in her own right, was thought by the warriors to not be qualified to handle the task of guarding dimOuniak - a box made by the Goddess Oppression to contain the horrors of the world. To prove this fact and avenge their wounded egos, the warriors stole the box from Pandora and opened it, thereby unleashing it's bound demons upon the world. As punishment for their arrogance, the Gods cursed each warrior with a demon and to be forever bound to one another. Thus, the Lords of the Underworld were born.
Lucien, keeper of Death, has managed to present and maintain an image of total self control. He is a being of utter calm for if his temper were to unleash, no one would be safe from Death. As leader and former Captain of the Guard to the gods, Lucien has always felt immeasurable guilt for having not only led his fellow warriors on the hunt to steal dimOuniak, but he was also the one to open it's lid and condemn them all to an eternity bound to it's evil contents.
As keeper of Death, Lucien is bound to the task of taking souls to their respective afterlife. When Death first entered his body, Lucien killed indiscriminately for two hundred years while trying to control the compulsion. Still a bit feral but in control, Lucien met and fell in love with a mortal. He learned his lesson quickly that to deny Death would only further the pain of the one marked. Knowing that he could never survive the loss of another loved one, Lucien brutally maimed himself to drive off any potential interest from females. And for the last few millennia, the tactic worked until the day Death met Anarchy.
Anya, the minor Goddess of Anarchy, will tell anyone who's listening that there's nothing minor about her. Daughter of the Greek Goddess of Lawlessness, Anya needs disorder to appease her naturally destructive behavior and she's discovered that petty theft and white lies are fabulous ways to curb her desire for war and destruction. But Anya wouldn't mind unleashing a little hell to get a rise out of her current obsession. Lucien is a walking contradiction that Anya can't seem to get enough of. His personal code of honor and kindness run contrary to the fact that he's possessed by Death and never had Anya seen a being so intent on living. Although her obsession is scarred way past the point of ugliness, Anya can't help but find him more beautiful for his imperfections. Cloaked by her shield of invisibility, Anya stalks Lucien until she finally can't take the need to touch and be touched any longer. Risking the wrath of the gods, Anya drops her shields and attempts to seduce Lucien into a kiss.
Of all the men in the world, no one is more surprised and suspicious than Lucien when a beautiful woman comes up to him with seduction in mind. He knows that he's heinous to look upon by the fairer sex and he can only assume that the beauty dancing before him is Bait. But when he catches her scent of strawberries and cream, Lucien immediately recognizes the beauty as the presence that has been stalking his every move for weeks: Anya. Knowing that she helped him, Maddox, and Reyes escape their death-curse, Lucien had instructed that research be done on this immortal to determine her potential threat. He knows that she is the minor Goddess of Anarchy and that her mother's reputation as a whore also branded her daughter with the same label. Lucian also knows that Anya is cursed yet how has yet to be discovered. But what he doesn't know and what frankly terrifies him, is why she's undoubtedly interested in him.
Lucien's contradictory behavior rears its ugly head when Anya finally gets to taste the warrior's luscious lips. One moment they're making out and all reality ceases to exist, in the next instant he's telling his buddies that she means little if nothing to him. Yet Lucien's nonchalance where her feelings are concerned does little to snuff her burning flame of desire.
Lucien's interest, although hidden behind his stoic demeanor, has piqued immensely with Anya's unveiling. But his passion is quickly cooled when he's summoned by Cronus, King of the Titans and recent usurper of the Greek Gods. Cronus demands that Lucien take Anya's soul and deliver her body to him. If Lucien tries to deny this command, Cronus will go after the ones he loves most: The Lords.
