Marney Carras knows she is forced to move on. After her father's death, she took pride in the job she did - completely on her own - to keep the last piece of her history alive and the bar doors open for business. When the cards are stacked against her, life may no longer be predictable, but it's still under control. That is, until a tall, dark, and handsome stranger decides her bar is the perfect one for a fight.Crius Vitalis has one wish in his forsaken life - to undo the curse inflicted on him centuries ago by the very people he trusts the least. All it takes is one simple task, one little action. But finding the right person to help him is the hardest part.When their worlds collide, they find that despite the vast contrast between them, they aren't so different after all. Can opposites really attract? Or will the constant charge between them finally drive them apart before they can discover what fate has in store...
I received a copy of this story for an honest review for Amber's Reading Room.
Born into the world of witch-hunting, Crius Vitalis was proud of his profession freeing the world of those who use magic to hurt others. That pride crumbles when one of the witches Crius was targeting out maneuvers him and curses him to the pain of immortality. Countless centuries alone harden Crius and leave his only joy pounding faces and breaking bones in support of the Frackus, a vampire army responsible for tracking the whereabouts of all Otherworld species on earth.
Marney Carras has tried everything to keep the promise she made to her dying father, to save his once popular bar and bring it back to its former glory. A recent increase of murders in the neighborhood have left the bar and Marney’s pockets empty. As she contemplates closing the doors forever she has to deal with one last hurtle, a brute of a man beating down one of her customers for committing the sin of checking out her “assets” too long. The brute – Crius. The beat down recipient – one of the growing number of shifters Crius has been tracking to the neighborhood, shifters who could be responsible for those murders driving away Marney’s customers.
Both Crius and Marney's instincts tell them to run from each other but the harder they try the more they find themselves drawn together. As Marney gets sucked into Crius’s world, he wonders if it would be kinder her to let her go or if he truly embraces her, he might find his own salvation.
“For once in my life, my fucking long and mostly lonely life, I don’t have a God damn clue what the hell I should be doing. I know what I want – you. I just don’t know how to get it.”
The chemistry between Crius and Marney is what really made Battle To Become enjoyable for me. Henry uses dual POV’s so Crius and Marney get their own say in the action and the developing relationship. If this story had just been in Marney’s voice, Battle To Become could have been a standard beauty and the brute story. Crius’s POV revealed a heartache and lack of confidence that made me get a little gushy over him.
One of the things I enjoy seeing in paranormal reads is a straight man, or in this case woman, to question the weird and wild. Marney is the perfect straight woman. She expresses doubts but keeps rolling with the punches.
“He never showed any of the tell-tale signs of a liar. Either way, the first stop when she got home would be a cold shower to see if she could snap herself out of this crazy dream.”
Battle To Become has a lot of secondary characters and coupled with the constant action I caught myself occasionally scrolling back in the pages to keep track of who was friend, who was foe and who was just a red herring. Battle To Become is book one in the Otherworld Desires series and will be followed by Methods For Mayhem. I’m hoping a few outstanding questions will be answered, to get a little more Crius and Marney, and maybe some deeper back stories for secondary characters like Crius’s best friend Lukas and his significant other Kayla.
Overall I enjoyed Battle to Become and think it’s a solid entry to the paranormal genre. Author Henry shows a lot of promise and I’ll be looking forward to more of her works to come.