Thank you to Emily McIntire, Bloom Books, Raincoast, and NetGalley for the advance reader copy of Crossed, the fifth standalone in the Never After series.
Crossed is not for the faint of heart, but if you have gotten this far with Emily McIntire’s steamy fractured fairytales then you know what to expect – something dark and twisted. Father Cade has a sinister streak and Amaya is the perfect Esmeralda-esque character, so when their paths cross you get a deliciously dark story.
From bestselling author Emily McIntire comes a dark and delicious fractured fairy tale reimagining of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
He is righteousness. She is sin.
Father Cade Frédéric is a holy man. Brought up in the streets of Paris, he has dedicated his life to the church. But there’s a monster that lingers just beneath the surface. A sickness. One that bleeds darkness and feeds on the damned. When he’s tasked to become the priest in Festivalé, Vermont, a town both beautiful in architecture and riddled with despair, his sickness sings, demanding he rid the place of evil.
Amaya Paquette is Festivalé’s beautiful mystery. She spends her days caring for her younger brother and her nights transforming into Esmeralda, dancing for greedy eyes and shameless lips. Although she longs for love, she shies away from companionship, afraid of being abandoned again.
When Father Cade lays eyes on Amaya, he finds himself ensnared, convinced she’s using witchcraft to lure him to her. He can’t eat. Can’t breathe. Can’t think unless it’s of her.
And temptation is a devastating mistress.
She’s his weakness, so he decides he’ll be her demise…even if it means killing the only woman he might ever love.
*CROSSED is a dark, contemporary romance (not fantasy or a literal retelling) and the fifth complete standalone in the Never After series: fractured fairy tales inspired by our favorite villains. It features mature themes and content that may not be suitable for all readers. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. Detailed TW can be found on the author’s website. This series can be enjoyed in any order.*
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: The leading man of Crossed is Father Cade Frédéric, a priest from Paris who at the opening of our story is settling in Festivalé, Vermont. This hero, or should I say this villain is not just emotionally toured – he’s very into self-flagellation. A priest was the perfect corrupt hero for Emily to tackle, and he is one of her darkest yet. As readers will read the first chapter opens with him strangling someone to death. Amaya is the town pariah, so she is the perfect heroine for Cade. As in previous stories in this world, the hero doesn’t truly corrupt the heroine rather he celebrates and loves her for the whole picture of her no matter how sinful a side of her may be. Fans of the first book, Hooked should enjoy this one, as Amaya is reminiscent of Wendy if life had thrown more at her.
- Setting: This story is set in small town Vermont – a grimy, gossipy place. It is extremely corrupt as one man basically runs the town and enjoys unlimited power. That is until Cade and his religious authority shows up. Readers will love how he messes with than man who is trying to marry Amaya.
- Pacing: I found the pacing super compelling. I read about one hundred pages before golfing to bed and then woke up the next day to finish the rest. I just needed to see our characters give into their undeniable sexual chemistry and descend into being more and more sinful.
- Romance: With such forbidden characters like this of course the sex is hot and sinful. I did get really emotionally invested in them too. Plus I was a sucker for how Cade not only fell for Amaya but also her little brother Quinten. This should be stressed that this book is not for the faint of heart – no redemption and character growth furthering the corruption.
Crossed receives four out of five stars.
You can pick up the story here.
Thank you again to Emily, Bloom, and Raincoast for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!