Transcending Darkness is actually the second book that I have read from Airicka Phoenix, but it was nothing like the first book that I had read by her. This book is a standalone story and it was one that I would probably not recommend for everyone. Though there is plenty to love here, there are a few things that might be triggers for some who have issues with darker themes of violence and sex. I will say that I really enjoyed this book though, and it was one that I couldn't put down.
After losing her mother and father, Juliette Romero was left with a huge debt to pay and a sister to look after. She worked herself to the bone with three jobs, just to hope she could come up with enough. But when she finds herself unable to pay the debt she owes, she must do the unthinkable and agrees to sell herself in order to protect her sister. So when she winds up with Killian "The Scarlett Wolf" McClary, she knows that he isn't a good man, even if he is the lesser of two evils. Killian and Juliette find themselves drawn to one another despite the circumstances, though they both know that what they are feeling is the last thing that they should. Killian can't afford to be a weak man, yet he finds that the more he gets to know of Juliette, the more he wants her in his life. So when Killian makes Juliette a deal to help her out in exchange for more time together, he knows that her saying yes could be his downfall. But when Killian's past suddenly reappears, he knows that he would do whatever it takes to look out for Juliette, even knowing that he could lose everything in the process.
I really liked these two together. I thought that they were great for each other and I felt the chemistry between them right away. They were super hot together, and I really enjoyed seeing them build upon their attraction. Juliette didn't agree with Killian's choices and what he did as far as business went, yet she stood by him and her feelings for him. I liked that she supported him, even when she didn't agree with everything. She did try to get him to change some things and to think about things more than he usually did though, and I think that she was really great for him because of that. Killian tried to say he had no soul and that he was such a bad man, yet he also had a code that he lived by and it was an honorable one. He didn't agree with women and children being hurt, and he did his best to avoid allowing harm to come to them. For so long he tried to push Juliette away and keep her at arm's length, yet it was clear that he wanted anything but. I loved how protective he was of her and it was clear just how much he cared about her.
I will say that this book would have been a five star book for me had there been a few things done differently. I thought that this book was too long, and things seemed to be too drawn out at times. I wish that they author had shortened a few things, as I did find myself skimming at times and not missing much. I think that about a quarter of this book could have easily been shortened or deleted without missing much. I also didn't care for how things started to go towards the end. I can't really go into much detail without spoiling anything, but I thought that a few things that happened in regards to Killian were not only out of character but were also really irritating. His actions didn't ring true for me, and I didn't like how he handled some of the situations he found himself in. I think that this was a good story though, and I was invested from the start. I would recommend it to those looking for some steam, suspense, and a good story about love and overcoming some really huge obstacles. I will definitely look for more from Airicka Phoenix in the future, and I think her books are worth looking into in case you aren't already familiar with her stories.
**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**