Title: Dark Surrender
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Dark Ones Saga #3
Release Date: December 12, 2016
I grew up as a prince…
And lead the life of a King.
There isn’t anyone or anything that doesn’t want me, that isn’t attracted to me. They can’t help it. And I sure as hell don’t want them to. I live for their lust, I crave touch like an addiction, I make them beg on their knees for one, simple, caress.
As a male siren it’s my job to feed off emotion.
And I was happy to do it.
I am happy to do it.
What I’m not happy about? Being told I have to mate with some withering human and stay loyal to that one person for the next few centuries. There’s a war coming and being the idiot I am–I offered to take one for the team in order to help a friend.
Now my sexual appetite is taking a freaking kick in the nuts.
And I’m left wondering if it’s worth it.
If she’s worth it, with messy hair and dirty human hands.
But I have a world to save.
A job to do.
Now, if only, she would just let me do it rather than fighting me at every turn. I’ve lived lifetimes as the most irresistible being on the planet.
Only to meet my match.
They say hells hot. They’re wrong.
Because Hope, my little human, is way hotter.
And before this is over–she may just singe me alive.
Rachel Van Dyken delivers Alex’s highly anticipated story with Dark Surrender, the third novel in The Dark Ones Saga. Picking up right where the last book left off, Alex finds himself blindsided by Hope – his immortal game changer. From the moment they met, Hope and Alex had an amusing relationship. They infuriated each other with a push and pull that proved to be both utterly electric and undeniably addictive. I was captivated by the premise of their pairing and found myself rooting for Alex and Hope even before I fully understood the importance of their mating. Their obvious physical chemistry made me grin while I waited to see how their strange connection would evolve over the course of the story. Rachel Van Dyken also serves up more of Mason, Ethan, Cassius, Stephanie, and Genesis giving this story that comforting feeling of family that I’ve come to adore from this gaggle of immortal misfits.
“The burning beneath my skin increased as I clenched my teeth and waited for what would come next, either my death, or my purpose. I was ashamed to admit I was afraid of both.”
As much as I loved Alex’s cocky, flirtatious nature, I couldn’t wait to see what else this sometimes pompous, generally jaded Siren had to offer as Rachel Van Dyken unraveled him over the course of the story. I enjoyed delving into his past and exploring the events that left him so emotionally closed-off but I definitely needed more in terms of this character’s overall development. Aside from some brief moments of clarity regarding Alex’s history, the character remained fairly superficial. Admittedly, it was fun watching Alex come unglued around Hope. She shook up his world in a way that had me rooting for her. While we did get to see a jealous, possessive, and scorching hot side of Alex with Hope, it was the heroine who really stole the show for me. I adored getting to know the feisty female and uncovering the secret of who she really was. Her surprising connection to the rest of the immortals and the important role she would play in the war against the dark were probably the best thing about this story for me.
“You wanted her soul first, you just didn’t know it.”
I really wanted to love this book. Alex was one of my favorite characters in the previous two novels so I was thrilled to finally get a chance to know him better. Unfortunately, this installment of The Dark Ones Saga just never really hit its stride. Dark Surrender was rushed from the very first page and I found myself without any real footing in the story. There was no setting the scene or reminding readers of where we were at with the overarching storyline, it was just quick introductions and hurried emotions that honestly fell totally flat. Alex and Hope’s relationship suffered from a total lack of emotional depth and it wasn’t until the very end that they felt like more than a hook-up. While Rachel Van Dyken told us there was more to this couple than physical need, she never got around to really showing us, and that’s where my connection to the couple was lost. I needed to see Alex opening up to Hope about his fears and I needed to feel Hope’s reawakened feelings for him but instead the story relied on outside information to create those ties and in doing so kept me at arm’s length.
“My heart was in danger of beating for a man who would make me fall in love with him — only to hurt me in the end.”
Despite my issues with the character development, the emotional depth of Alex and Hope’s relationship, and general pacing, I am still really enjoying the overall series storyline. While each book is promoted as a standalone within the series, I didn’t think there was enough groundwork laid in Dark Surrender for it to stand on its own. That being said, the world Rachel Van Dyken has created is incredibly enchanting and the way its history is unfolding and future altering has me absolutely riveted. Plus, the set up for Mason’s book is undeniably intriguing! Rachel Van Dyken’s collection of paranormal characters is vibrant, each one with a unique and demanding personality and Alex and Hope were certainly no exception. Their individual voices and the effortless way in which they fit amongst the rest of the immortals made for an entertaining and easy read. Dark Surrender was fun, sexy, and enthralling – a veritable whirlwind of history, action, and lust that is sure to keep you reading.
