War of Hearts by S. Young
Release Date: October 1, 2019
War of Hearts, an all-new adult paranormal romance by New York Times bestselling author S. Young.
Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.
The leadership and protection of his pack are of the utmost importance to Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland. Which is why watching his sister slowly die of a lycanthropic disease is emotional torture. When Conall is approached by a businessman who offers a cure for his sister in exchange for the use of Conall’s rare tracking ability, Conall forges an unbreakable contract with him. He has to find and retrieve the key to the cure: dangerous murderer, Thea Quinn.
Thea’s attempts to evade the ruthless werewolf are not only thwarted by the Alpha, but by outside dangers. With no choice but to rely on one another for survival, truths are revealed, intensifying a passionate connection they both fight to resist. At war with themselves and each other, Conall and Thea’s journey to Scotland forces them to face a heartrending choice between love and betrayal.
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What happens when one of your absolute favorite romance authors writes a paranormal romance?!?!
Well….if you’re me, you get swept away into a world unlike your own and you revel in the characters’ rich histories, their unexplainable, otherworldly connections and skillsets, and their absolute magnificence when it comes to what they’re willing to do for those they love and how those actions help to define exactly who and what these characters are.
I know that War of Hearts is classified as an enemies-to-lovers’ storyline, but I never saw Conall and Thea as true enemies, not in the way that most would define that idea. These two start off as strangers and then are put on different sides by misleading information and lies. Conall’s disdain forThea stems from a litany of false facts, so while yes, he took issue with Thea and what he deemed as her ‘reprehensible’ acts, the truth wasn’t that difficult for Conall to see once he stopped viewing the world in only black and white and used his instincts and his ability to read people to perceive exactly who and what Thea is, his entire life was turned upside down, in both positive and negative ways, making every action he took, every command he gave a choice between his sister and the woman who has become more to him than any other one has.
Even though Conall frustrated me a bit with his closed-minded views on various aspects of life – ones that were eventually explained the further I read in the story, I was completely captivated by him the second S. Young introduced him to readers. He is definitely a man’s man, even if he is a werewolf. He exudes a commanding presence and he demands respect at all times, unwilling to allow anyone or anything to act in ways unbecoming of a clansman/woman. I loved how Young slowly unraveled Conall’s control when it came to the pull he felt toward Thea, a being who was supposed to be a means to an end, a tracking job that would benefit him greatly and would also keep the world safe against a woman he believed was a danger to society.
For everything that Thea has been through, for all the unknowns she can’t find answers to, the fact that she still views humanity the way that she does and understands that not all people are like the sadistic bastard who used her for his own maniacal needs is amazing. She’s done things she’s not proud of and things she wished she didn’t have to do, but they needed to happen so that she could survive and no one can fault her for those actions. At the heart of Thea is a ferocious fighter who helps those who cannot help themselves regardless of all that she herself has suffered. And the fact that she doesn’t trust easily or truly understand how to show positive emotion fits how she has lived for so long on the run or in the hands of someone who wanted her for purely selfish reasons.
The connection between Conall and Thea is almost instantaneous, despite the fact that they don’t see eye-to-eye on many things and then as the story unfolds and the truth is told and learned and accepted, their bond only fortifies further, changing the dynamics of both of their lives for the better, despite the push and pull that still exists between them due to their alpha demeanors and behaviors. It’s a battle of wills, of strength, and of passion with these two and all of that plays out extremely well among the pages of War of Hearts.
The way that S. Young uses research, journals, and history to unravel Thea’s origin story was a unique way to figure out what she is and what her life was meant for and once all of the truths are gathered and understood, where it leads not only Conall and Thea but Conall’s clan as well as those who want Thea dead is filled with suspense, action, and declarations that brought everything together in a way that not only complemented the story line but also showed how Conall and Thea were where they were both meant to be – by each other’s side.
I truly hope this is only the beginning of S. Young’s foray into paranormal romance. I had so much fun reading this story and there are many secondary characters who I would love to know more about, especially a certain alpha female and Conall’s beta.
4.5 Poison Apples
Stepping back inside the motel room, Thea halted as Conall came out of the bathroom. His height caused a logistical problem for her next move.
Although his color hadn’t fully returned to normal, the wolf was looking much stronger. She didn’t know if she could take him in a fight when he was at full strength, which was more than a little concerning. As if he’d read her mind, he cut her an expressionless look. “You should have left me to die, lass.”
“Probably. I guess I’m just going to have to take the chance you were bluffing.”
He frowned and opened his mouth to question her, but Thea had already made her move.
Before he could comprehend it, she was on the bed behind him and reaching for his head before his weakened reflexes could catch up.
The crack of his neck echoed around the room, causing a sick lurch in Thea’s stomach.
For some reason, stupid tears stung her eyes as she watched his body hit the ground with an almighty thud. Why should she care? It wasn’t like he was dead. She’d knocked him out. For … however long he took to heal.
And he had stuck her with that goddamn injection.
Speaking of …
Thea jumped off the mattress, avoiding Conall’s body. Earlier when she’d been treating his wounds, she’d spied the syringes in the first aid kit. Grabbing them, Thea hurried out of the motel room and toward the fields beyond. Quickly she dug a hole with her bare hands and buried the syringes. Hurrying back, she avoided staring at Conall because he looked very much dead.
She grabbed his wallet and as she took his money, leaving him his credit cards, a folded-up photograph caught her attention. Curiosity got the better of her and she pulled it out. Smoothing her fingers across the picture, she spotted who she thought was Conall only to realize it wasn’t. The man who looked like him was standing next to a much younger Conall, and Thea deduced it was his father. The younger Conall had his arm around the waist of a small, redheaded girl buried into his side. And beside the man she’d mistaken for Conall was a beautiful redheaded woman.
Was this Conall and his family?
They were standing on a rocky beach, a beautiful lake and mountains behind them.
Thea wondered which one of them was sick. Which of these people was he willing to sacrifice her for?
Memories of her own parents swelled in her throat, burning and screaming to get out. But Thea shoved them back down as she shoved the photograph into his wallet.
There were times she pulled those memories out and let herself swim in the pain because it was worth it to remember the happy moments.
But now was not the time.
With a ruthless supernatural sure to wake up from a broken neck wanting to kill her, and some unknown entity out there hunting her too, now was very much the time to go.
About S. Young
Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Fight or Flight. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.
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