The Darkest Promise

Gena Showalter
The Darkest Promise
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HQN Books
Release Date
June 2017
Book 13 of Lords of the Underworld
Paranormal Romance, Romantic Comedy

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him—until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile…and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever…

Book Review by BookAddict (reviewer)
May 23, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
155 people found the following review helpful
Also posted at Reading Alley:

Tortured falls for melancholy only to be transformed into something miraculous. The latest book in this series is just as dark and depressing as the previous ones. For those who have not read the previous books, this book can be read as a standalone. Ms. Showalter does an excellent job of re-capping the events up to date. She also creates a deeply moving story of two lost souls.

Cameo is one of the few women who are part of the Lords of the Underworld. She is literally cursed with the demon Misery. Just her voice or even a small hum from her can elicit a suicidal spiral. One would think the strongest are those who are happy and joyful. Not so, just her presence will suck the joie de vivre from everyone. This is everyone except Lazarus. Lazarus is known as the Cruel and Unusual king in the realm of Grimm and Fantica. He also has a past with Cameo she can not remember.

Both Cameo and Lazarus are characters mired in angst. They are marinated in sorrow and cooked in despair. When it comes to violations, Ms. Showalter ups it several notches because it is more than just physical pain. Both Cameo and Lazarus's free will have been stricken from them. They are forced to do things they do not want to do. This heinous transgression upon a person's mind is an intimately private abuse. I felt badly for both characters and wished only vengeance upon the perpetrators. It is questionable if either can be sane after centuries of torment. I am fond of books which make me feel some kind of emotion. This one definitely makes me feel sadness tinged with righteous anger. Who does this kind of thing? Only evil.

Still, this is a paranormal romance so there is a happily ever after, albeit a slightly bittersweet one. The romance part is conflicted as Lazarus seems to be weakened by Cameo's proximity and love. The sex parts are erotic with plenty of edging and deferred gratification. This amuses me and I enjoy Cameo's frustration.

What can be confusing is all the different Greek demi-gods warring with each other. Mix in a dash of angel mythos and it all goes to hell in a handbasket. For those who do not have a basic knowledge of Greek mythology, this series can be confusing. For those who enjoy Greek mythology, Ms. Showalter does a great job of showcasing just how petty the Greek gods and goddess can be. I'm not surprised by their cruelty and heartlessness. Fits right in with their selfish desires. This plays well in this complex world Ms. Showalter has created. With each realm she adds, it becomes more interesting and interconnected. This book provides a couple of big reveals which makes more sense about Pandora's box. The theme for this series should really be, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". This paranormal romance is recommended for readers who enjoy dark anti-heroes and edgy erotica.
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