New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with her most explosive Lords of the Underworld tale to date, about a fierce warrior on the brink of sanity who will stop at nothing to claim the exquisite human with the power to soothe the beast inside him…
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he's back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he's unable to withstand the touch of another...and he's quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.
Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she's taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she's plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.
But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she'll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.
Showalter's 12th Lords of the Underworld paranormal novel pays perhaps unwitting homage to If a Man Answers, a 1960s rom-com about a young wife's attempts to use dog-training techniques to bring her husband to heel. In a vaguely described setting that might be the present-day U.S., Baden, a once-immortal warrior who was cast down by Zeus and later resurrected by Hades, plays a deadly game against Pandora to win his freedom from the god of the underworld. As part of the game, he kidnaps Katarina Joelle, a dog trainer and a brutal criminal's bride. He dislikes and mistreats her, and she is horrified to be under the thumb of another violent man, but a spark of attraction begins growing between them. Lust eventually turns into love, but Baden is possessed by a beast called Destruction, who cannot bear the touch of another; Katarina chafes under Baden's chauvinism; and war looms between Hades and Lucifer. Showalter's writing has retained its erotic intensity throughout the series and has a darkly humorous edge here, but the story is excessively violent and overpopulated to an unwieldy extent.