Marked for Death (Inherited Damnation, #8)
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Pages: 118
Goes Well With: French food. French wine. And some tuna for the cat.

I reviewed the first of Claire Ashgrove’s Inherited Damnation series (Cursed to Kill) some while ago, so it’s intriguing to return and read the last. A story that began well has worked its way through all the cruelly damned siblings as the series progressed, and here’s the final one with some satisfying twists, complex revelations, and a delightful cat.

The lonely Taran finally comes face to face with his curse as he seeks the final scroll and finds instead the woman he killed long ago. Damned by his incubus father, he’s regretted his crime ever since, and he’s paid for it in a lonely, broken life. But now a stranger’s walking the streets of Paris, wearing his dead wife’s face, living in her home, and plying her trade. But can she save him—and can Taran save himself from killing her?

  
 
Of course, Selene was no normal lover, back then or now. Devoted to Taran in spite of his curse, she loves him still in spite of her murder at his hands. Her curious powers might save or eternally damn him, but she’ll need the siblings’ help. Earlier books in the series will detail their various redemptions, but the author sprinkles just enough of the past into this story to bring them all into focus, giving them purpose as they appear on the stage or as they turn away.

Of course, a brother so cursed has probably betrayed them all and can’t expect their sympathy or aid. And a lover who murders can’t expect his spouse to turn around and protect him, for all that she’s ever tempted to welcome him back. Still, a mother who loves will surely bring exactly what’s needed to mix—unless, of course, she’s chosen to sacrifice one for the good of them all.

Bedroom reunions, haunted temptation and passion, cursed love and noble sacrifice—this story has it all. Sure, it’s confusing on occasion, being the last in a set, and a few odd word choices might distract. But it’s a fast, exciting read, with plenty of paranormal twists, bedroom fantasy, sibling rivalry and loyalty, and ancient evil waiting to be thwarted by the patience of the good. Plus, there’s that cat, and even Taran can’t resist its charms.

It might take more than one lunchtime to read this novella, but it’s worth your while, and it could tempt you to take several more lunchtimes reading the stories that come before it.

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