by Laura Thalassa
Published by Lavabrook Publishing Company
Book 3 in the Bargainer Series
There are worse things than death. Things that lurk in the shadows and slip into your dreams. Things that have no business existing. Things that once slept … but have now awoken.
For Callypso Lillis, the fae magic that now runs through her veins is equal parts curse and good fortune. For the very thing that bonds her to Desmond Flynn, the King of the Night, also makes her vulnerable to the Thief of Souls, a man who wants to break the world … and Callie along with it.
But it’s not just the Thief whose shadow looms over the Otherworld. Des’s father is back from the dead, and he wants revenge on the son who sent him to the grave in the first place.
Des and Callie must figure out how to stop both men, and time is running out. Because there are forces at play working to tear the lovers apart once and for all … and unfortunately for them, death is no longer the worst thing to fear.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence Urban Fantasy Interesting
Dark Harmony by Laura Thalassa is the third and final book in her Bargainer trilogy, and centers around Callie, who has just woken up after near death, and has discovered herself healed - and now with a fae lifespan, thanks to Des giving her Lilac wine. The problem? The very thing that gives Des and Callie centuries together, is also the thing that makes her vulnerable. Now susceptible to fae magic, Callie is now in more danger than ever from the Thief of Souls. And if that wasn't enough, Des's father is back from the dead, and hellbent on killing his son and mate, and getting his throne back.
Okay. I liked it. I liked Dark Harmony. I wasn't crazy about the second book - it actually took the novella from Des's POV to get me excited about the series again - but Dark Harmony was a solid conclusion to the story. It remained consistent with the other books in its originality and writing style, and the arc mostly flowed well. There were a couple of times where it got stagnant. Laura has a habit of building up the story, and then removing our main characters from it for a few days of sex and romance. It seems inappropriate for leaders to leave their kingdom the way they do. It would have been better for Laura to interweave the romance into the story. I am saying this as an avid romance reader. It needs to feel natural for me, and every time they go on a sex-cation it takes me out of the story. Otherwise, I very much enjoyed the story. We get lots of Callie's humorous thoughts, magic, fae and sirens, and intrigue.
I especially enjoyed that ----------> the man (Des) had to step back and trust in the woman (Callie) to save them all. And he does. No questions. Kick ass female moment. <---------------
Something I couldn't stop thinking about ------------> A woman is writing this and there is rarely ANY foreplay. He just slides right on in there. That's not normal! Is it a Siren thing? Are they just always ready? These are the things I think about. Your welcome. <--------------
Dark Harmony, and the whole Bargainer trilogy in fact, was a fun, interesting read. Lots of romance and sex, fae politics, with a healthy dose of danger and intrigue, it was good. Will it be on my re-read list? Probably not. But if you are looking for a short series that has a solid romance and is fantasy based, I think you will enjoy this.
Callie discovering she can glamour fairies
Callie making and eating smores while Des is questioning a fae who snuck up on them
Des repositioning frozen fairies in compromising positions. Cackling
Callie showing Janus her power
The wine making Callie voice all her thoughts aloud
Des telling Callie that the shadows speak to him
Des bringing out all the items they collected together and decorating Callie's house with them,
Des bringing Callie to earth because that's where she is happiest (and then binging on Game of Thrones together)
Des's proposal, and them quickly getting married with their best friends as witnesses
Des's tattoo dedicated to Callie
Callie going old school and kicking Galleghar in the balls
Callie using her glamour to force Galleghar to call her and Temper ridiculous names
Des draping himself over Euribio's throne.
Callie at first relieved Des is alive, and then angry with him
The epilogue - Des - "I have a secret."
Unleash me - said like I'm an unstoppable force. Me thinks he might believe in me a tad too much.
Des: "You know I trust you, respect you, and above all else, love you. But gods give me grace, Callie, I will have a reckoning with you if you go rogue on me."
Are you fucking serious? I mean, I know that only seconds ago I was horrified at her death, but now, the broad just needs to go.