Rachel Van Dyken is the master at giving her fans what they want…and that’s more sizzle, more characters they love, and more scenarios that make them smile. I will admit that I’ve missed this crazy crew and their mating, especially after finishing. Dark Surrender is the third installment in the Dark Ones saga, but it will certainly leave you drooling for that elusive man who gets the next book.
“Sex with Alex had been out of this world. Making love with Alex —was going to alter my world.”
Even though Dark Surrender was supposed to be Alex’s tale, Hope stole the show for me. I was fascinated by her past and the circumstances that she found herself in in the present. There was this alluring quality that drew me into her and I needed more. Furthermore, I loved the twists that Van Dyken surprised us with in regards to her storyline. As for Alex, I’m still unsure how I feel about him. He was very hot and cold and that made it hard to connect to him. I wanted a little bit more from his circumstances, especially given what I know the author is capable of. I also had a difficult time with the chemistry between them. There was something that held me back from fully embracing their relationship and I still can’t pinpoint what it was.
“’There will always be a fight.” Cassius shrugged. “And more often than not —it will either be against your own darkness —or for the one you love.’”
Though Dark Surrender is marketed as a standalone novel, I would recommend reading the others first. I can honestly say that I was much more invested in the plot line because of the previous knowledge I had. It also helped to understand the bigger purpose of some of the happenings in this installment. Overall, I have no doubt that readers will smile at the antics from this group of friends and Van Dyken will leave them craving more. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, especially all the insight I got in Dark Surrender!
To say I was pissed.
To say I was angry
To say I was intrigued.
I couldn’t decide which emotion was going to win out, which made her all the more exciting. Sirens, for the most part, kept their physical appearance at a five. On a scale of one to ten, a five meant that you were clearly above average but not to the point that a person would literally sell a kidney and spleen in order to sleep with you.
No, the selling of body parts came at six.
Seven meant they were willing to commit a crime and sell body parts.
Eight was when they neared the wailing stage. I typically called it bartering, where they asked what they could possibly do in order to gain just one taste, anything, anything at all!
Nine was a rarity. I was a nine when I was tired, when I wanted a piece of ass from someone hot, and I didn’t want to make a big fuss over it. But a nine was dangerous because showing myself at a nine made it easier to wipe the individuals’ memories. Meaning I was more than likely cursing them to a life where they would never settle down because they’d be stuck comparing me to some sad human male with a beer gut, and he’d always fall short.
Even the Toms fell short.
You get the picture.
In my entire existence, I’ve pulled a nine maybe four times. And each time I felt regretful — after all the sex had never been worthy of ruining some pathetic human’s chance at love.
Tens weren’t done. To become a ten in front of a human would be the equivalent of a human discovering the sweetest tasting sin, the most physical and emotional ecstasy known over and over again. Add that in with good looks that made women, men, plants, atoms — you get the picture — full-on weep, and it just wasn’t done.
In fact, some might say it was forbidden.
I’d never been tempted.
Until five minutes ago.
I was currently at an eight, flirting with a ten, and she’d finally succumbed enough to fall to her knees, but when she glanced up, she blinked a few times then stood. “Sorry, I don’t know what happened.”
I did a double take, my eyes narrowing as she shuddered before me, but still, nothing. No weeping. No sudden burst of adoration.
Nine, here I come.
I exhaled as I allowed my hair to go pure gold and my eyes to turn a shade of amber that looked like a never-ending ring of fire around my blue iris. I released waves of energy that I could see pulsing from my body with each exhale, and I was aware that she was being assaulted with my scent, a mixture of rain, fresh air, and finally a deep sweet chocolate.
The most addicting scents known to mankind.
The most cleansing scents to a human.
Her eyes widened as she gulped and then squeezed them shut and covered her face with her hands, her knees knocked together as she swayed.
“Open your eyes, human!”
“I-I’d rather not,” she said in a weak voice.
