This book is exactly the reason I'm tighter with my five-stars. Because when something this brilliant comes along it deserves every single one. Holy hell, Vin "Priest" Mannion.
"Sometimes we find what we want in the strangest places."
I'm picky when it comes to the falling-for-your-abductor trope; it's one I've struggled with in the past because of stereotype and predictability. But here I am, eating my words, because The Found hit every spot. It's dark, it's gritty, it's unpredictable, and you feel everything the characters experience: it keeps you on your toes and has scenes that are, to be quite blunt, as hot-as-f*** and those which are heartfelt. And if you love those elements, then you'll devour every single moment.
"It’s not about capturing you. It's about showing you the pleasure in giving up control."
I loved Priest. LOVED HIM. Beneath the monster is most definitely a man, one with so many layers and I appreciated each one--the cold calm assassin, the tortured and tormented man battling his demons, and the man capable of deliciously dirty things. He stole my heart, put it through the ringer and I was there in that room with him and Willow every step of the way; sweet, vulnerable Willow who was stubborn as hell, determined and, when she wanted to be, downright bloody kick-ass. And the chemistry between them is something else with build-up, fight and discovery as Priest unleashes a side to Willow she never knew existed.
"She’d expected him to torture her. To hurt her. She hadn’t expected it to be like this, his touch invading her in ways she’d never allowed anyone..."
This story was so much more than I could have anticipated and I went through a myriad of emotions: not unusual when I pick up a book by this author, but some weren't necessarily ones I envisaged I'd feel. Priest and Willow have one hell of a journey filled with highs and lows, is perfectly paced for the period of time it covers and what you see is not what you get when it comes to either of them.
"Now...let’s see how much you can endure."
This is absolutely a read to experience in all its glory for yourself and Cole McCade proves he's a master at his craft: creating strong characters and a story which is raw, honest and poignant, filled with hate, lust, kink, determination, fear and perfectly timed humour. Priest and Willow are unforgettable characters: days after reading this they're still in my head and my heart, and I applaud Cole for making me swoon over a man who's a killer because Priest is quite possibly my favourite hero/anti-hero of all time. Crow City is shaping up to be a place where anything is possible and I'm excited to see where we're taken next.
(It's worth mentioning that although part of a series, this can be read as a standalone.)
(reviewed the day of purchase)