“You’re what’s most important to me. You, Mariah. More than money, more than my career back in the big city, more than fighting. I want you more than all of those things.” – Vaughn Taggart
Holy shmuzzles, you guys! Vaughn’s story is here, and may I say, Jillian David is killing it in this series!
In the previous book, we left our beloved Taggarts with Shelby and Eric finally united – although not without a ton of hardships thrown their way. It was then that we witnessed the delicious argument between Vaughn – the eldest Taggart kid who is FINALLY back in town – and the good doctor who, as she said, has been seeing way too much of them Taggarts in her hospital. Mariah West is a tough-as-nails, no-nonsense woman who is strict and professional with her clients, yet would give her own life for them. Not just because it’s her job, but also because she cares. Enter Vaughn and his hard-headed attempts at keeping her away from his family’s drama – yet still hungering for her presence and safety. BAM! You got yourself a mess that only gets worse with the Brands and their sinister schemes – not to mention, there’s still a dark force on the loose, thirsty for Taggart blood and world domination!
I love Jillian David and her stories. She’s a true master of romance-supernatural-slightly horror combos, and keeps proving it by each new book. Now, this series, it takes the awesome one step further – it has cowboys in it, and the yumminess just escalates from there.
But it’s so much more than that. It’s not just combining genres and elements and making it look good – you have to take care of the quality, as well. And this is where she’s got it just right.
Vaughn’s book was full of suspense and action, and there was not a single moment of peace. Danger is everywhere now for the Taggart family – and heck yeah, we got more Ruth scenes, go, Nurse Ratched! – and their enemies hold quite important positions in town, making their life literal hell. Which only gets worse considering their abilities and how they affect their routines. It’s also nice to know that the writer hasn’t forgotten about things that are yet to be solved.
Case in point, Garrison’s wife and Vaughn. We still don’t know for sure what really happened, but it’s still being addressed, even more intensely than in the first book, and I have the feeling we’ll finally know the truth when the 4th book gets out. The technique of answering some questions but creating even more by doing so is a delicate kind of art, and cannot be done without aggravating a reader, but Jillian David manages to pull it off every single time.
Now, let’s talk characters. Admittedly, Vaughn was not exactly a personal favorite. It could be because I’m a hardcore Kerr fangirl and the eldest brother was too… angry (?) for my tastes. Then again, Garrison was even worse, so no complains there. Both brothers have been burned, and their relationship was ruined because of a single woman, and they closed themselves off to protect their hearts from the world AND each other – but at least they finally got to talk it out a bit and remember the strength of family bonds. Still, Vaughn had more baggage than just that single event – and it showed. He was hot and cold, one minute making me cringe, and the next had me swooning. He was gruff even when he was trying to be sweet, and that gave him extra points in my book – but boy could he jam his foot up to the ankle in his mouth, or what…
It was a good thing Mariah knew what she wanted and was a steady, accepting person. Her past was much darker than Vaughn’s, in my opinion, yet she still chose to look forward and to help those around her. She was selfless to a fault, and her heart was the biggest thing yet. It didn’t hurt that she had a backbone to boot, either. She wasn’t naive, not by a long shot, but she knew that she couldn’t just ignore a patient or someone in need of help, even if it meant sacrificing her own safety.
Those two together were a ticking bomb waiting to happen, though in a good way. Once they finally got past all the misunderstandings and insecurities, they were explosive, and I loved that. Vaughn isn’t someone who would be able to settle with a quiet, mousy female, and Mariah needed a man who would be stubborn enough to keep her on her toes, yet still have the balls to let her lead, as she obviously was the more mature one – emotionally speaking.
The fight with the “creature” had me freaking out, as usual. Now we know some more of his weaknesses, and sort of have grasped parts of what it needs and why. I dare say, I have a theory on what – or, rather, who – it is, but I’m keeping it to myself for now.
Next up is Kerr – and I’m telling you, the moment this boy is out, I’m howling to the moon and letting the whole world know!
“When I’m with you, I feel safe, and you’re right, it’s not just your power. It’s you, Vaughn.” – Mariah West
***I was given an ARC from the writer in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***