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I Belong


Review: Illicit by Cathy Clamp

illicitTitle: Illicit

Author: Cathy Clamp

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Series: Luna Lake (Book #2)

Publication Date: November 1, 2016

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765377225 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765377227 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

In Cathy Clamp’s Illicit, when a border dispute between two bear clans destabilizes shapeshifter relations throughout Europe and threatens to reveal their existence to humans, the Sazi High Council orders both sides to the negotiation table. The peace talks take place in Luna Lake, the American community where all shifter species–wolf, cat, bird, bear, and more–live in harmony.

Diplomats, their families, and security personnel stream into town, among them Dalvin Adway, a Wolven agent. Dalvin is startled to find Rachel Washington in Luna Lake. The last time he saw her, they were children in Detroit. Then she was kidnapped and, he thought, murdered. But Rachel became an owl-shifter as a result of the attack and has avoided family and old friends ever since, knowing they would not understand her . She’s stunned to see Dalvin and learn that he, too, is an owl-shifter.

Their wary friendship is on the brink of becoming something more when conspiracy and betrayal cause the peace talks to break down. The fight between the bear clans will be settled through a form of traditional challenge–a risky tactic that might lead to full-blown war. Rachel is determined to prevent that, even if it means taking up the challenge herself!

Quick & Dirty: This story is more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, the story kept me intrigued enough that this was a fast read.

Opening Sentence: Moonlight struggled to shine through clouds heavy and swollen with rain.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The world of the Sazi continues to grow with the second book in the Luna Lake series. Illicit is the story of Rachel and Dalvin, two childhood friends who meet years later after much tragedy. This urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel has it all, mystery, conflict and action. The story moves at such a fast pace that this was a very quick read for me.

The people in Luna Lake are still rebuilding after the hell that they have been living through. Rachel is done with Luna Lake. She has plans to leave but when it comes time to go she is not allowed to leave. Everyone in town is forced to stay because of the peace talks that will be held. No one in town knew this was happening by the way. Within a matter of minutes the town is taken over with the residents being responsible for the well keeping of the diplomats and Council members in town. Rachel is beyond miffed at this, she’s ready to go but with the promise of quite a bit of money to house a diplomat, she decides that money can be used to help her with college.

Dalvin is a Wolven agent. He is in town for the peace talks. The first person he runs into is a woman trying to leave town, trying to make it through all the shields. He doesn’t realize it is Rachel. He hasn’t seen her for ten years, not since she was kidnapped when she was twelve. Heck, he thought she was dead all this time. I don’t want to reveal too much about the story but Rachel ends up being a key player in the peace talks. She is able to uncover information that the Council doesn’t even know about.

I would describe these books as more of urban fantasy than paranormal romance even though it is written more in the style of a romance novel. This is not your typical romance. The couple have a history and the story really plays off of that. This is not a slow burn romance, it is more of a heated exchange of attraction. There is also a mating bond at play. This is a warning for those who don’t like that kind of thing. I think it would help going into this book not thinking of it as a romance but more of a paranormal type story because the world here is so huge.

Rachel is an Omega. She is very low on the power totem. She should be protected by the Alphas but she has just gone from one trauma to another. She doesn’t believe that things can change which is why she is so ready to leave Luna Lake. As a three day owl shifter, she has to rely on an Alpha to get her through the change because she can’t do it on her own. There is a feeling that Rachel has no backbone because she has no power but Rachel certainly grows a backbone. She has no problem speaking her mind which is why she gets stuck in the middle of the peace talks. I really felt for Rachel because she has had it bad in life and in this novel she is finally understanding herself more. She discovers more about being an owl shifter and even the powers that she wields that she didn’t’ even know about. Rachel really made this story for me. I think without her growth and struggles this story may not have been as good.

Dalvin is more of an enigma to me. I want to like him but I kind of hate him because of how he treats Rachel at first. Then even after he knows it the girl from his childhood, he still continues to have a “relationship” with one of the delegates that alone should get him thrown out from the peace talks in my mind. Dalvin is a player and even lives up to it. He has his reasons for treating Rachel like he did which I do understand. I’m not sure I would have liked Dalvin if this was a standard romance. What I did like about him is that he didn’t understand Rachel and her struggles as a three day owl but he tried to learn, he even helps Rachel train and learn more about being an owl, and Dalvin didn’t go all Alpha Male when Rachel was trying to heal from her emotional wounds. He stepped back knowing that she couldn’t get over her troubles without being able to stand up to her nightmares.

Overall, I would recommend Illicit for fans of urban fantasy. This novel did have some emotional highs and lows. I was in tears at the end. I will say that reading these novels makes me want to go back and read the original Sazi series. I am really intrigued by were this story started and how it got to this point.

Notable Scene:

The blue sky had never looked so good. There was a bite in the air that was as crisp as apples. She walked fast, hoping nobody would be able to follow her.

“Running away again?” Dalvin said behind her. “Aren’t you tired of that yet?”

Rachel stopped. The rebuke, the sadness and anger, filleed the air like a toxic cloud, filled her lungs, suffocating her. Running wasn’t her usual style, and yet, with Dalvin, she kept doing it. No more, she decided.

She turned and faced him, staying poised on the balls of her feet, ready for whatever came next. “I don’t run. Never have, never will.” He looked taken aback, unsure of what to say. That was probably best. Go on offense. “You have something to say to me, boy? Say it.”

He reared back like she’d hit him. “Baby, I ain’t your boy. Not after all this time.”

She shrugged one shoulder. “Well, I ain’t your baby either.”

Luna Lake Series:

1. Forbidden

2. Illicit

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FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Illicit. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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