Series: Drake Sisters
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 30, 2009
From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.
Elle Drake's been in love with Jackson Deveau, deputy sheriff of Sea Haven, since before she met him. And when she did meet him, she knew he was her destiny, the one man to help her continue her family's legacy...But in the end he rejected her, and she left, to go lick her wounds the only way she knew how—by helping others.
On her latest undercover assignment, she met someone who is perfect for her, someone who would never reject her...But she discovers that perfection is only a mask a little too late...And never makes it home.
Jackson Deveau pushed Elle away because he knew he wasn't worthy of her legacy...And because she'd wanted him to change into what she thought was the perfect picture to go with the legacy. But Jackson knows he's not perfect, he's never been, and what's been done to him had prevented had changed him into something he himself fears sometimes. But he loves her, he's always loved her. How could he not? She's his complete opposite, gentle, caring, loving, beautiful, with a loving family, and a heart of gold. He'd feared he'd taint her spirit by being with her, but he's beyond caring now that she's gone.
He's determined to get her back no matter the cost. And get her back, he would, even if he had to walk to Hell and back. But even as he fulfills the promise, they both have a long road ahead of them...
I admit I was a bit leery of this book thanks to all the reviews both on GoodReads and on Amazon, but in the end this one turned out to be a wonderful, a little heartbreaking, and quite a bittersweet story, and provided a perfect ending to this series.
The scenes everybody so complained about (the first couple of chapters in the book) weren't as "bad" as we've all been warned. They were necessary to the story, to Elle's growth, maturing, change, and understanding of self, and their execution was extremely tasteful. Ms Feehan succeeded in conveying the right amount of sorrow, terror, and pain Elle's been through without descending into gory details.
These scenes were also instrumental in Elle's fundamental understanding of Jackson's character and what he's been through. Sure, she'd been there with him, sharing his mind as he'd been tortured as a prisoner of war, but until she went through pretty much the same torture, she didn't understand him, not completely, not the way he needed to be understood. And that was evident throughout the series, whenever these two had a scene together. Elle simply didn't get him, and because she didn't get him, his silences, his brooding, his deep-rooted need for violence, she pulled a childish act and went undercover...And almost lost herself.
Did she suffer? Yes. Did she come back a changed woman? Yes. But she also came back with a new vein of steel underneath, the steel Jackson himself helped hone during the recovery process.
They both suffered through it all, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and both Jackson and Elle came out of the ordeal tougher, their connection stronger than ever.
And this is what I love most about Christine Feehan's writing. Her ability to convey strong emotions in her stories, her penchant for putting her characters through hell (both literally and figuratively) and make them come out on the other side stronger, more determined, more mature, changed, but still remaining the same deep down where it counts...All without having to subject the reader to all the gory details. After all, this isn't a horror story or a thriller, but a romance with all the trimmings, including the requisite happy ending.
I loved the dynamic of the characters, the sisterly devotion, the friendship between the men, how they were all determined to keep Jackson out of jail and end the evil together.
Speaking of evil, the villain was the weakest link in this book for me. Not because of his villainy, he was appropriately evil and insane, but because of his seeming omnipotence. I don't know whether it was written as a sort of analogy; because of what he'd put her through Elle though he was so very powerful, capable of striking from great distance at everything she held dear, and that's exactly what he was, but I felt his powers were a bit of an overkill, a plot-device to bring it all full-circle, to need the full power of all the Drake sisters and their chosen mates to vanquish.
Speaking of which, it was lovely to revisit the couples from previous books, and see them still holding strong, the women still teasing their mates and the men still unrepentant over their overprotective ways.
And the ending was just perfect with all the gifts to the next generation, the ever-changing, people-eating house preparing itself for the next generation, and the wind visiting each couple, showing glimpses of their happiness, before rushing back toward the sea.
P.S. Also, this book, though finishing the Drake era, provided a nice intro into the Prakenskii brothers era, with Ilya's brother making an appearance, resulting to be in the same profession as his younger brother. His story is next in line, following his escape from the boat, in Water Bound.