I can fucking glamour fairies.
Hold onto your tits, world. Callie. Is. Back.
Des: "So, that's how it feels to be glamoured by a siren. Like I've been caught by the balls. The whole thing was horribly invasive. I rather enjoyed it."
I feel sixteen all over again. Sixteen and broken and desperate for the Bargainer to fix me, even though that was never his job to begin with. But he did fix me; he picked up each broken piece of me and put me back together and he loved my cracks in a way that only he could.
Callie: "You're no longer immune to it."
I'd seen firsthand what my glamour could now do to Des.
Des: "I'm delightfully terrified of the prospect. Our sex life has just gotten ten time kinkier."
He has no idea.
Callie: "What's the song about?"
Des: "A man loses the love of his life, and he yearns for night because in dreams they're reunited."
The two of us are quiet for a moment.
Callie: "Well, that's a fucking bummer."
That's the song he's been reassuring me with this whole time? That's like chasing away a nightmare by telling someone a ghost story.
He leans in, but before he can kiss me, I press a hand to his mouth.
Callie: "Uh uh. You don't get a kiss for that."
At my words, he pulls away a little, his eyes bright.
Des: "What do I get?"
A spanking, my siren whispers. Let's make him give himself a spanking. He's been a bad boy.
I almost laugh at the thought.
Callie: "You get the pleasure of avoiding my siren's wrath. She wants you to spank yourself."
The appropriate reaction is to be horrified at the thought. Too bad the Bargainer is decidedly inappropriate.
His face fills with gleeful surprise.
Des: "Naughty thing. And right here in my father's grave too."
Now he does give me a quick kiss.
Des: "Maybe later I'll appease your dirty thoughts."
In the dim light cast by my skin, I see him wink at me.
Callie: "This is not really what I had in mind when I made that wish ..."
Des: "Consider this foreplay, baby siren."
Callie: "Alright, but I want to ride piggyback."
Des: "I didn't realize that you called the terms of repayment. Of course, if you want to ride me from behind, I won't protest much. Though it's not my favorite position."
God, he's in rare form today.
Callie: "Oh my God."
Des: "Leave God out of this, cherub. He has nothing to do with it."
Callie: "I can't believe I liked it."
Des: "My saucy little siren? I can. I have the feeling that by the time the sun sets on our lives, you'll be the naughty one to my virginal, saintly soul."
Des: "Who opened the tomb?"
Fae: "Suck on my prick!"
Des: "Mmm. tempting. Is that a genuine offer?"
His magic unlaces the man's crudely-made breeches, then it begins tugging the cloth down.
The fairy's eyes widen and he begins to yank the material back up, fruitlessly trying to keep his pants on.
Fae: "What in the bloody ferking gods' names!"
Des: "Cherub. I think the man's shy. One moment he wants my attention, the next he's being a coy minx."
I pull my sixth marshmallow from the fire; it's perfectly golden brown.
Callie: "Men give such mixed signals."
Des: "Cuff her with iron, and you'll lose your balls."
Soldier: "Is that a threat?"
Callie: "Naw, he's just reciting poetry to you."
I glance over at Des, who's beginning to pose frozen fairies like they're Christmas reindeer, each position a little more compromising than the last.
Des: "Remember those horcruxes in Harry Potter?"
I begin to smile in spite of myself.
Callie: "Are you seriously dropping an HP reference right here, right now?
Des: "I have your undivided attention, don't I?"
Callie: "And all my love."
I mean, I knew he was soulmate material before, but this pretty much just sealed the deal.
Callie: "Have you ever ... cobound yourself to someone?"
Des: "I bound myself to my soulmate. Would you say that counts?"
I smile into my drink.
Callie: "Are you admitting that I have a piece of your soul?"
Des: "More than a piece, cherub."
Des: "Oh and by the way -"
Des's eyes inadvertently land on Temper,
Des: "Be discreet."
Temper: "Why are you looking at me? I'm as motherfucking discreet as they come."
