Maddox is a god among mortals. More precisely, he is an immortal warrior created by the gods. As one of the most elite & powerful warriors to ever grace the mount, Maddox was a relatively content man. He & his comrades shed blood when needed & enjoyed female companionship when it suited them. All that changed when Maddox & his friends were scorned by the gods' preference for Pandora (another immortal warrior) to transport the box of oppression carrying the most atrocious demons that not even hell could contain. Their vanity cost them everything.
When they opened the box containing the demons, all hell broke loose. The demons were crazed from their captivity & entered into each of the warriors. Now each one must bear the eternal burden of carrying such demons as Promiscuity, Pain & Violence. Maddox was settled with Violence. In his thousands of years with his brotherhood of damned warriors, known as the Lords of the Underworld, Maddox has learned to contain & tame the demon as much as possible. There are definite signs of Violence in their remote fortress in Budapest, but no more than to be expected of warriors. What he doesn't expect, especially after all these years, is to find someone the demon doesn't want to kill, maim or even hurt.
That person turns out to be Ashlyn Darrow. A woman with an extra-sharp sense of hearing, so sharp she can hear any & every conversation that has ever occurred where she is currently located no matter the time, date or year, who is in Buda doing some research for a corporation she believes to be helping those with "special" abilities. Despite her boss's warning, Ashlyn treks toward the fortress hoping that the mysterious Lords can help her tame & control her hearing.
When the two meet on the snow-covered embankment there is an intense silence that neither can deny. The voices are silent for Ashlyn & the demon is silent for Maddox. What that means for them is unclear, but Ashlyn's boss is none too pleased at her disobedience & intends to prove his point against the Lords.
This was a doozy of a read! I devoured this book in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't get enough of these characters! The Lords are unlike any other possessed character I have ever read. Now it's possible that I just haven't read enough, but we can't be sure. :)
The torturous relationship of Lord & demon is so raw & incisive that I was completely drawn in to their world. Of course, since this is a romance novel, all the Lords are especially hunky in their own ways. Most of them are ridiculously muscular with a striking visage. The main female in the role is a trim, but toned woman that most men would faun over. While I can get tired of these stereotypical roles, the writing, characterization & plot development overrode any annoyances I might have perceived. Again, this is a romance novel so there are some sex scenes that vary from taught & tame to wild & a bit raunchy. If you're in the mood for that, read on; if not, feel free to skim/skip ahead as I do. ;)
The Lords of the Underworld presents a unique history & presentation of the gods. There is A LOT of back story, that is surprisingly well-handled. I didn't feel bogged down in history so much that I couldn't enjoy the action! A fabulously fun read, The Darkest Night is the first in a continuing series by Gena Showalter that I fully intend to see to the end.
Have any of you read these books? How did I miss them?! What do you think about the romance? Is it on par with the genre or a little more/less than is typical?