Half-angel/half-demon and a powerful immortal, Limos is also known as Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. She is the only one of the four siblings who was raised by their mother in Sheoul, and as such, she was betrothed to Satan himself and leaned more toward her demon side for years, even secretly betraying her brothers in ways they don't yet know about. But their love and acceptance for the past five thousand years have turned her into a better person who now tries to do the right thing, even though the temptation to lie is a potent one that gives her a rush every time she does. With her brother's Seal already broken and him raining destruction on the earth and with her trying to avoid circumstances that will send her back to her fiancé in hell, Limos has enough on her plate and doesn't need any distractions. She's trying to simply focus on finding her agimortus, the trigger that if broken will destroy her own Seal and an object that has been lost for millennia. However, a certain sexy soldier has been tempting her since the day they met and when he steals a kiss, it leads to all sorts of unintended consequences.
Arik Wagner is a commader in the R-XR, the secret branch of the military that deals paranormal phenomena. He's been equally tempted by Limos, so when they're alone at a party, he doesn't think it will hurt anything to steal a kiss. But doing so gets him quite literally sent to hell, where it's all he can do to survive the hideous tortures the demons devise for him. Once he's finally escaped, he knows he should hate Limos for everything that's been done to him, but instead he finds himself drawn to her more and more deeply. Between the pressing need to find Limos's agimortus, the potentially impending Apocalypse looming large, and Satan sending minions to demand his bride, it's difficult for them to find time alone together, but when they discover that there might be a loophole in Limos's marriage contract, Arik is willing to do whatever it takes to save her from a fate worse than death. Will their desperate plan work, or will giving in to their passion only hasten the end of the world?
Immortal Rider is the second book in Larissa Ione's Lords of Deliverance series, which is a spin-off or sub-series of her Demonica series that is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who are half-angel and half-demon. Most of the time, they're good, although they tend to be drawn to whatever part of the world in which their curse is playing out (eg. War is drawn to war, etc.), but if their Seal breaks, they turn full-on baddie, trying to take over for the side of evil. If all their Seals break, then the Apocalypse is imminent. In this book, we have Limos aka Famine, the only female Horseman, paired with Runa's brother, Arik, who is a member of the R-XR, a secret branch of the military that deals with paranormal phenomena. These two shared a brief sexually-charged moment in the previous book, Eternal Rider, and as this story opens, they finally share a passionate kiss, which lands Arik in literal hell, where he's tortured for a month before finally escaping. Afterward, Limos nurses him back to health, during which time things gradually heat up between them even more, but she is supposed to become the bride of Satan, and at first glance, there doesn't seem to be an out-clause in her contract. So they spend the better part of the book trying to figure out if there's a way for them to be together, while still battling her brother Pestilence, who has regrouped and is once again wreaking havoc on the Earth. There are also sub-plots for a number of secondary characters that start building their stories that are yet to come, so Immortal Rider ended up being an almost non-stop, action-packed adventure that didn't skimp on the romantic and sexy times.
Limos is the only one of the Horsemen to be raised by their mother, Lilith, in Sheoul, where she was treated like a princess. As a result, during her early years, she was more in touch with her demon side, so when she came to Earth to find her siblings, she was at first actively working against them and harbors many secrets associated with that time. At birth, she was also betrothed to Satan and is supposed to become his bride, but he can only take her to his realm under certain conditions. She's also a five-thousand-year-old virgin who wears a chastity belt that can only be removed by her husband when she weds, and if any other man comes too close to her lady parts, it releases barbs that chop bits off. Additionally she has no idea where her agimortus - a vessel that if destroyed will trigger the breaking of her Seal - has been hidden, and with Pestilence actively trying to find it in order to get her to join him in his evil pursuits, it's imperative that she get to it first. Limos is very attracted to Arik, and in a moment of weakness she shares a kiss with him that causes her jealous betrothed to drag him down to hell. She spends the next month, searching endlessly for him, and when she finally gets him back, she's extremely surprised that he's able to forgive her for all that happened to him during that time. She soon realizes that she's fallen in love with him, but there's a great deal of danger ahead as they search for her agimortus, hold Pestilence at bay, and find a way to break her marriage contract so that they can be together. Limos is a very relatable heroine. I very much liked that even though she's a bad-ass Horseman, she also has a very feminine side that enjoys girly things and actually likes it when Arik plays protector, even though she's far more powerful than he is. Because of her demon upbringing, she does have a tendency to lie about a number of things and keep a lot of secrets, because lying gives her a rush. But she at least has the decency to feel guilty about most of them and eventually finds that being with Arik gives her the same feelings.
