Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals--and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan are ... tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.
Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society--a world full of vampires who seem too ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands...
I have LOVED this series from the beginning and Hard Bitten was one of my highly anticipated reads for this year. I was so giddy when I finally got a copy and I jumped in with both feet. I've had a complete lust crush on Ethan (come on who hasn't?) and I wanted the answer - will he finally get together with Merit? I was even prepared to go hunt down the author and do a rewrite if I didn't find out by the end of the book. I'll admit, at first I was tempted to go for an entirely different reason. This is a difficult review to right because of spoilers so I'm going to keep it short and just touch on a few things. What I really want to do is gust and groan and gnash my teeth a little but I'll spare you the end part. LOL
You can tell the mark of a great storyteller when they can have you feeling intense emotions over their characters. Right from the start, this book had me hooked and eagerly reading, wanting to know what came next. Merit was once again this kick butt heroine and I absolutely love her fiestiness. She has no problem getting in there to get the job done and she has an amazing heart. I wanted so badly for her to be with Ethan, and there were definitely moment between them that had me swooning. I love that Ethan realized he'd been a fool and was trying to prove he was committed to her. Although it went against what my heart was saying, I'm glad that Merit didn't just fall into his arms with all forgiven. Ethan screwed up and he needed to show that he wasn't going to mess with her heart again. Their relationship and bantering excited me and I kept telling myself "At the end of the book... at the end of the book" Part of me wishes I never got there...
There are very few books that cause such a powerful reaction that I'm reduced to tears, caught up in the story days later and literally lose the will to read - Hard Bitten was one of them. After rereading the ending a few times, I rushed to my husband and sobbed so hard, snot flying everywhere (attractive, right?) I was in shock and my poor Kindle was left untouched for about 3 days. I can hear you saying - oh my gosh, was the book that bad? NOOO! The book was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing, even though it was painful. I'm an emotional reader and love the way a book will grab my heart and play with it. Chloe has written such an amazing series, that the characters feel "real' to me so whenever they cry - I cry. When they laugh - I laugh. And when they are hurt - I hurt alongside them. Not everything is a bed of roses and if you're like me, you want the FULL experience when you're reading. Hard Bitten IS the full experience so if you're hesitant to read it because you've heard the world lament - don't fear it, embrace it. It's still one of my favorite series and it has me chomping at the bit for book 5, which is released in November.
Would I recommend this book? Oh heck yes! A million times yes! You'd be crazy not to read it... honestly and truly. I want to give a shout out to the author - well done and bravo for having the courage to staying true to your story. It mustn't be easy when you have fans shaking pitchforks over you but I want to leave this review with the words of Chloe - she wants us to trust her so trust her we will! Head out and get yourself a copy of Hard Bitten (the rest of the series if you haven't read them) and sit back and enjoy! Happy reading!