Outcast (Hunter #4; Thieves #9), Lexi Blake
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment
Tags: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal – Vampires/Shifters/Fae/Demons. Mythology, Romance – MFM Ménage
Length: 325 Pages
On the hunt for a vicious killer, Kelsey discovers that the true threat lies closer than she could have ever imagined.
It’s been months since Trent Wilcox was sentenced to exile, but Kelsey hasn’t given up on finding a way to bring him home. Grayson Sloane doesn’t share her enthusiasm. Loving two men is challenging enough without them being at each other’s throats, and she is unwilling to compromise on the future she knows is meant for them.
Kelsey’s only hope for bringing them all together comes in the form of the Hell lord who insisted on Trent’s exile – Gray’s father. Lord Sloane is willing to acquiesce on Trent’s punishment if Kelsey will do one little job for him. A stray wolf is on a killing spree in Wyoming and he’s killed a number of witches in Lord Sloane’s service. The situation is made all the more complicated by the presence of a sinister werewolf cult in the area. Lupus Solum is known for being cruel to their own kind, and even worse to outsiders.
Caught between a craven wolf cult, a brutal killer, a Hell lord, and a mounting pile of bodies, Kelsey is going to have her work cut out for her. But if she can solve the case, she might have a chance to earn her happily ever after.
Sleeper, Hunter #3/Thieves #8, finished off with Kelsey nearly dying, mostly because of Nemcox’s interference, and Trent being outcast after he killed him. Unfortunately, Nemcox was Lord Sloane’s full-demon son and he wants retribution. Gray, the other of Kelsey’s lovers, is Nemcox’s halfling brother and he’s been confusingly up and down about his brother’s death at Trent’s hand. For readers and the Council faithful there’s rejoicing about Nemcox’s death. He remained an evil thorn in everyone’s side from The Thieves series on. Trent killed Nemcox at Daniel Donovan’s behest. The King wrangled the best deal he could to spare Trent’s life in light of tight and ongoing Council negotiations in the supernatural realm. However, Trent isn’t allowed access or assistance by pack or any Council member. Trent has been a trusted inner sanctum member of the royals previously, and werewolves need pack, but Daniel had to quickly play the hand he had in order to buy time for Trent. That Trent, Grey and Kelsey are all partners causes a lot of tension.
Trent used to be the head of the king’s security. He had a great career, benefits, job security. Then he met a girl. Yeah, I kind of wrecked that for him. Again, hence the therapy.
“This? You refer to the murder of my brother as this? I don’t want to work this out with you,” Gray replied, sitting back.
Now, In Outcast, Lord Sloane comes to the Council to ask Daniel to send Kelsey and Trent to Wyoming where a large wolf has been killing his coven members in and around a Wyoming forest. One that harbors a very strong ley line. He needs thirteen of his witches to work on a project he has in place and he’s concerned that won’t happen if they keep getting killed at this rate. If the Council’s Nex Apparatus, Kelsey Owens, kills the wolf it’s a delicate situation. The werewolves won’t like vampire sanctioned hunter intervention in the killing of one of their own, rogue or not, but Lord Sloane doesn’t care about the politics of the other supernatural Council members. He cares about his business. He agrees to remove Trent’s outcast status if they do this job for him. He won’t make Grayson descend at thirty-five either. Everyone believes there’s a catch, Sloane is not a magnanimous being, demons are slippery in their wording and have rigid contracts, but in light of not seeing what that ‘catch’ may be, all concerned decide they’ll take a chance on Trent coming back into the fold and Grayson staying around.
In the meantime, Myrddin Emrys (Merlin) is visiting with Daniel and the royals and Kesley believes there is more to it than just a catch-up. Nemcox and Myrddin were the ones responsible for the death of Kelsey’s biological father, Lee Owens. Nemcox discovered that Lee Donovan-Quinn was her father’s reincarnated spirit and had threatened to drag him to Hell. Kelsey adores eleven-year old Lee, she’s connected to him on several levels and won’t ever let that happen. The Queen, Zoey Donovan-Quinn, knows something is going on from the way Kelsey is shielding Lee at the official event for Myrddin. When she has Kelsey alone and finds out what she’s scared of about Myrddin around her son, Zoey tells Kelsey to take Lee with her to Wyoming so he is kept well away from another Hell lord. Thus begins a very, very good UF/paranormal tale.
