Darker Than Desire (Secrets & Shadows #3) by Shiloh Walker


 LUST FOR LIFENo matter how many times he’s left her in the past, Sybil Chalmers can’t ignore her feelings for the one man who  stole her heart years ago. For countless nights, she has waited for him—for his kiss, his touch—and has longed for him to emerge from the shadows of his past. Only when she is in his arms does Sybil really feel alive…and finally, after all these years, that time is now.A DEADLY DESIREHe’s a man raised in a world of strict rules and unbreakable traditions and he’s always yearned to break free. But when a family tragedy lures him back home, he finds his one true passion has been there all along. With Sybil, he can explore his greatest potential—and allow her to discover a whole new level of ecstasy. But will a long-buried secret  threaten to tear them apart? The only thing he knows for sure is that he will do anything to keep Sybil in his life…and keep her coming back for more…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22293509-darker-than-desire?ac=1

I really do not know how Ms. Walker manages to make each book better than the previous book in the series because every time I finish one I am blown away by just how good it is. Darker Than Desire is no exception. In order to understand what is going on in this installment of the Secrets & Shadows series, you must read Deeper Than Need and Sweeter Than Sin first because while Darker Than Desire focuses on Sybil and Caine’s relationship, it is even more deeply immersed in the continued series storyline involving Cronus.

 >>>>POSSIBLE SERIES SPOILERS<<<<<

 If you haven’t read the earlier books in the series, do NOT read past this point as this review will contain spoilers for the previous novels but not this one (at least I think I’ve managed to avoid any Darker Than Desire spoilers). Having learned in Sweeter Than Sin that Caine is David Sutter, it was no surprise to me that there would be even more of a focus on Cronus in this book. After all, it was David’s abuse and subsequent disappearance that got the ball rolling that led to the disbanding of Cronus years ago. Fans of the series will be pleased to know that we do find out what happened to David’s father and I was shocked to learn who was responsible. But what was even more shocking was finding out WHY the person made sure David’s father disappeared. Yes, we get answers to many of the questions that have gone unanswered and I found myself shocked more than once as secrets were revealed and truths told.

 But even as the dominoes continue to fall on Cronus, another murderer has set their sights on the town of Madison and David soon finds himself even more of a person of interest for the police. I will admit that I was not sad to see two of the people who were targeted by the murderer exit the story, but that did not hold true for all of the victims and one death left me (and the town of Madison) stunned. This all plays out alongside the developing relationship between David and Sybil. We learn that Sybil has been involved with Caine for years, but no one was aware of it until he left the Amish community and returned to Madison as David. Not only do we learn more about the horrific treatment David suffered at the hands of the men of Cronus, we come to understand why he is so aloof and how his past has affected his life so completely.

 The chemistry between David and Sybil was an odd mix of explosive and calming. Their sexual encounters were highly charged, very erotic, and scorchingly hot. But when they were together otherwise, their presence was a reassuring force for the other and this was most obvious when Sybil was able to calm David down when no one or nothing else could get through. This is what made David’s continued attempts to walk away from Sybil so heartbreaking – I could see where he was coming from intellectually, but emotionally I wanted to smack him for the hurt he was inflicting on Sybil and himself. Ms. Walker does such a good job of answering the major questions for the book and the series that I’m unsure if there will be more books in the Secrets & Shadows series. The ending of Darker Than Desire could easily serve as a series finale, while leaving the door open for further installments. Because I have enjoyed this series so much, it’s no surprise that I’m hoping that Ms. Walker is busy penning the next book in the series.

5str