Mels Carmichael, reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal, gets the shock of her life when a man stumbles in front of her car outside the local cemetery. After the accident, his amnesia is just the kind of mystery she likes to solve, but she soon discovers they’re in over their heads with his past. Over their heads with passion, too…
As shadows walk the line between reality and another realm, and her lover’s memory begins to come back, the two of them learn that nothing is truly dead and buried. Especially if you’re trapped in a no holds barred war between angels and demons. With a soul on the line and and Mels’s heart at risk, what in Heaven-or in Hell-will it take to save them both?
I have such a raging crush on J.R Ward, it’s not even funny. Her books just make me so ridiculously happy. And Rapture, book 4 in the Fallen Angel series, was no exception. In case you haven’t heard of this series (seriously, where have you been?), let me give you a quick rundown. It’s basic premise is that of the whole good vs evil, heaven vs hell thing. The idea is that there are seven souls who are teetering between being good or being evil. It is up to Jim Heron, our leading man, to influence these people. If they make the right decision, and fall on the side of good, the world will be saved. If they make the wrong decision, hell will quite literally break loose. So. Big stakes. Luckily, Jim doesn’t have to deal with this mess all on his own. He has the help of two angels, Eddie and Adrian. Or at least, he did. Eddie is no longer with us :-(. Hindering Jim is the demon, Devina. This woman is chock full of crazy and has it bad for Jim, much to his disgust.
This installment of the series sees the score being 2:1 to the good guys. Plus Divina is being punished because she is physically incapable of playing by the rules. So things aren’t looking awful for Team Angel at this point, but then Jim is confronted by a familiar face. The soul in need of saving is the one and only Matthias, leader of XOps and Jim’s former boss. The main reason this is such a shock is because the last time we saw Matthias, he was in hell. So, what the…hell… is he doing here? Turns out, Matthias being given a second chance. He knows the score, he understands all too clearly what will happen to him should he not make the right choice. See, through a series of misunderstandings, Jim went after the wrong soul in Crave. Circumstances being what they were, Team Angel lost and Matthias went to hell.
I don’t know if the WARDen had planned Matthias’s redemption, if she just had a soft spot for him, or if he was a fan favourite. All I can say is that I am so very glad that Matthias got his second chance. I thought that Isaac Rothe was it in terms of sheer awww…-ness, but Matthias came damn close to bumping him off that top spot. Matthias has some horrifying physical and mental scars that he has to deal with, and he has a serious bout of self-loathing going on. Case in point: the guy stepped on a bloody landmine. On purpose. Suicidal tendencies abound. Unfortunately for Matthias, he didn’t die and his lower body is riddled with scars and he has to walk with a cane. Despite being a huge blow to Matthias’s pride, he’s dealing. Cane or not, this man is still absolutely lethal.
Then Matthias’s already jumbled world is shaken up even further when he’s hit by a car being driven by one Mels Carmichael. Less than stellar circumstances in which to meet somebody but, oddly enough, Matthias doesn’t seem to mind too much. Mels is a reporter and her life has stalled out on her. She’s frustrated with her job, and she’s uncomfortable living with a mother she doesn’t fully understand or have much in common with. Needless to say, she needs a change. But I’m pretty sure almost turning some poor guy into a speed bump wasn’t what she had in mind. Things between Matthias and Mels develop pretty quickly, and soon they’re thinking terms of I-love-yous. But Shakespeare had it right and, in next to no time at all, Devina shows up looking to make somebody miserable.
I loved all the characters in this book. I just wanted to give Matthias a hug. He was this mixture of both supremely cuddly and utterly badass. Given all that he’d been through, Mels was honestly perfect for him. She wasn’t judgy, even when she would have had every reason to be. She was solid, but she didn’t put up with any of his crap either. While things were looking up for Matthias and Mels, things seemed to be spiraling for the remaining members of Team Angel. Adrian is not handling Eddie’s death well, and he isn’t providing Jim with the back up he needs. Eddie once provided Team Angel with a much needed referee. Adrian and Jim don’t always see eye-to-eye, and their idea of resolving the issue often leads to scenes that wouldn’t seem out of place at a WWE Smackdown. Jim really had his hands full in this book. He’s haunted by the death of the young woman, Cecelia Barton, and Devina is not above shoving that in his face at every opportunity. Now he’s responsible for keeping Adrian from going off the rails, as well as saving the world. It’s a good thing Jim’s already dead, or he would be bordering on a heart attack at this point. I’ve mentioned Devina a couple of times here. She is everything you’d expect from a demon; she’s an evil, manipulative, sadistic bitch. But I have a confession where Devina is concerned: I have a slight case of sympathy for the devil. The thing is, you can relate to her. Unlike some villains you read about, where all you get is the emphasis on what makes them so awful, she’s not just evil. She has layers and problems just like anyone else. She sees a therapist, she gets her hair done, she frets about what to wear and how to impress the guy she likes. If she wasn’t such a psychotic bitch, I’d feel sorry for her.
I know this is a fairly long post, but I can’t let you go without sharing some of my favourite quotes from this book.
In this scene, Mels’s boss is hitting on her. The aptly named Dick is, by the sounds of it, as far away from sexy as it’s possible to get:
What she was clear on was that with a jawline more ham sandwich than Jon Hamm, the man had no objective reason to believe the answer to any woman’s problems was in his pants.
This bit is from Jim’s perspective and conveys his utter disbelief at finding his old boss asking him for help:
And yet no matter how much his brain cramped, it looked like pigs could fly, there was a snowball in Hell, and somewhere across town, a twelve-year old dog was learning to drive a goddamn car.
Last little bit before I go comes after Jim and Adrian have rip-roaring fight. Adrian is being an irresponsible pain in Jim’s butt, and now Jim’s had enough. While they’re fighting, Jim kicks Adrian in the penalty area:
Motherfucker was going to sing the high notes like Justin-cocksucking-Timberlake for a while.
I think you might be able to pick up on the fact that I loved this book. And I’m pretty sure that if you read it, you will, too.