Wicked Nights is the first book in Gena Showalter's Angels of the Dark series, which is a spin-off of her Lords of the Underworld series. If you've read my review of that series, you know how much I like it, so, of course, I was going to read this.
The main character of this book is Zacharel, who we first meet in Book 7, Darkest Secret. He is described as being stunningly beautiful (as are all the angels) and devoid of emotion (that would be his own personal quirk, not necessarily an angel trait).
He appears again in Book 8, accompanying Lysander to the Harpie Games and plays an even bigger role in Book 9, Darkest Seduction, traveling with Paris in his search for Sienna.
In this book, he's being punished because he doesn't care about humans, has no qualms about killing them when they get in his way of doing his job. He's got issues, to say the least. Years ago, he lost his twin brother, and lost his ability to love or care for anyone. He does his job, follows orders. His boss though, he wants him to develop some empathy for humans.
No one is more shocked than Zacharel when he finds himself drawn to a human who has spent the last few years in a mental hospital. She's being tormented by demons. He feels obligated to rescue her.
Annabelle is damaged. Not only has she lost her family, but she's also endured years of abuse in the mental hospital. She and Zach are quite the pair of dysfunction.
It takes them a while to work things out. Annabelle is leery of trusting anyone - with good reason. Zach doesn't even know how to go about caring for another person. I enjoyed seeing them work through their issues. I thought it was a nice, believable love story. Believable in that they had to get to know each other before they fell for each other.
I also really liked the guest appearance of some characters from the Lords of the Underworld.
I was a little bothered by some events at the end of this book. There's a huge secret revealed in the end, and it's resolved way too quickly. While I don't question the choice made, I felt there should have been a stronger reverberation from the choice. The information was shocking, but Zach seemed to handle it way too easily. Maybe centuries of denying any emotion would have that effect?
For the most part, I really liked this book and I'm looking forward to the continuation of this series. Showalter has created yet another world, or rather an extension of a world, filled with interesting, complex characters battling demons real and imagined. And I love the clouds in which the angels live. This Angel wants a cloud!
Oh, and did I mention the cover of this book is absolutely beautiful? Every time I look at it, I ache, wishing I'd been the one who painted it. When I was a teenager, my dream job was to be an artist who painted the cover of romance novels. I used to spend hours drawing those covers that featured Fabio and the Topaz Man. (I have a weakness for men with beautiful bodies.) I remember reading an article in an artist magazine about a woman who painted those covers and setting it aside, thinking someday that would be my future. So sad when dreams die.