Dark Age Dawning #2
Post-Apocalyptic / Shape Shifter
Having caused nothing but grief to those who close to him, Chris Welsh has become content with being alone. He has been roaming the stark countryside since shortly after the Change. Civilization as he once knew it is gone. There are pockets of groups banning together, yet nothing like what he stumbles on in Valle de Bravo.
Rosa Cortez has struggled to get to the top, and that is where she plans to stay. She has created a loyal society in Valle de Bravo, a civilization willing to fight to expand their meager existence.
Rosa doesn't trust the seductive stranger, but if he plans to stay, she wants him to swear loyalty. Chris has no plans on staying, but when a gang of desert pirates strike, he vows to help the sexy commander.
Ellen Connor has once again sucked me into the post-Apocalyptic civilization trying to regain it's footing in a world that has slipped back to the dark ages, with an added twist of magic and skinwalkers (shape-shifters) to liven things up. I find it fascinating to imagine how people react in in such a situation, and I think Ms. Connor has struck the right balance of good vs. evil as their characters try to retain their humanity and sense of society.
Rosa and Chris both had lived through great pain since the change. Each had chosen different paths to cope, yet really they weren't that different from each other. Rosa had awesome leadership qualities that made people want to be better and to prove to her they were. I enjoyed Chris and Rosa's verbal sparing as neither was willing to blindly follow the others commands. I loved how Chris didn't want to diminish Rosa's authority, and was willing to show his loyalty, yet he was never portrayed as weak, as the reader I saw him as an equal to Rosa.
I liked that they were both forced to face their biggest fears and were allowed to overcome them without losing themselves. Rosa had to face her acceptance that not all skinwalkers were bad, that most where like other humans, struggling to survive in the harsh landscape of the Change. Rosa inspired Chris to want to work at a relationship, and to not run scared of emotional attachment.
Holy cats, the chemistry between Chris and Rosa was combustible. They fought their attraction, but eventually gave into a sizzling passion that singed the pages. I loved their journey of emotional growth, as each had suffered so much before, they had closed themselves off to others, and found they could not do the same with each other.