Callie: "I haven't agreed to be queen."
Temper: "Yeah, my girl hasn't agreed - what?"
She turns on me
Temper: "Bitch, have you lost your mind? Take that crown and wear that shit like it's your birthright."
Callie: "I still don't understand this bridge. I mean, if my feet touch the ground, is the earth going to rip apart and swallow me whole?"
Des: "If it has any taste in women, then yes, that would definitely happen."
Des: "There are certain things in life that fade with time. What we have, Callie, isn't one of those things. Our bond will only strengthen over the years. I will always be here for you - when you turn thirty and when you turn three hundred."
Des: "I will be there through it all, and I will tease you and infuriate you, and lavish you with whatever it is your heart desires because the only thing mine desires is you."
Callie: Now, tell me truthfully: if I release you from my glamourm will you attack me?"
I back up
Callie: "Too bad."
Callie: "It's so much fun when my victims put up a fight."
Janus has reverted to looking at me with curiosity and no little amount of want.
I sit back down and grab my tumbler.
Callie: "Is this safe to drink?"
Callie: "Oh good. I release you from my glamour."
Janus staggers back a step.
Janus: "Gods above. That was ..."
Des: "Horrible invasive. I know. Isn't my mate exquisite?"
Janus: "How do you even live with such a creature?"
Despite how shaken he is, he looks halfway interested.
I smile, baring my teeth at him.
Des: "I try not to piss her off."
I guffaw at that, my skin dimming.
Des: "Alright. I do try to piss her off, but only because she has especially twisted ideas of revenge."
Janus shakes his head.
Janus: "You two are a fucked up pair."
Callie: "Did I just say that out loud?"
Des: "You did."
Callie: "Ugh. Why do I keep saying everything I think?"
Des: "Callie, that dark green alcohol was aelerium liquor - it compels you to tell the truth. Or in your case ... tell the world each and every little thought that crosses your mind."
Callie: "Why didn't you say anything?"
Des: "I'm sorry, when did I ever give you the impression I was forthcoming with information?"
Callie: "How long have I been speaking my mind?"
Des: "Just during the tail end of the meeting."
I don't know what constitutes the tail end of that long-ass discussion, but the longer it dragged on, the more inappropriate my thoughts became.
Callie: "So Janus knows I was sweating so much I was worried I'd leave a butt imprint on his chair?"
Callie: "And that I needed to pee really, really badly?"
Callie: "And that I wanted to bang you?"
Des: "Now, cherub, that one's just a given."
Des: "Hi, cherub."
Callie: "You're kinda cute."
He raise an eyebrow.
Callie: "I wouldn't mind having little mini Des's running around. Someday, that is. Not today, but you know, in-the-future - hey, if I'm cherub, what would you call our kids? Is there a name for baby-baby angels?"
Des: "Hmm. I'm sure I'd call them something different, love. Now, eager as I am to have this conversation, I'm not going to make any plans with you until I know you'll be able to remember them."
My head lolls a little.
Callie: "You want to have baaaabies with me. Lots and lots and lots of .... baaaabies with me."
Callie: "Wait. Will you stay in here with me?"
Des tilts his head.
Des: "There's no distance with you, is there?"
His eyes are totally laughing at me.
Callie: "That's a yes, isn't it?"
Des: "Can't deny you anything."
Callie: "Okay, face the door. I don't want you to see anything."
Des: "Heaven forbid I catch sight of my mate's pussy -"
He lifts his hands
Des: "I'm facing the door. Want me to plug my ears too?"
Yes? No? Maybe?
Callie: "Plug one of them."
No I definitely hear him laugh.
Once I'm sure he's not looking and only half listening, I lift my filmy skirt and begin to sit -
I let out a very unladylike screech as my ass misses the toilet and I sprawl out on the floor next to it. My skirts are around my head, my unmentionables exposed.
Des turns around. I'll give him this - he doesn't laugh, though I'm sure it's taking everything in him not to.
Des: "Cherub. What happened?"
Alcohol happened. That's what.
