Beyond the Darkness (Darkness #3)
by Katie Reus
Now that she has her freedom, she’s not giving it up.
Dragon shifter Keelin Petronilla spent centuries in forced hibernation dreaming of one thing: freedom. Now she’s living life on her terms—she’s ditched her clan for an unruly wolf pack, she tends bar for a half-demon, and she’s loving it…until a powerful supernatural being targets her. She intends to handle the mysterious attacks on her own…without the help of dragon Alpha Bran Devlin. Sure, he’s sexy in that hot, scowling possessive way, but Keelin wants to live her own life in her own way.
Now that he’s found his mate, he’s not letting her go.
Former black ops agent Bran Devlin is a born dragon Alpha and leader of a fierce clan. Getting mated was never part of his plan—until a feisty dragon princess gets under his skin in a big way. The hell of it is, she doesn’t want a mate; she just wants to have a good time. He plays along, but when a dark and powerful being marks her for death, he’s determined to stay by her side in spite of her protests. Now that he’s found his mate, he means to keep her safe no matter what the cost…even if he has to risk it all.
Themes: dragons, shifters, demons, paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Dragons, demons, and wolves oh my! Returning to the unique and diverse world created by Katie Reus is always a pleasure and I look forward to each chance to meet a new group of individuals and see how they mesh with previous groups. The series began with a sexy alpha wolf and his vampire mate and has taken off from there, leading us to this story of two very different Dragon shifters that have to find a way to overcome their personal issues to have a chance to be together. There are always lots of laughs, intense emotional issues, and of course, the external dangers stalking the couples, but this story is much more than just the sum of its parts. The other stories in the series certainly play a role in this one, but if you haven’t read them don’t worry too much, you get filled in adequately and there is a loose connection between the characters. Keelin and Bran are different in so many ways, but when they come together and the fires die down you are left with a deep and abiding love connection that will bring them through any drama they face.
Keelin has escaped the strangling clutches of her overprotective family—at last—and is determined that nothing and no one is going to interfere with her newfound independence. But there is no way she can deny the attraction and connection she feels to Bran, the sexy Alpha shifter that once cared for her after a brutal attack left her vulnerable. Bran has bided his time, but he’s ready to claim his mate and sees no reason to let Keelin out of his sight again. Keelin agrees to give an affair a chance but firmly refuses to have a mate, which of course just presents an even more appealing challenge for Bran. When it became apparent that Keelin is in mortal danger, Bran becomes increasingly unwilling to allow her to leave his side, chafing at Keelin’s need for independence. Can they find a balance between their needs and wants… before Keelin ends up dead—or worse?
Keelin is one of those characters that I wish had more time to grow before she falls in love, because dealing with emotional growing pains along with falling in love, and being stalked by a serial killer is just a lot for any girl to deal with—even a dragon girl! While she is thousand of years old, she’s been in hibernation a long time and is still getting used to the 21st century, leaving her family home to travel to AL and work in a bar was a big step for her. She’s slowly beginning to become the woman she needs to be, but her fears of being tied down get in the way of a chance at a great relationship with Bran, or they would I he allowed it! and e's obviously in need of a keeper in some ways, but her strength and her determination mean that she could stand on her own and still get her man if she allowed herself the chance. I liked Keelin a lot and got several laughs from her antics. When she was fighting for herself and her loved ones she truly shined and showed that independent doesn’t have to mean solitary, if you can find the right partner.
Bran is a kick-ass, alpha dragon, commando… what better combo can one ask for in a man. I loved Bran from the beginning even though there were some moments I could see his autocratic attitude making me angry. His passion for Keelin and protecting his fellow dragons make him a dangerous man to cross but I can see how that would make him an even better friend or ally. Bran knew that Keelin was his mate, but his work and desire to give her space have kept him away from her, allowing her to heal and find her own feet again, but when he discovers she’s living away from the protection of her clan, working with many other males around her, there’s no way he’s going to allow that to continue. He sets out to steal her heart and seal her to his side to make sure their mating happens, and soon, so he can settle down as his clan’s alpha with his mate at his side. The danger that surrounds her drives him continuously crazy, but he won’t allow her to be hurt, even if he has to tie her down. Bran was one of those characters I can see being just about any type of man—dragon, wolf, cat, human, vampire, or other—and still mesmerizing and enchanting any woman that he comes across.
Bran and Keelin’s story was interesting not just for the way they love one another, but also for the fact they find a way to bring down some seriously bad dudes, bring her family around to accepting him, uncovering millennia old secrets and even meeting a goddess. Keelin’s character has her ups and downs as she deals with her shifting feelings for Bran and the fears that ebb and flow in her as she approaches each new disaster and challenge. Bran is the man and being a dragon too just makes him doubly sexy and awesome in my book. He is also very protective of his friends, family, and species, taking on battles that really aren’t his to fight to ensure peace and safety for others. The passion between Bran and Keelin is beyond intense every second of the story, even when they are nowhere near one another, simply thinking about each other leaves them both burning and the reader frustrated that you can’t be one of the characters to experience that heated intensity for yourself. While I am certainly partial to wolves, the dragons in this series are interesting and the way they live is fascinating as well. Being able to learn more about these different and intriguing characters within the world that Reus has built is one of the best parts of reading in general and reading her work specifically. I am looking forward to the next story and very much hope that it is Bo and Nyx’s story, after all the little hints and out-right uncovering of secrets that happened in this last story. Keep the magic coming Katie and I’ll keep you on my auto-purchase list.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.