Kelsey, Trent, Gray, Liv, Casey, and companion Meredith, who is now a doctor, head off as a team to deal with the rogue werewolf and to ensure Trent’s outcast status is removed, and for Gray to be left on the Earth plane. Little Lee is there to be kept safe but everyone who reads this series knows Lee will always be in the thick of things. When they arrive they are met by Eddie, a demon who looks after their living arrangements with his magic, desperate desire to please, and his fae staff. In Wyoming there are things from Trent’s past he knows are going to be difficult dealing with, and not just for him. Trent was raised in a werewolf cult and when he left he burned the compound to the ground because they killed his best friend and wife, but not everyone died. Lupus Solum denies the official Council, has its own Council of Three, and keeps itself apart from other werewolves because Lupus Solum are the descendants of purebloods. They are awaiting the rise of Lupus Rex to lead them. Hedging their bets, they also have the local law enforcement in their pocket. Now that Trent is no longer under the protection of the Council they want his head on a platter, and he’s close enough now to do just that.
Plot points below:
Gray is not quite as front and centre as Trent in this book. Having said that, he still plays a very important part through his role as a dark prophet. The prophecies have irked me previously. Here, they take on a new life and become more tangible. At times they’re still obtuse, yes, but now they’re far more meaningful. There may be a raft of events to come but they’ve started making sense and knitting into place.
A trick and a trap.
That stupid phrase has haunted me ever since Gray made the prophecy a few months back.
The rogue werewolf turns out to be a complex situation that I can’t begin to delve into in a review but it leads back to the cult, Vampire, and a sad story. Fenrir is a huge werewolf and yet he’s only a child. Lee plays an instrumental part in a connection to the werewolf and proves he is more than someone to be dismissed as merely a human in a supernatural world. We know through the Heaven plane and prophesy that Lee is something special, and a little of that surfaces and is further hinted at in this book. However improbable it is that an eleven-year old does what Lee does, I mean you can’t nit-pick, this is UF and paranormal, it just works. Whenever Lee Donovan-Quinn is on page he lights it up.
John Atwood, the man Kelsey believed was her biological father for so long, re-emerges in this book. He’s her deepest nightmare reanimated, one who plagued her existence and fuelled her self-destructive habits for a long time. He truly is a disgusting excuse for a human being.
I’d dreamed about my stepfather the night before. The dreams had been violent and odd, and my real father had shown up in them. I had to know if John Atwood was here.
Lupus Solum typifies the fanatical, brainwashed, and disenfranchised, and they are problematic throughout.
Gray’s behaviour is increasingly erratic toward his partners over the death of his half brother, especially in light of the fact that Nemcox tried to see his partner dead. Especially given prophecy. Also given he aided Trent when most needed. Seeing as his tattoo lights up whenever Trent touches it.
The title of Outcast is brilliant. It fits Lee, a seeming human in a world of the supernatural. There’s Kelsey, who never felt like she fit until recently. Gray, a halfling demon with repercussions. Trent, who had a difficult upbringing in a cult he didn’t believe in. Eddie, who is a Satan but didn’t fit the aesthetic of one, another damaged psyche I won’t mention, and the confused and scared Fenrir.
The book isn’t perfect. In the beginning the babies and sperm, the she-wolf having a biological clock ticking rigmarole didn’t appeal. I want my women, the Nex Aparatus in this case, to be really badass. I don’t want baby talk, sorry not sorry. Get out and nail those bad guys/supernatural beings arses to the wall. Have your trusted team around you, let us like them and connect to them. I truly needed more character connection in the Hunter component of the Thieves series. Casey developed so much in this book, his vampire came out to play. Demon Eddie was a great introduction. Livvie picked up her game, Trent and Gray entered the same page. Other characters added their necessary input – good or bad.
Did I know who was pulling strings? Yes, but I didn’t care because the action was fast-paced, the characters popped and grew in self-belief, there were several beings I wanted payback on. I love payback, and it was provided, thank you very much. I do enjoy the bloodthirsty tone of this series. There is humour, there is romance, but there is also blood, gore, and some darkness – along with the founding characters it’s what repeatedly brings me back.
In the End:
I just want to add that this is book #9 in the overriding Thieves series and I’ve bought and read every single one of these books. Some have been better than others but overall this is a terrific series if you like romance (bi/het) as well as paranormal and UF with some bloody moments.
Once the crew got out of Dallas and were in Wyoming this became an even stronger UF/paranormal. Outcast is a well-paced book across every arc. The romance was fine and I liked that it was balanced and didn’t dominate everything else, while the UF/paranormal arc was ramped up tenfold. That ending. Yes! Summer is coming! 5 Stars.
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