I cover my face.
Callie: "I'm so embarrassed."
Des: "At least you didn't start peeing."
Des: "Oh. Comment redacted then."
I fucking hate aelerium liquor.
Des: "I'm only letting you swim while inebriated because you're a siren, and I'm ninety-nine percent sure you're incapable of drowning. Please don't prove me wrong."
Des: "This - this won't be gentle."
I grasp his hair, my grip tightening as I tilt his head towards mine.
Callie: "Your warnings are wasted on me. You're not ducking some delicate flower. You're fucking me."
Des: "Galleghar attacked your because he rightfully believes ending you will end me."
Des: "No part of me has any intention of outliving you."
Des: "I love you, Callie, down to every last feather and scale. I love your darkness, I love your mind, I love your humor and you most coveted dreams. And I love how you love me - wholly, deeply, passionately. You're not normal; you'll never be normal. I'm so sorry to tell you that. You are so blindingly extraordinary that it physically hurts me sometimes, and I'll never stop pushing you to believe that."
Des: "You don't know who you are? You're Callypso Lillis, plain and simple. You were her yesterday, you'll be her tomorrow. It's up to you to decide what being you actually means. No one else can do that for you. Not the man who gave you those wings, not the man who's hunting you. Not your stepfather. Not even me. But whatever you choose to be, cherub, make it count."
Des appears in front of me, turning my healed hands palms up.
Callie: "Are you doing to read my fortune?"
He pretends to peer at them.
Des: "You find your soulmate young. There's love - and it looks like you have a handful of kids - they take after their father, unfortunately. Brats, the entire lots of them."
All at once, the objects the two of us collected together - every shot glass and postcard, every hand drawing and note - lift into the air. For several seconds, the items hover in midair. Then, like an explosion, they scatter across the house.
Des finds a place for it all. On walls, on shelves, tucked away in cupboards, dangling from the ceiling.
I believe this is a fairy's version of peeing on his territory.
Des: "This is every wish, cherub, every dream of mine, actualized. I would give up all my secrets - I'd give up my very throne itself - if it meant being with you."
Callie: "I'm going to marry you."
Des: "I'm going to marry the shit out of you."
Callie: "From flame to ashes, dawn to dusk, for the rest of our lives, be mine always, Desmond Flynn."
He kisses my lips.
Des: "Until darkness dies."
Temper: "Well, well, well, there's my best friend. Did you have fun boning Bat Boy while the rest of us were actually saving the Otherworld."
Callie: "I wasn't just boning Des. We partied a little too."
Des: "And mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours."
Des: "Cherub, you're every wish of mine."
Callie: "You will reger to the sorceress from here on out as 'My Great Goddess of Fuckery and Other Magical Things.' Understood?"
Temper: "Where's the Pit?"
Galleghar: "Up ahead ... My Great Goddess of Fuckery and Other Magical Things."
He mumbles the last part.
Callie: "Speak up."
His eyes shoot daggers at me
Galleghar: "I said, it's up ahead ... Oh Dark Queen Who Thinks I'm a Douchebucket of the Most Epic Proportions."
Temper: "What is your name again?"
He curls his lip at her.
Callie: "Answer her."
He grinds his teeth.
Galleghar: "Galleghar O'Malleghar, King of Asshats, Killer of Boners, Wannabe Emperor Who Needs to Eat a Bag of Dicks and Die."
The titles clearly got a little out of hand.
Des: "There are many uncertainties in life, but this one holds true: I will always come back to you, cherub."
Des: "Now, cherub, you know these secrets are going to cost you."
Des: "Two words: kinky sex. If you can agree to it, I'll sing like a choir boy and tell you everything."
We both nearly died - the whole world almost fell to the Thief - and this is what he's thinking about right now? Kinky sex?
Janus: "What is going on?"
Temper: "Callie killed one of your great and mighty gods. Not to be rude, but y'all got some weak ass gods if this bitch can trounce them."
Check out the rest of the Bargainer series below