Bono Black is not part of Cain Jones’s taskforce. He’s merely their pilot. The minute he walks into a sex club in Amsterdam, he is no longer an outsider to the war on their beautiful target, Sky Val. Bono wants her like he’s never wanted anyone, and he’s a determined man. The only snags are three major obstacles. One, Sky belongs to the most dangerous sex dealer in the Netherlands who’d see her dead before he lets her go. Two, she’s undeniably involved in the murders of a senator and president. Three, Cain has ordered her dead. But time is on Bono’s side. Before the team leader slits her throat, they need information on her boss. With the interest Sky has shown in Bono, Cain decides Bono is just the man for the job, and that seduction will be his choice of arms.
Life has never been good or kind. From where Sky Val is standing, life looks infinitely bad. Her existence is nothing but physical and emotional torture, but one motivation keeps her going. It is a secret she can’t give up on. Bought at the age of sixteen for her forbidden art to manipulate time, Sky’s owner constructed the perfect jail to confine her. The invisible chains he put on her are much more effective than a brick and mortar prison. She will do anything her owner or his boss demands, even make the handsome, caring Senegalese pilot, Bono Black fall in love with her. Love is, after all, a woman’s best weapon when her mission is to steal a man’s secrets.
Every wise person knows things aren’t always what they seem, but the truth becomes muddled in a war where the good guys suddenly seem bad, and the devil like a savior. In an upside-down world full of dangerous secrets and supernatural powers, many hearts will be broken, but only one team can win. Which one of them will walk away with their secrets and life intact?
* This is Book 8 of the Seven Forbidden Arts paranormal erotic series, but also reads as a standalone. The story contains explicit language and consummated love scenes. Recommended for an audience of 18+.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the eighth book in the Seven Forbidden Arts Series. I loved it!
Bono Black is a wonderful character. I really liked him when I was first introduced to him earlier in the series, but never really knew much about him, so I am glad to get a chance to do so now. He is not a practitioner of one of the forbidden arts, but a pilot in the employ of Josselin de Arradon (Joss to his friends) and Cain Jones. The team is still in pursuit of their nemesis, Godfrey. Their lead takes them to Amsterdam, where a powerful Chiromancist is hiding in plain sight. As Bono is the only human in the team, he finds himself going undercover. He finds himself drawn to Sky Val. As danger threatens, can he discover Godfrey's whereabouts and save the woman he has come to love?
Sky Val is also a wonderful character. I must admit that I felt really sorry for her as she has not had an easy life. She is a Chiromancist, and is able to use her power to either see into the past, as well as into the future. Sold into slavery, she works for her owner, a sex dealer, by using her art to tell the fortunes of his clients. When she meets Bono she is drawn to him, but she has a secret that binds her tighter than any physical tie to her boss. Can she break the shackles of the past and find a future with the Senegalese pilot?
This story is told mostly through the eyes of Bono and Sky, though there are a couple of scenes told through the eyes of other characters. I enjoyed getting to see the other characters from the team once more. This book is set several months after the events in book seven and it had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I said in my review of Scapulimancist that I thought it was the best of the series so far. I have now had to revise it to this book instead. It kept me hooked from the first page.
I found myself on a huge emotional roller coaster ride as Sky's past was revealed. I know that there is still slavery in the world (sex trafficking and other types), but have never really given it much thought apart from feeling sorry for those caught up in it and not knowing what I could do to help. However, I found myself unable to shake off the emotions this story stirred up in me that easily. Sky's story is not even unique (sadly), but the way the author wrote about it pulled at my heartstrings. Slavery may have been banned by law but it is still practiced today, though not as blatantly in the open as in the past. Unfortunately, wherever there is greed and money involved, the demand for this type of underground activity (be it slavery or even the ivory trade) will never diminish. This depravity sickens me and needs to be stopped. I am glad the author has given a voice to at least one victim (though fictitious) to shine a light on a dark practice and I commend her for it.
The story arc is reaching its climax, and I reached the end of the story with mixed feelings - sad that it was finished, but happy at the way it concluded. At the end of the book there is a teaser for the ninth and final book in the series and I am now looking forward to reading it as soon as I can. I must admit that once this series is over I will miss it, as the characters have become like friends to me.
Charmaine Pauls has written an entertaining standalone erotic romance. Her characters are lifelike and come alive on the page. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.
Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend that you read this series in order. Due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes, as well as use of profane language, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. I do, however, recommend this book if you love science fiction, erotica, erotic romance or paranormal romance genres. – Lynn Worton
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Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a masters degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.
After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.
When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.