While disappointed by the order, Lucien resolves himself quickly to the task. Flashing into the spirit world - a gift from Death - Lucien is able to track Anya's travels. As an immortal, Lucien doesn't really think anything regarding Anya's ability to flash herself around the mortal world as well as the spirit world. Finding her quickly, Lucien tells Anya of his orders and how he has come to take her life. Feeling more than betrayed, Anya wastes no time informing Lucien that she'll do her best to kill him first. Thus the two careen about the world trying to kill one another yet it's all done rather halfheartedly and it's soon discovered that neither can deliver the death blow. Lucien instead tries to deal with Cronus by discovering that what signed Anya's death warrant was her unwillingness to give Cronus the All Key. Lucien, not knowing the full import of the All Key, tells Cronus he will get the All Key from Anya in exchange for her life. Cronus agrees on the condition that if Lucien can't retrieve the key, that he's still obligated to kill Anya.
Anya, ruled not only by her curse which was delivered upon her by a jealous goddess, also can't survive wholly without the All Key. It's a part of her, a gift from her father Tartarus the God of Confinement. Anya must either willing give the All Key to another and sacrifice her memories, strength and power. Or someone would have to kill her for it and thereby rendering her murderer powerless. Both options have dire results. Anya will not give the All Key to Lucien or Cronus who desires the All Key for the power it would give him. But Anya has another plan to eradicate her death warrant. The Lords are searching for Pandora's Box in order to protect their lives for if the box is opened and the demons sucked from their hosts, the Lords will die. But to find the box, they must first find four artifacts that will lead to the box's location. The Lords aren't the only ones looking for Pandora's Box. Cronus and the Titans are as well. Anya hopes to exchange the artifacts for her life without Lucien discovering her motives for she would be betraying the Lords.
Yet the longer Anya spends time with Lucien, the more she finds herself unable to betray him. For once in her life, someone accepts her for who she is, petty thief and all. And bonus, that someone is a hot immortal warrior that speeds up her heart and melts her soul. Meanwhile, Cronus is not letting up on his demand for the key. Noticing Anya's rampant desire for Lucien, he tells her that with each day she refuses to give him the All Key, Lucien will grow weaker and weaker until death will steal him from her. Crushed by the ultimatum, Anya still can't seem to stop herself from falling in love with Lucien but she can't admit that even to herself much less voice the words. To do so would mean she would have to give the ultimate sacrifice to keep Lucien. She must sacrifice the All Key.
I really enjoyed 'The Darkest Kiss'. Cecile! Charlotte! I don't know what you girls were thinking!?! I thought Anya was a blast to read. She's silly and fun with a backbone made of absolute steel that totally contradicts her vulnerability regarding her self image. She's also a strong, kick ass warrior that doesn't back down in any fight and challenges Cronus at every turn, defying his commands and out smarting his attempts to have her killed.
Anya was a perfect match for Lucien. A man so burdened by his past and his daily compulsions to lead spirits to their respective afterworlds. Quite depressing really. His mask of calm and detachment really needed to come crumbling down and no one could have done that better than Anya. For such a stoic warrior, Lucien was passion defined. He was eternally respectful of Anya's die hard independence and adapted to her needs with a readiness that melted my heart.
Another great aspect of 'The Darkest Kiss' was that it wasn't predictable or forgettable. I really had no idea how Anya and Lucien were going to conquer all the road blocks set before them. I also love the scenes where Lucien is trying to kill Anya. It sounds horrible but really, Anya bested him at every turn and he couldn't help but admire her. Never could they have killed one another. You knew that from the very beginning. But the halfhearted attempts were engrossing with edge of your seat fun.
The only downfall to the novel, in my opinion, and I can't explain too much without giving away spoilers but suffice it to say that I wanted there to be another outcome. I wanted Anya to have her cake and eat it too. I thought she lost some of her freedom whereas before, I really loved how she and Lucien were on equal footing with regards to their strengths and powers. But I think these issues are really only MY issues. Anya couldn't have been happier with the outcome. That I don't doubt.
Interested in 'The Darkest Kiss'? Click HERE for More Info!
Interested in Gena Showalter? Click HERE to Read my Review for 'The Darkest Night'.