Synopsis: At the end of the 21st century, the future of humanity hangs in the balance, caught between the radioactive waste of a half century of nuclear wars and the repressive authority of the Republic. Angels sacrifice their wings to join a secret fraternity of freedom fighters, risking classification as mutants and consignment to the Republic’s slave dens. Each warrior is a volunteer, but no angel anticipates the full cost of his fall.
The eyes of the Republic are everywhere.
Lilia Desjardins has never played by the rules and she isn’t about to start when her estranged husband’s death is declared an accident. Lilia knows Gid better than that, and if anyone is owed justice, it’s the most decent man she’s ever known. She leaves all she knows to risk the dark heart of the Republic–only to find that she herself has been targeted by forces unknown and that her deepest secret has not only been uncovered but will be used against her.
Adam Montgomery will do anything to complete his earthly mission and return to the existence he knows, even if he has to seduce the enigmatic Lilia Desjardins. But when his contact is murdered and he must rely upon Lilia’s silence to save him from the slave dens, Adam knows that his wings might be only his first sacrifice.
As danger and intrigue surround them, Lilia and Adam realize they must work together–body, mind and soul–in order to save the world.
Review: This story is a who-done-it mystery wrapped up in a post-apocalyptic package with romance and passion thrown in to spice it up. It is complex and I never figured out who the bad guy was until they revealed themselves. Claire Delacroix creates a post-apocalyptic world using news releases, government press statements and edicts, and short history lessons about how the US got to be where they are in 2099. She pulls in political commentary, religious and moral commentary, and conspiracy theories in order to tell a story that ended up requiring me to stay engaged. I loved it! I loved not knowing who the bad guy was, I loved that Montgomery is led to believe that Lilia is the murderer, that she is set up for several murders that are taking place while she is trying to figure out who killed her husband. On top of that, we have Montgomery, who is an angel who volunteered to come to Earth to complete a mission; so we end up having the whole angels and the devil, good vs. evil theme thrown into the mix. Delacroix tells a story that could have ended up being a jumble of ideas, plot twists, and character development, but she incorporates all of her elements smoothly. I look forward to reading book two, Guardian.
Favorite Quote: This scene is when Montgomery and Lilia are running away from an attack and he is hurt. Lilia saw his scares on his back while he was out cold, the scares that lets her know that he was an angel too. He tests her for her reaction, once he comes to and she responds just the way he hoped. I call it “They don’t pay to see a cop”
“You need a tissue regenerator,” she said with purpose. “Any likely candidates in the pleasure fringe? At home, I’d ask the guy with the tattoo parlor. He drinks and sometimes messes up, so he calls the generator his insurance plan.”
Montgomery smiled at her pragmatism but knew he had to ask. “The EMS team must have been right there; they would have had a tissue regenerator. You could have just whistled them up, Lil.”
“I didn’t think you were in the market for a tattoo, Montgomery.”
He’d guessed right: she had seen his back.
“So, we’re going to the circus instead?”
Her glance was contemptuous. “You’re a cop, Montgomery. Nobody pays admission to the circus to see cops.”
He couldn’t stop his grin. It wasn’t about the comp, after all.
“Two passages up, that a right, Lil,” he said. “I know the bartender in that jazz bar. He’ll get rid of the rickshaw and help us get to the cathouse.”
“Oh, so I’m killing myself to get you one last hurrah?”
He chuckled, hearing the bite of jealousy in her tone. “Something like that,” he conceded and his smile broadened at her disapproval. “You haven’t shown me your tattoos yet, Lil, and it was your idea that I repay you in trade.”
He pulled her close. “I guess I’m tougher than I look.”
“There’s certainly more to you than meets the eye.”
He arched a brow. “I’m not alone in that.”
She studied him for a moment. “So, when do you leave,” she whispered, her heart in her eyes.
He couldn’t lie to her. “When my quest is fulfilled.”
She nodded and averted her gaze, her throat working. “So much for my legendary luck,” she quipped, then reached up and kissed him sweetly.
He tasted her fear and wanted only to reassure her. He pulled her closer, deepened the kiss, speared his fingers into her hair. She was softer and more vulnerable, more open to him than she had been before. Her trust sent a welcome heat through him, made his pulse race, made everything within him quicken.