Last Enchantment by L.M.Connolly

Last Enchantment by L.M.Connolly
Agents of C.A.T
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (290 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Magnolia

An agent for CAT, the Central Agency for Talents, Tegan Gibbs was a powerful sorcerer until she was attacked and her virginity stolen along with her powers. Now she’s a normal human being with a thirst for revenge. To discover and capture her attackers, she must work with the Earl of Derrington, the only man to ever stir the desires she so carefully kept tucked away. But he’s an ancient vampire, and while once his equal, she now has nothing. Or so she thinks.

Oliver Derrington aches to bring Tegan back to life and into his bed. What starts as a rescue quickly turns into a passionate affair. They set fire to the night, but with the differences between them, Oliver fears his time with Tegan is limited. Yet, he’ll fight to protect her—and to keep her.

Danger threatens from an unexpected quarter, and if they don’t stop those responsible for stealing power from other Talents, they won’t have a future—together or apart.

A traumatic sexual assault alters a Talent’s identity and sends her on a journey for justice, and exploration of the new life before her.

Trigger warning: Some retelling of prior rape and its effects on the heroine.

Teagan Gibbs is an esteem Talent using her years of training, and sexual restraint to bring others justice until a botch clean-up job leaves her in need of some justice of her own. The effects of her traumatic assault leave her physically and mentally scared, but it isn’t just the intrusion of her virgin body that changes her forever. The effects on her powers are instant and irreversible. As she seeks to prove who the culprit behind her demise is, she is paired with the wealthy, charming, and surprising warm Oliver Derrington (Cransfield). They’ve worked together before, but not like this. Together, they give all of themselves to discover who has committed such a crime against Teagan, knowing what its effects would be and why they would commit such a heartless act. What Teagan discovers along the way is a part of herself she was never allowed to unlock. With every turn, she is freed a little more. With every twist, she comes closer to the woman she was meant to be, for herself and for Oliver.

My initial feel of the book was discomfort with such a traumatic catalyst. I believe it is due to the others uncanny ability to tell the story without aggressive details poured onto themselves. Instead, the reader is instantly focused on Teagan and her ability to pragmatically address her assault. She is clear headed or at least as clear headed as one could be after therapy. She isn’t in denial about what the assault has done to her, and mourns in her own way. However, she is not helpless. She uses the skills she still maintains in her diminished capacity to ensure that she is an active participant in bringing herself closure. She is smart, driven, and accepting of the changes she must make for her new life. Teagan is also practical and often uncomfortable with her emotions. She doesn’t gush over anything. Her admissions are quiet and face value honest as she attempts to understand her new normal. In some cases her fear is palpable, but in others it’s as if she’s never known fear in her life.

Oliver Derrington is a bonus she couldn’t have predicted would be a part of her life again. He is her strongest ally, works to understand how best to help her, and gives her space when she needs it. He reads her well, of course. I appreciated seeing his internal fight as he battled with wanting to protect her but not overwhelm her. He’s the type of hero that will wait for your call, before rushing to your rescue. He isn’t intrusive, feels things much deeper and quicker than Teagan, and trusts her instincts.

In Last Enchantment, first comes attraction then sex then love. Yet, their experiences together are not cheapened to some casual ill-timed fling. Instead, the decision is thoughtfully made and humbly accepted. Language is sexy, provocative, but rarely vulgar. There is more plot than sex, but tension holds true to erotica with warming build up as a constant reminder the hero/heroine attraction. Mild cases of head hopping appear in highly emotional scenes, but mostly as a means to describe something the original POV would not be able to explain on their own. Otherwise, the writing is fluid and each word carefully chosen to properly build attachment to the characters and drive the plot forward. The climb to the climax runs a bit long (over halfway through the book), but it doesn’t fast forward into completion once there. Instead, the descent is a gracefully slope down into what happens next before coming to a satisfying end.

In all, Last Enchantment was more of a complex thrill ride than a sultry erotica for me. The slight differentiation did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the author’s delicate writing and riveting twists. I smiled, I winced, my heart broke, and I cheered for the complicated win. So I wasn’t disappointed that Last Enchantment didn’t strike me to wake up my husband in the middle of the night for some moonlight and lovemaking. Sometimes, a blush and a squirm is just as sufficient and this was one of those times. I recommend Last Enchantment to any reader who enjoys sexy exploration, with layers of thick plot, and tender romance. A great book club choice as there were multiple points where I would have liked to discuss my theories on the assailant or just commiserate with someone about Oliver’s ability to be all things at once. If you aren’t in a book club, enjoy in total silence with a glass of your favorite wine. Might I suggest a sweet red?

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