Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.
There were many times throughout this book where I wanted to reach through the pages and smack Ethan silly. He takes one step forward towards Merit, and then two steps back. He makes some poor choices out of fear. Considering how emotionally closed off he usually is, those decisions, although terrible they may be, actually show some development in his character. Due to a certain stubborn sentinel, he is slowly progressing and becoming more "human." This is ironic of course, since Merit seems to be slowly losing her humanity. However, this does not detract from her personality because she hasn't changed at the core, just gained more confidence and a more flexible nature. It will be interesting to see whether Ethan can ever see her for who she truly is not what benefit she can be to the house.
One good thing does come as a result of the issues with Ethan. Merit and her best friend Mallory mend their fences and once again become the best friend the other one so desperately need. Both their worlds were torn apart when Merit was changed and as a result, Mallory found out she was a sorcerer. I was really glad to see their relationship fixed as I missed the comfort and banter between the two.
Even through dealing with the repercussions of Ethan's poor decisions, Merit never once flinches in her loyalty to her house and her oaths. When issues brew with the shifters, she risks herself to protect the leader of the pack, the Apex. Her loyalty could be the very key to securing the shifters' help in the looming war. Without them, the vampires are vulnerable since the shifters are pure magic, the very magic the vampires depend on for strength. Through the Apex's visions of the future, she learns some interesting things about her possible and finally understands why he asked for her help when the animosity between vampires and shifters usually runs very high.
The book ends on a high note, but definitely left me desperate for more. As Merit grows more into her strengths and powers as a vampire she becomes a even more amazing character. This book more than lived up to the previous two, and I eagerly await the next installment.