“Now!” The walls of the room shook causing a shriek to explode between her lips, and suddenly she was moving towards me and launching her plump body into the air.
Directly onto mine.
Without any other option, I braced myself for her impact. Not that she could physically harm me, it was more of a mental brace of, oh shit the woman might be plump, but she moved with the speed of a torpedo.
I caught her in my arms.
The shaking stopped.
Her hands clung to the front of my shirt, her breathing was unsteady, her body sweaty, hot, and curvy.
I appreciated all types of beauty.
I would have preferred a small mate, one that I could terrify into submission — one I had no risk of falling in love with.
Because a siren in love — was a dangerous thing.
And a part of me wondered if that was what Cassius had planned all along. In order for me to be at my strongest, I needed to be in love.
Something I’d never experienced in all of my years of living, screwing, and toying with males and females alike.
“What.” I gave her a menacing glare. “The hell, do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m scared of earthquakes,” she whispered, licking her lips repeatedly until I thought I was going to go mad with the motion of her tongue sliding across the pink of her mouth. “Terrified, actually.”
“This is Seattle.” I was still holding her, for reasons beyond my realm of understanding.
“They say the next earthquake is going to be really big and half of downtown is going to slide into the Puget Sound, so excuse me for being scared!”
“And you live downtown?”
“Well… no.” Her brown eyes focused in on mine.
“Then you must visit there often?”
I sighed impatiently. “So your fears are completely unfounded and illogical. Simply stop fearing it.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“I tire of holding you, human.” The lie fell easy; in fact, I had forgotten I was holding her until she fidgeted in my arms like she was the offended party, when I was the one who had just been assaulted. “The only thing you need to fear is me.”
“Because you…” She sighed. “You’re going to sacrifice me?”
I tried to hold the laugh in.
But it was all too ridiculous.
“Yes.” I nodded seriously, my lips twitching with the urge to smile. “The process will be painless. I’ll tie your hands and feet to the bedposts — strip you naked, and then plunge an immortal sword into your heart. You’ll need to repeat the words ut animam meam and then once you drink my blood — if it accepts you, you will live.”
Her face paled as she struggled to get out of my arms.
And then I lost it, dropping her back to her feet, laughing so hard I felt my body shook with it.
“I don’t even remember the phrase!” Her wild eyes darted between me and the bed, clearly not catching on. Joke. It was a joke.
“Well,” I lifted a shoulder and shrugged. “Then I guess you die.”
“Better do it quickly, less pain that way.”
“What about the plants?”
My smile froze. “Either you’re extremely simple minded or mentally ill. What the hell are you talking about?”
“The—” She tugged at her low ponytail. “The plants, you know, around the grounds. I take care of them and Cassius—” Her eyes lit up. “Cassius said I was getting a promotion, so sorry, but you can’t kill me.”
I grinned. “Okay.”
I was still confused how she was shielding herself from my essence, but already I was mentally drained from the energy it took to get her to worship me — instead I returned to my normal everyday state and held out my hand.
She stared at it.
“Take my hand.”
“No.” She swallowed. “I think I’ll just wait for Cassius.”
“He’s already mated.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I’m not mating him.”
“No.” This, this was my favorite part, watching humans try to logically put together all of the pieces of the puzzle only to realize their brains were too small to comprehend the different parts they held, the angles, the colors, “You’re going to mate with me.”
I expected her to cry.
Maybe throw something.
Instead, she froze and then with a scream ran head first directly into my body sending me sailing backward against the marble floor.
I was caught unaware.
Meaning, I barely had time to stop myself before my head slammed back against the hard ground.
She tried to run toward the door.
“Cat and mouse.” I sighed from my position on the ground. “I always did like foreplay.”
She jerked against the doors with fervor, I’d give her that, but they wouldn’t budge.
Not until she was mine.
Not until the doors sensed my blood running through her veins.
“Why won’t it open?” Her voice was strangled as pieces of her hair fell out of its restraint and brushed against her shoulders. “You can’t keep me here forever.”
“I can.” I yawned. “I will.”
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Don’t miss the rest of The Dark Ones Saga:
The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)
Untouchable Darkness (The Dark Ones Saga #2)
Darkest Temptation (The Dark Ones Saga #4)
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!