Charlie Sayers is an agent with the Earth Protection Bureau-- and anti Kindred agency dedicated to ridding the world of the big aliens. Charlie joined the EPB out of a sense of patriotism but she has her own reasons to hate the Kindred.
But she has bigger problems than the Kindred at the moment--the Enhanced Ones have come to Earth and they're planning to take over the planet, enslave the inhabitants and strip them of all emotion. Charlie can't have that so she agrees to go undercover with Stavros to find the Heart of Love--an artifact which can destroy their mutual enemy forever.
On their dangerous and difficult mission, Charlie learns that going undercover with your worst enemy can rapidly turn him into your best friend...or your lover. Can she hold on to her beliefs and stay true to herself, or will she lose her heart to Stavros? And even if she gives in to desire, will Stav be able to bond her to him?
Or are they Cursed to be apart forever?
This is a plus length novel--over 153,000 words long.
In Cursed, the Kindred are struggling to convince Earth that it's the Dark Kindred (an unemotional offshoot) that seek war with humanity, but let's say talks are not going well! Most of the Kindred are aboard the mother ship but Stavros, a rare Sin Eater Kindred, is still planet side. Whilst trying to contact his fellow warriors, he has the misfortune to be captured by Charlie a woman who truly hates all of his race and his day is about to get much worse!
Charlie is not quite sure what to do with her prisoner and her boss is absolutely no help whatsoever. When he has the temerity to suggest she take the giant sized monster home with her, she knows it's going to be a long night until help arrives. Charlie is determined to contain the Kindred male but he manages to turn the tables on her and take her prisoner! Stavros is cursed with the ability to feel others pain and mistakenly believes Charlie needs medical assistance and so returns to his mother ship with her. Once there, Stavros is asked to undertake a dangerous mission to a distant planet, but he needs a partner and after eavesdropping on the Kindred, Charlie volunteers to accompany him. The lives of those on Earth are at stake and for some reason Charlie is starting to believe that maybe, just maybe not all Kindred warriors are cold blooded killers; but she can never trust one of them or can she?
Two very different people and yet they have more in common than they realise. Both of these characters have suffered greatly in their past and yet both have survived and are now doing what they can to save their own race. Stavros has the misfortune to carry a parasite and knows his life will be short because of that. It's a curse that means his own people try to distance themselves from him and yet he is so stoic and relentless in his quest to help his people. Stavros knows he can never have a woman of his own but Charlie is very attractive to him and if he could, he would dearly love to claim the brave woman for himself. The interactions between them are hilarious as Charlie frequently confuses him but Stavros is unafraid and prepared to go to any lengths to complete the mission.
As for Charlie, well she has, shall we say had dealings with the Kindred before and it's left her with very strong feelings about them and what they want. I liked that she has made a place for herself in the world and risen above her past but the emotional baggage she carries is truly crippling. This is a woman who would put up with anything and unfortunately. her strength gets well and truly tested. It doesn't help that she is placed in an intense situation with the very stuff of her nightmares in front of her. The only way to survive is to do the unthinkable and that's let Stavros get close to her and boy does that idea set off all sorts of internal alarm bells!
This book carries on from where the previous, Enhanced, left off and it's nice to see old friends show up in this story. The Dark Kindred have awesome abilities but it's the depth of feelings the Kindred warriors possess that carries them through in their fight for what is just and right. I love the nobility of these guys and Stavros is no exception. He would literally give up his life to save others and as their mission goes awry it's a very real prospect.
These books are very steamy by nature but with this story there was no instant lust and leaping into bed, no Ms Anderson allows us to get to know her characters and builds up the sexual tension gradually until I think I was probably more frustrated than the couple! Oh don't misunderstand, there's plenty of heat but there's heart too and a surprising amount of depth. I never expect to cry when I read a book by this author but at the end I was completely surprised at the level of emotion wrung from me.
What can I say? Imaginative, sexy and just plain good! I can't wait to find out what happens next and I am totally gob smacked by the twists and turns that keep occurring. Cursed is well written but even more importantly, it's a unique series that many may emulate but none can compare. Read this book and be prepared to want a Kindred male of your own!