Touch of Evil (Thrall #1) by C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Touch of Evil is the first time I’ve picked up anything by C. T. Adams or Cathy Clamp. I’m not sure how I’ve never heard of either of them before this, since they’ve got a lot of books under their (collective) belt, but I’m glad that I finally read something by them.
In this series, the Big Bad are vampire-like creatures known as the Thrall. The Thrall are parasites that require a human Host, whom they eventually take over and kill. The Thrall operate through a hive mind, led by a Queen, who experiences the same life cycle. The Thrall feed on human volunteers known as the Herd.
Kate Reilly’s life has been significantly affected by the Thrall. An ex-pro volleyball player with some psychic abilities who works as a bonded courier, Kate has been declared Not Prey by the Thrall after she killed the last local Thrall Queen. She was bitten while she fought with the previous Queen, and now has the Thrall humming in the back of her mind, 24-7. Plus, Kate’s ex, Dylan, is now a member of the Herd, having cheated on Kate with her friend Amanda, who encouraged him to sign up.
When not travelling the world as a courier, Kate renovates a building she owns in Denver, and is looking for tenants. One comes along in the shape of a handsome werewolf firefighter, Tom, who also sets off some romantic sparks with our feisty heroine.
In Touch of Evil, the Thrall are after Kate to become their new Queen, and are breaking the rules to achieve their goals. Kate’s forced to watch her back and fight in ways she never expected, while the Thrall hunt her from all sides. She’s also got a messy romantic life, torn between old feelings for Dylan and her emerging feelings for Tom. Plus she’s learning a whole lot more about the Thrall and other supernatural beings, on a very steep curve.
I really enjoyed reading Touch of Evil. Kate’s a great protagonist, full of fight and honest emotion. Her relationship with Tom is nicely uneven but sometimes felt a bit forced, or at least a bit too fast, considering the amount of interaction they have. Their meet-cute is great but a lot of what comes after feels a bit disingenuous. However, there is enough chemistry there to make me want to read more about them. There are also some great moments over the course of the novel, plus the action is a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to reading Touch of Madness soon.