Grand Central / November 20, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Born of a match between good and evil, four siblings stand between hell's minions and everything they want to destroy. They are the Lords of Deliverance, and they have the power to ward off Doomsday . . . or let it ride . . .
Jillian Cardiff came to this remote mountain town to forget the demon attack that almost killed her. Instead, she rescues-and falls for-a gorgeous stranger who has no memory of anything other than his name. Handsome, charming, and protective, Reseph seems like the kind of man whom Jillian can trust. But with hints of a troubling history of his own, he's also the kind of man who can be very dangerous . . .
Reseph may not know why he mysteriously appeared in Jillian's life, but he knows he wants to stay. Yet when Jillian's neighbors are killed, and demon hunters arrive on the scene, Reseph fears that he's putting Jillian in danger. And once it's revealed that Reseph is also Pestilence, the Horseman responsible for ravaging the world, he and Jillian must face the greatest challenge of all: Can they forget the horrors of a chilling past to save the future they both desire?
Rogue Rider, the final book in Larissa Ione's epic Lords of Deliverance series, has a lot to live up to. It has the dubious honor of redeeming quite possibly the most heinous of all villains: Reseph, or Pestilence, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The only Horseman to have had his Seal broken, Reseph has been purely evil since the beginning of the series. This is a redemption story, but of all the books in the Lords of Deliverance series, it's also the most dazzlingly romantic, and definitely the most sexual.
“I'm on the very edge right now.” His voice throbbed with raw lust. “I want you under me. I want to claim you, get myself all over you. And as much as I'd love to mount you right here in public, right now—and I think in my past, I would have—I never want anyone to see you like that but me.”
Oh, damn. Her heart was pounding out of her chest. She wanted it now, and who cared who saw or heard what. “I'll park somewhere dark.” She fisted his T-shirt, not even ashamed of her desperation. “Out of the way—”
“Tempting... so... fucking... tempting.” He gently peeled her hand away, slammed the door, and got in on the driver's side. Then he turned to her, the harsh planes of his face in the shadows creating a savage expression that stuck her tongue to the roof of her mouth. “I need you in bed tonight, Jillian. I need more than a fuck. I need to make love to you until neither one of us can move, because after tonight, I don't want there to be even the slightest doubt that you're mine.”
Rogue Rider spends careful time developing the relationship between Reseph and Jillian, who is a strong but scarred heroine after an encounter with a demon left her badly mentally and physically damaged. It's interesting to see the real man behind Reseph's character, since we have only seen him as sheer terror in Pestilence, and once the two conflicting personalities fascinatingly collide in the story, there were real similarities to Stephenie Meyer's The Host. The fact that Ione so successfully humanizes Reseph is an amazing feat as Jillian really begins to heal him.
The action picks up once Reseph begins remembering who he was and reconnects with his brothers and sister—Ares, Thanatos, and Limos, the other Horsemen. Understandably, there are massive divides between Reseph and his loved ones as they have had to deal with the horror Pestilence has wreaked. The camaraderie and interaction of the ensemble that has been at the heart of this beloved series is still one of its best features here.
“To underworlders, my siblings and I are like movie stars. We have groupies. They even classify themselves according to which Horseman they like best. Ares has War Mongers. Than has Reapers. Limos never really had any who were open about it, though, since she was engaged to Satan, and no one wanted to fuck with her. Literally.”
“Satan?” Jillian's voice was strangled. He'd have smiled if this whole thing wasn't so screwed up.
“The very demon.”
“I'm glad I'm sitting,” she muttered. “What about you? What are your groupies called?”
“Reseph's Riders,” he said miserably. “My groupies are called Reseph's Riders.”
The book absolutely speeds along, with ongoing storylines simultaneously crossing and coming together, which Ione has always shined at accomplishing. Many storylines are tied up, as more are introduced. There are unexpected twists, revelations, alliances, and betrayals. Just when it seems that the ultimate battle between good and evil, heaven and hell, is drawing near, with a huge climax not only to Reseph's book but to the entire series, Ione sets the stage for the next conflict and a return to her Demonica world for angel Reaver's upcoming book.
“What's the offer?”
Slowly, seductively, Harvester licked her generous lips, and Reaver's gut twisted. “Sex,” she said, her voice all silk and sin. “You agree to pleasure me at the time of my choosing.”
“What?” He blinked like a dope. “Why? You hate me.”
“My reasons are my own.” She trailed one slender finger down her throat, continuing lower, until she was caressing her nipple through the sheer fabric at the bodice of her dress. “Well? What's your answer? Give me sex in return for your freedom.”
Reseph's redemption has been one well worth waiting for as the final in a ground-breaking, brilliantly creative series—and I'm already hooked on Reaver and Harvester, so can't wait for the next installment.
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.