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Review: Dark Secrets by Shona Husk

Dark Secrets by Shona Husk
Fantasy, Romance, Magic, Western
Release Date: February 18th
Ebook $2.99 (novella, CARINA PRESS)
Six years ago, Haidyn Mast left his home and his betrothed Anisa to follow his magical calling. Too weak to join the Arcane Guild and too ashamed to return home, he has made a life as a prostitute—to all outward appearances. In truth, he sells his mind but not his body, using magic to let his clients experience their most secret fantasies while his hands stay clean. Even the Lawman, the arbiter of justice in Reseda, is one of his clients, but Haidyn would rather not know the extent of that man's depravity.
Though successful, Haidyn is shunned as a whore and his lack of formal training is causing his power to grow out of control. He's ready to retire and leave the city, but when he sees his Anisa standing at the Lawman's side, he knows he must rescue her from the abusive enforcer. Risking his life and his sanity, he devises a plan, knowing that failure will mean death for him, and a lifetime of torment for her…

Author Site: shonahusk.com

Romance for the Unconventional Fantasy Lover (5 stars)

Husk's 2011 release, DARK VOW, is quite possibly one of my favorite romances of all time. It's definitely not for everybody but the strange blend of western and magic that makes up the world is an absolutely incomparable and fresh place to find yourself. I was actually really sad when I didn't hear anything about more stories to follow last year. The arrival of DARK SECRETS had me so excited I could hardly stand the wait to devour it... and devour it I did.

When Haidyn is turned away from the Arcane Guild for lack of power his shame is too great. Instead of returning home to claim another Lord—imagine ten different gods of a sort—and marry the love he left behind, he falls into prostitution to survive the streets of Reseda. But that too weak gift that kept him from the guild keeps him from ever actually selling his flesh, instead he develops a skill of manipulating the mind of his clients. Through this gift he has risen from lowly tavern whore to master of a pleasure house.

Though he has aquired much wealth his power has grown out of control and he's drawing too much attention for the ruthless and cruel Lawman. When Anisa, the love he left behind, comes to Reseda as the Lawman's new bride, Haidyn will have to choose between the dark secrets that have become his new life and risking it all to save her from the one man who could destroy them both.

While I can't quite say I loved DARK SECRETS as much as its predecessor, it was just plain great. One doesn't need to read DARK VOW to enjoy it either, though there are hints at events from it and I would recommend reading them in order. Told from Haidyn's perspective it's really unconventional as a romance, I wasn't quite sure I would enjoy it but there was something refreshing about seeing the hero's struggle to reclaim his lost love, the justifications he had made and how he suffered for them. I really loved it.

If you're in need of something to break you out of a reading funk and love fantasy I think you will really enjoy DARK SECRETS. Those who've read DARK VOW and liked it should also be sure to pick it up, it's not as much of an adventure story but has the same intricate world you probably enjoyed.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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