A danger to both the human and shadow communities, Petra Lang is cursed never to love. For one touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons imaginable. Sentenced to death by the shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued at the last instant by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an urgent erotic longing.
Nicholas fought long and hard to save Petra—and nearly paid the ultimate price. He risked his own life to spare hers, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share can only be deferred for so long. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.If you haven't read the first two books, you most definitely should before diving into this one. Each book has its own focus, but there's an continuing storyline and and returning characters, and background info is essential to really getting the story. Infact, this book picks the story almost directly up from where When Pleasure Rules left it. Our band of heroes have escaped another adventure of danger and romance, but Petra Lang must now face the consequences of exposing her curse. The Alliance, governing body of the shadow world, has decided that Petra is too dangerous to live, and the story opens with her government-sanctioned execution.
I gotta say, absolutely love how this book kicks off -- I was instantly hooked and emotionally invested in Petra and her troubles. Which is great considering that we don't get a whole lot of intro to her character in WPR. Within just a couple of pages, the author totally convinces you to not just like Petra but to actually care about her.
The other quick hook here is Nick Montegue. Introduced from the very beginning in When Blood Calls, Nick has been a great asset to this series -- a nice change of pace from the supermacho toughness found in Luke and Rand. I like supermacho, I really do, but variety is pleasant, especially in manflesh. Of course, don't think that Nick is a prancing lightweight. As is nicely depicted in the book, he's a renaissance man (sort of literally, since he's a centuries-old vampire) who thinks as well as he fights. He and Petra are an excellent match, and I give the author all kinds of kudos for successfully creating believable -- and sexy, mustn't forget -- chemistry between characters.
As for the action-y bits, I enjoyed the pace of things. I was well-entertained the entire time I read this, never found a moment when I was bored or impatient with the plot. I wasn't all too impressed by the villain-esque characters, though. The primary bad guys, Alliance figures Dirque and Tariq, are pretty interesting but ultimately didn't work for me. There was a certain amount of depth missing from them, which did decrease the overall urgency of the conflict. With some books, even though you know there's going to be a Happily Ever After at the end, you experience a moment or two of doubt. That, just maybe, this time the bad guys will win. That wasn't the case, here. Still, everything was quite lively from start to finish, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with a relatively angst-free story every now and then.
One thing I particularly enjoy about this series is how the characters from previous books maintain a significant presence and continue to develop as the series progresses. It was a nice surprise to find the tension between Nick and Lissa had continued from the second book, and that Luke and Sara aren't down for the count now that they're happily mated. This is a fully-fledged series with plenty of thought put into making each book flow smoothly from the next. I will absolutely pick up the next book, When Pleasure Lies, when it hits the shelves -- bringing back Caris, the vampire-werewolf hybrid with a tough-as-nails attitude. I'm very much looking forward to it.
More thoughts on When Wicked Craves at: Book Lush, Paranormal Haven, Ruby's Reads