Medic Katarina d’Arnal moves to the slums to work in a free clinic and ends up drawing the job of inoculating Shareem. The first Shareem who shows up is the Calder, a level three, muffled from head to foot, refusing to bare even an inch of skin. He’s used to an elderly medic who jabs him and lets him go, not the pretty, young highborn woman who wants to do everything by the book.
Calder hides himself because, unlike the rest of the Shareem—the handsome, arrogant, a-holes—Calder is scarred all over, the result of a plasma fire years ago. He’s learned that women crave to be with him, as hideous as he is, and he’s created a world where they can indulge in their darkest fantasies with the Beast. He give them an exotic experience with a capital E.
But this woman, Katarina, looks at Calder the man, and wants to know all about him. Calder decides to show her what he is when she’s tricked into visiting his lair—but Katarina keeps insisting on touching his burned face with her gentle fingers, trying to find the man behind the tormented Beast.
Calder knows if he lets her in to what he truly is, it will be the end of him…
Nothing satisfies quite like a mysterious tortured hero…
“This is Calder, sweetheart,” Braden said. “One of the best level threes ever made. Means he’s gentle as a kitten one minute, dangerous as a desert tiger the next. You never know what he’s going to do.”
But that made him more exciting.
Calder was a wonderfully crafted character. The author had set up his mysterious and foreboding persona in the the previous books. He was more intriguing than any other Shareem by the time we got to his book.
a.k.a The Beast: Level Three Shareem
Braden on Calder:
“…Forget about Calder, sweetheart. He’s . . . Put it this way—when he got burned he went to a bad place, and I don’t mean the DNAmo lab. He never really recovered. There’s a darkness to him that a pretty lady like you doesn’t need to touch. He’s taken level three to a height even I don’t understand. And I’m pretty bad-ass.”
We knew that Calder was disfigured by a fire when he was being experimented on at DNAmo. We also know that Dr. Laas saved him, but that he had not mentally recovered from the incident. He covered himself head to toe in black robes and goggles, allowing no one to see his mangled skin.
This aversion to nudity does not serve him well when he checks into the clinic for his required inoculations. The pretty little doctor working at the slum clinic insists that he disrobe for a full exam. Naturally, Calder refuses. He rips the hypo from her hand, inoculates himself, then storms out of the clinic leaving a baffled Dr. Katarina d’Arnal behind.
a.k.a. Dr. Katarina d’Arnal
She suddenly understood the complete appeal of Shareem, why women would pay fortunes for an appointment with Calder.
Shareem would do anything in the name of pleasure. And there was a hint of uncertainty about how far they would go.
Calder has a gimmick to cope with his disfigurement, he has created a pleasure palace where he hunts his prey in the dark. He capitalizes on wealthy women’s captive fantasies, and makes a ton of money doing it. There’s a waiting list a mile long to get in. And once you’re in Calder’s lair there’s no safe word, no mercy… He will hunt you, he will find you, and you’ll learn what it is like to be with the BEAST.
As I said, the wait-list to be hunted by the BEAST is a mile long, but meddling Dr. Angelica Laas (who we’ve known from previous books) decides to play match-maker. She hack’s Calder’s database and inserts a listing for little miss Katarina. She then sends a transmission to the clinic Dr. d’Arnal works at and informs them that someone is in need of medical attention at Calder’s address. You see where this is going?
Once Katarina realizes that she’s been set up in this erotic situation with the Shareem she has been dreaming about, she willingly submits herself to the dark and to the desires of the BEAST…
I’ve got mixed feelings with this one folks. A few things bothered me about this installment in the Tales of the Shareem Series:
Insta-Love has been a near constant in this series, and I’ve been more-or-less cool with it. The heroines always seem to fall in love very quickly with their Shareem, but for some reason, Katarina seemed to fall extra hard, extra fast…
Maybe I feel this way because because I loved the connection between Ky & Aiden in the last book? Their connection grew over twenty years, so the love seemed more real/deep to me?
In addition, Calder’s mood swings kind of drove me nuts. One second he was so sure that he wanted Katarina, the next he was running away and hiding in his lair for weeks. There’s a difference between “broken” and “childish”.
That being said, once the emotion started pouring honestly from both main characters, the book became immensely enjoyable! Calder and Katarina were a little awkward in the beginning, but once all the petty behavior was set aside, and the real conflicts began to occur… Wow.
This story Features:
& Double penetration…