Heart of the Serpent by N. J. Walters

Heart of the Serpent by N. J. Walters
Hades’ Carnival Book 5
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (95 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Just when you thought the Devil had gotten his due, he’s back for more.

Hades’ Carnival, Book 5

Now that the five-thousand-year curse that kept him and his fellow shapeshifting warriors trapped in animal form has been lifted, Mordecai doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. He is free—in theory.

Hell left its stain on his soul, and his relationship with the warriors who once trusted him is uneasy. The only bright spot in his life is Jessica, whose shining innocence he dare not taint with his inner darkness. But it’s getting harder and harder to stay away from her.

Jessica longs for the days she and Mordecai shared an easy friendship. Now he seems as distant as the stars. He denies there’s a problem, but she’s determined to penetrate his shields.

Hades has been plotting his revenge from his prison. He can’t harm Mordecai without harming himself. But there’s nothing to stop him from wreaking havoc by hurting the one woman Mordecai would give his life to protect—Jessica.

The Lady of the Beasts is free from Hades’ prison, the curse over her warriors has been broken, and the warriors are free.

For Mordecai, life should be wonderful, but he still feels tainted by his time spent pretending to be Hades’ strong right hand. His brother warriors have forgiven him, and they have gone on with their lives with the women that freed them. But Mordecai feels his soul is tainted, and that he doesn’t deserve to be happy after all he has seen and done. The only bright light in his life is Jessica, the woman that returned his soul to him during the battle to defeat Hades. Jessica doesn’t understand why Mordecai can’t move on, and is saddened as he continues to pull away from her. All she wants is to be with him, but that seems to be moving further away every day. When the warriors discover that, although they are all safe from Hades, the women who helped them, Jessica and Tilly, are still in danger. When Jessica falls to a curse from Hades, will Mordecai step up and do what needs to be done to save her? Will Jessica find love with her wounded hero, just to lose it all? Or will these two find a way to beat Hades once again?

Heart of the Serpent is Mordecai and Jessica’s story, set in the world of Hades’ Carnival, but a bit later in time. Hades’ plot to take over has been revealed, but that doesn’t really stop him from trying to cause more havoc. I like this world that N. J. Walters has created, and I enjoyed going back to see how the warriors were adapting to modern women. I was so glad when Ms. Walters extended this series to include the three warriors we had not seen much of…Mordecai, Phoenix and Stavros.

Mordecai is a strong and intelligent warrior, patient and determined to stop Hades while pretending to do his bidding. He seemed like such a bad man, but there were indications that all was not as it seemed with him. When Jessica is cursed, Mordecai once more steps up, willing to do whatever it takes to save the woman that saved his soul. I liked Mordecai, because he was strong enough to accept what needed to be done, and willing to take the responsibility for his actions, even though he was mistaken in his ideas.

Jessica is a strong and courageous woman, ready to do battle with demons and even Hades himself if need be. But when it looks darkest, she only wants Mordecai, to be with him as long as she can. I like Jessica’s strength and determination to get what she wants, even as her physical strength is falling to the curse. Watching as she finally convinces Mordecai of her true desires is a pure show of will.

There are demons, and curses and battles still to win, but with Mordecai and Jessica, time is in short supply. Once they realize how to beat Hades, the story takes a hot and passionate turn and the reaction from the resident bad boy himself is a treat. I enjoyed seeing Hades once again get his due, and enjoyed his frustration at being thwarted once more by the warriors. This is a hot romance, perfect for anyone looking for some fantasy, hot romance and demon fighting expertise. But be warned, there may be tears mixed in with the passion and laughter.

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