If memory serves, Arik was introduced in the second Demonica book, Desire Unchained, where I seem to recall, I didn't like him a whole lot because of his arrogance. However, if that was the case, I've totally changed my mind after seeing him as the hero of this book. As I mentioned, he's Runa's brother. Growing up with an abusive father, he's always had to be a protector, first to Runa and their mother, and then as a member of the R-XR. He's been totally hot for Limos, pretty much from the moment they met, so it's only natural that he decides to kiss her at a party they're both attending. Unfortunately that results in the earth opening up and him quite literally being dragged down to hell, where unspeakable tortures await him. Just before he was taken, Limos begged him not to say her name, because it's one of the tricks that Satan might use to finally take her as well. Arik is incredibly strong, and with a little help from a Seminus demon who heals him after each torture session, he manages to maintain some semblance of sanity throughout his ordeal and stubbornly refuses to say Limos's name. Eventually he manages to escape Sheoul, and ends up at Limos's Hawaiian villa, where it takes him a while to actually believe that he's no longer in hell. Once he does, he knows that he should hate her for everything that happened to him, but he simply can't. In fact, he loves her enough that he believes in her even after all of her secrets are revealed. I adored Arik for how protective he is of all the women in his life, including Limos who could totally kick his ass. He doesn't take crap from anyone, including her brothers. He's also incredibly forgiving, loving, and determined to do anything it takes to ensure that she never has to wed Satan.
With Immortal Rider being part of its own series as well as intertwined with the larger Demonica series, there are supporting characters aplenty who appear in other books of the series. In fact, this book had almost as ensemble cast with many of these characters getting their own POVs and sub-plots. Ares and Cara (Eternal Rider) are still fighting the good fight with Ares still protecting his Seal and Cara commanding the hellhounds who are loyal only to her. We see a lot more of Thanatos aka Death and are introduced to Regan who will become his heroine in the next book, Lethal Rider. Thanatos is desperately trying to protect his virginity which he believes is his agimortus, while being incredibly attracted to Regan, an Aegis Guardian who has been sent to his castle on a sensitive and quite frankly pretty messed mission that the Aegis thinks may save humanity. Even though it wasn't her idea in the first place and there were lots of details she didn't know going into it, I wasn't too happy with what Regan did in this book, so she's going to have a lot to make up for to become a heroine I can admire. There's also Reseph aka Pestilence who apparently will be redeemed to become the hero of the fourth book, Rogue Rider. Two other characters who get their own POVs are the angel Reaver and his counterpart, the fallen angel, Harvester, who are the Watchers of the Horsemen and who will become the hero and heroine of the book, Reaver. Harvester puts Reaver through an ordeal in this book that I'm certain will continue to have repercussions in future books, so she, too, is going to need a major redemption. Shade and Runa (Desire Unchained) show up a few times to check on Arik, and Shade's brothers, Eidolon and Wraith are seen as well. Kynan, the head of the Aegis, isn't too happy about their plan for Thanatos, but reluctantly goes along with it. Lastly Tav, the Seminus demon who helps Arik in Sheoul, shows up again later in the story, and although he doesn't appear to headline any books in the series yet, I hope maybe we haven't seen the last of him, as I found him to be an intriguing and complex character.
The entire Demonica series as a whole so far has been chock full of incredible reads, most of which have made it to keeper status for me, and Immortal Rider is no exception. I loved Arik and Limos, and they're definitely among by favorite heroes and heroines of the series thus far. I understood and related to Limos quite well, while Arik was the perfect hero for me. The book is loaded with tons of action and adventure that keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace, and when it slows down a bit to allow for some romantic moments, they're very tender, while the love scenes are every bit as steamy as I've come to expect from this author. The plot is full of twists and turns that I'm sure the reader won't see coming and that will definitely keep them on their toes. There's so much that happens in this book that will affect future stories in the series that it's certainly not to be missed. I know that I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it and can't wait to see what happens next, so I'm looking forward to continuing with the next book very soon.
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