With his auburn hair and lean build, Kierland Scott looks more man than lycan. But his wolf instincts are aroused by the gray-eyed Morgan Cantrell. Not because of her beauty, but because of her long-ago betrayal, a fateful choice that made their love impossible.
Now, however, the two Watchmen must team up, leaving the placid Lake Country for the forests of Scandinavia. To rescue Kierland's brother, they must track a vampire - and use their combined shape-shifting sensitivities in a battle that will take them beyond death. As the two learn to seek together, they begin to understand the history that has driven them apart. But they will have to overcome death itself, if their shared passion is to have a chance.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Single Title/Series: TOUCH OF SURRENDER is Book Five in the Primal Instinct Series. While I had no trouble jumping back into this series after having skipped Book Three and Four, I think new readers may find themselves a tinsy bit lost if they dived in at Book Five. I suggest starting closer to the series beginning rather than with ToS.
Cover Thoughts: While I love the vibrant teal of the cover, I'm not a serious fan. Personally, I thought that the first three series installment covers were the best - simple but incredibly eye catching. These last two in the series just don't look or feel as interesting. However, I do like that they coincide in a way that make the installments readily identifiable as a series.
Why I Read It: I requested a review galley from the publisher.
With evil circling from three collective fronts, the Watchmen prepare for war as it looms on the horizon, dark with inevitability. A combat trained group of shifters that watch over the paranormal species of Earth, the Watchmen are in the race of their lives as they scramble to find the Dark Markers. These magical ancient relics are not only successful in killing a particularly vicious tribe known as the Casus, but they also may very well prove to be the key to closing the gates to the Meridian - the dimensional Casus prison. As both are Watchmen soldiers, our hero's and heroine's story takes place on a specific outer ring of this overreaching plot arc, allowing for bountiful page time to be dedicated to the complex layering of mistrust that infects their tumultuous relationship.
Morgan Cantrell, a shifter of indeterminate species, and Kierland Scott, a werewolf, have been embroiled in a personal feud for over a decade. Each carry secrets that could easily reverse the hostile course of their relationship to one of passion but neither can let go of their formidable pride. Instead they fight and fling jealous accusations at each other all in the hopes of protecting their hearts from what they've determined to believe will be an inevitable gut-wrenching fallout.
When Kierland's younger brother, Kellan - his only remaining family, takes off to rescue a witch from an extremely protected enemy compound, Morgan uses her blood connection to Kellan to force Kierland's cooperation and bring her along to provide backup for Kellan's rescue plans. Irritated that he must utilize the one woman he can't stand in order to save his foolish brother, Kierland grudgingly follows Morgan as she listens to the "pull" of Kellan's blood which just so happens to be leading them into the Wastelands in Northern Europe. A magical prison for vampire families that have committed incredibly heinous crimes, the Wasteland is one of the most dangerous places for an outsider to travel with the hopes of making it out alive. And things just keep getting better for Kierland when Morgan reveals her plans to engage Ashe Granger, vampire and ex-boyfriend, as their guide.
Kierland has been disturbed by his possessive feelings for Morgan for ten years. He wants her badly but he won't ever let himself have her. His is a long line of possessive and fiercely jealous males and what he fears the most is his already abundant and long standing jealously where Morgan is concerned. Afraid that he'd manage to fatally harm her, Kierland has instead built and maintained an image of Morgan as a biddable whore, one who'll do whatever the Consortium, the governing body that controls the Watchmen, says for her to do even if that means seducing and sleeping with the mark. By doing this, Kierland has managed to mentally keep Morgan at a distance, but that doesn't stop his seething emotions from boiling over when she's near. Deciding that he's going to rid Morgan of his system once and for all, he persuades her to a momentary arrangement of pleasure where he has sole sexual rights over her during their mission. Once the mission is over, so is the arrangement but it soon becomes fearsomely obvious to Kierland that a few days slaking his lust with Morgan won't even come close to scratching the surface of his need.
For ten years, Morgan has incurred the wrath of Kierland without knowing any of his reasons. Left with no choice, she's rationalized that it's the weakness of her heritage that makes him despise her like so many other shifters. With the tainted blood of many different species of shifters, Morgan is essentially a mutt as well as weak without the preternatural strength of pure blooded shifters like Kierland. Whatever the source of Kierland's hatred, its managed to break her heart, damaging her for any other man because in truth, no matter how obvious his dislike of her may be, Morgan has continued to love Kierland from the first moment she saw him at eighteen years of age. Now Kierland dangles his gorgeously ripped body before her and because Morgan has been dying for a taste for ten years, she gives in fast to his lustful demands knowing full well that her heart is destined to break all over again with the conclusion of their mission.
Despite Kierland's claiming of Morgan's body and her reassurances that it's him she wants, having her former lover, Ashe Granger, in the mix has Kierland riding the edge of destruction. With his thoughts poisoned by his own misconceptions of Morgan's fidelity, Kierland doesn't trust her claims feeling that the moment she gets the chance, she'll run into Ashe's arms like she did all those years ago. But as the Wastelands prove their reputation for danger, Kierland will have to make a decision whether or not to believe Morgan's love or lose her forever.
TOUCH OF SURRENDER is quite the emotional rollercoaster but I had a blast hopin' in and hanging on to what ultimately proved to be one hell of a steamy ride. Kierland is lust in the flesh and Rhyannon Byrd never lets you forget it. These males are just what the series title describes them as being - primal, all the way down to their sinful cores.
Morgan is one rockin' heroine. Confident, loyal and protective, she's a woman that makes fierce bonds with others easily but also never takes that ease for granted. She's very complex with her warrior exterior shielding a deep vulnerability that she shares with few others and it actually takes the length of the book to uncover all her secrets.
While Kierland's intense sexuality had me squirming, his self-imposed delusions where Morgan was concerned incurred it bit of my dislike. Burning hot then cold, he pulled my heroine through the emotional ringer on many occasions and while I wanted her to go toe to toe to with him in the those irritating instances, Morgan proved smarter than me. She knew how to handle Kierland even if at times she felt unsure. Her quiet dignity and determination forced Kierland into one heaping ball of uncertainty as he begins to question all his ill-conceived notions. And when he finally reaches the lowest of lows, he grovels his way back into both our hearts on hands and knees.
Finally, a little delightful warning, TOUCH OF SURRENDER is one piping hot romance that practically boarders on erotica. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself squirming from the heat as I settled in to read a deeply satisfying erotic and emotional journey. I highly recommend this author and series to paranormal romance lovers that crave their reads on the steamy side. Enjoy!
Paranormal Haven: 3.5/5
Sister Golden Blog: Recommended
Booking It: A-