Book Review of Enemy Mine by Karin Harlow

Title:  Enemy Mine

Author:  Karin Harlow

Release Date:  August 30th, 2011

Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance

While tracking a hijacked cask of enriched uranium in Kyrgyzstan, L.O.S.T. operative Nikko Cruz is ambushed and left for dead. Which means he must be hallucinating when the only woman he ever loved—the woman he was sentenced to death for killing—comes to his rescue. Half-daemon Selena Guererro has secrets she’d kill for. The most important one, she’s already died to protect. Now she’ll do anything to keep her daughter safe. But she can’t just leave her lost love to perish. She injects Nikko with immortal blood serum, putting herself in grave danger.

When Nikko comes to, he is superhuman and super pissed. The mother of his daughter—the one he thought killed their child—is alive. He wants answers. He wants blood. And despite his best intentions, he wants Selena. He traces her to a mysterious terrorist cell where the cask has surfaced. First, he must retrieve the deadly material. Then he’ll take revenge on his beautiful ex. But when nothing goes as planned, Nikko and Selena find themselves burning with desire . . . and blowing the roof off their separate worlds, human and daemon alike.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review:  I loved the first book in this series, Enemy Lover (review here) and was thrilled to receive the ARC for this book in the mail.  While this book is part of a series, if you have not read Enemy Lover you could still read Enemy Mine without a problem.  Karin includes enough information and back story for a new reader to understand the world of the L.O.S.T. operatives.  There are characters that we have met from the previous book that play roles in this one and it was nice to catch up with them and see how they were, but someone who did not read the first book would still be able to follow along with the story just fine.  However, I would still highly recommend the first book because it is fantastic!

Alright, onto Enemy Mine.  We rejoin the L.O.S.T operatives while they are on a mission to recover a weapon that will devastate both the human and immortal world.  We follow L.O.S.T. operative Nikko as he and his team try and recover the weapon.  Everything seems to be going well, until Nikko’s team is betrayed leaving him mortally wounded.   He fears death until a face from his past comes to his rescue.  It is the woman he thought was dead for eight years and the love of his life, Selena.  In his weakened state he almost believes her to be a hallucination since he thought he had killed her himself, but when he wakes completely healed he begins to track Selena down.  Nikko was burned by Selena in the past and as a result he has earned the nickname “Ice” because of the wall he has built around his heart.  The second he sees Selena alive again, his wall starts to crack.

Selena is also taken aback to see Nikko while on a mission to recover the same weapon Nikko was after.  She wants to leave him, but her heart breaks when she sees him dying.  So, she stops long enough to revive him and disappear.  Selena’s father and his constant attempts on her and her loved one’s lives has caused her to harden her heart and cultivate her fighting skills.  Once someone who had her heart wide open for Nikko, she has now closed it off completely and adjusted to life on her own.  Her new mission in life is to destroy her sadistic father and live life without fear of his rage.  When Nikko comes back into the picture though, her world is turned upside down and her head and her heart are constantly at war with each other.

I loved that Karin painted Selena as a kick butt heroine.  She did like having Nikko at her side at times, but did not need him there.  She was a woman who could take care of herself and I admired her for that.  I quickly tire of whiny heroines who rely solely on the men in their lives to protect them.  The women in Karin’s novels are self-reliant and I appreciate her ability to write strong women as well as men.  Through Selena, Karin also lets us see more of the daemon world.  In book one, we learned about the immortal world, but focused mostly on the vampires.  In Enemy Mine, we see how the daemons live and what threat they bring to the L.O.S.T operatives.  As always, Karin’s mythology is fascinating and I soaked up every detail she gave us.  She includes enough knowledge about the world to keep the reader interested and well informed, but does not bog down the story with irrelevant information that would slow down the plot.

The romance and the action have equal play time in Enemy Mine, which keeps the reader on their toes constantly.  The fire that burns between Nikko and Selena is anything but a slow burn and when they let their walls down and give into their emotions, the result is explosive.  They are both emotional wrecks trying to forgive one another for a past filled with heartache and betrayal.  However, they still love each other with fierce passion, though neither is willing to get burned again.   So they continue to guard their hearts with extreme caution.  Watching the moments when they slowly open up to each other and let their hearts guide them was so precious.  Nikko and Selena are learning to love again and Karin did a wonderful job of conveying those emotions to the reader.

As for the action, it is engaging and filled with suspense.  You were never quite sure when an enemy was going to turn up and threaten all that Selena and Nikko are working towards.  The fight scenes are intense and played through my head like a movie because the description was so precise.  I longed for these scenes as much as the romantic ones and was hanging onto every word Karin wrote.

The secondary characters were also entertaining.  My favorite among them was Joran.  He has been a friend to Selena for a long time and also happens to be an extremely ancient vampire.  We are not sure of his exact age, but we do know he was in love once and lost her to unknown circumstances.  He is sarcastic, unforgiving to his enemies, but his loyalty to those he considers friends is unwavering.   Karin kept me aching to learn more about him every time his name appeared on the page.  Joran plays a pivotal role with many events throughout the book and left me hoping we get to see more of him in the future.

I could keep going on about everything I love about this book, but I am going to stop myself and just urge you to read Enemy Mine as well.  Overall, Enemy Mine is a thrill ride filled with fast paced action, eccentric, lovable characters and a romance that has survived broken hearts, deception and come out of it stronger than ever.  I cannot recommend this book and this series enough and am looking forward to future books from Karin.

FTC:  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.  Thank you!

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