The Return by Jennifer L Armentrout Book Review
Updated: Jan 18
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Book 1 in the Titan series
The Fates are cackling their bony asses off...
It's been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they've given him have been violent and bloody--which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He's got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.
Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy's deal might be, but it's a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.
But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.
Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy #NewAdult Exciting
Violence #Mythology Action-Packed
Foul Language #Romance
The Return by Jennifer L Armentrout is the first book in her Titan series, a spin-off from her fantastic Young Adult series, the Covenant Series. Unlike the Covenant series, the Titan series is NOT geared for young adult, but new adult ... meaning, yes, there is some descriptive steamy scenes and racy thoughts. It had to be done, with Seth as one of the main characters. Unlike Covenant, the Titan series bounces between two protagonists, so not only do we get Seth's perspective, but also a newbie to the series, Josie, who Seth is ordered to protect by Apollo. The Return is set a year after the events of the Sentinel, and after the deal Seth made with Apollo and Hades.
I should have known I would love this book, especially with it's more adult story line. The story is unique and captivating, with Seth and Josie having insane chemistry right off the bat. I was a little worried we would have some "copy and paste" situations from Covenant to the Titan series, but there isn't. Josie is her own person, with the vulnerability of a mortal, but the fire inside her Alex did ... with a MUCH better handle of her temper. The story is compelling, and draws you in, but the romance aspect of it is off the charts. I'm not just saying that because it's steamier than Covenant was. Seth and Josie have serious chemistry, much like Aiden and Alex do in Covenant, and that draws you in just as much as the story does. If you, like me, were wondering how Alex's deal in Covenant (particularly, the one that gives half-bloods equal rights with the pures) turns out, we get some of that in this book, and I have a feeling it's just getting started.
If you didn't like Seth in the first series (and I personally went back and forth on Seth, but in the end, loved him), you will like him now. Guilt for what he has done eats him alive, so much so, that even with what he did for Alex and Aiden at the end of Sentinel, and him becoming the God's "bitch" as he refers to it, he doesn't see any of the good he has done. He is a tool to be used by the Gods, and that's it. Until Josie gets under his skin. Josie, being raised as mortal and powerless, is essentially human. She is quiet and sweet, but most of all, lonely. Despite not being strong physically, she IS strong. She goes through a lot in this book, and it doesn't break her. Seth needs a person like her. Quiet strength, controlled temper, but feisty when she needs to be ... particularly when Seth pisses her off. :)
We also get to see some other side characters from the Covenant series in The Return, which makes me all kinds of happy! If you want to see how Marcus, Luke, and Deacon are, pick up this book! I will give one, small spoiler ... yes, Lucas and Deacon are still, very much, together.
The Return was everything I wanted it to be. Seth getting a redemption arc, a story-line pumped full of action, and a dash of romance and physical chemistry that leaps off the page. If you loved the Covenant Series, you will LOVE the Titan series as well.
Where to Buy
Apollo: "I have another task for you. You need to leave for southern Virginia immediately. I'd snap your sunshine-and-rainbows ass there, but now that you've annoyed me, you'll drive the twenty or so hours to get there."
Seth: "What's in southern Virginia?"
Apollo: "Radford University."
Seth: "Okay. You want me to enroll in college?"
Apollo tipped back his head and laughed so loudly, he actually whooped.
Seth: "What the hell is so funny about that idea?"
Apollo: "You. College. Using your head. That's what's funny."
Seth: "Gods. There's at least eight hundred square feet in here, buddy, you didn't need to land on my ass."
Apollo: "Whatever. Don't talk about it. Be the best issues-boy you can be."
Seth: "I don't have issues."
He tipped his head back and roared with laughter.
Apollo: "You have more baggage than United Airlines. Cross that out. You have more issues than Medusa, and that woman makes the inside of a c at lady's thoughts seem like a calming place."
Seth: "I hate you."
Seth: "Then get them together, power them up like it's a game of Super Mario, and get this shit over with."
Seth: "She's yours, isn't she? That girl back there? She's your kid."
Apollo's smile spread until he was flashing even, white teeth.
Apollo: "She is. And when her abilities are unlocked fully, she'll have every power that I do, not like Hercules or Perseus or any of the original ones who only had some of our abilities - we've figured out a few things since then. And that means she could turn you into a bush that smells like cat piss, so remember that when you're around her."
Seth: "Okay. We are getting off to another bad start. I have that effect of people."
Josie: "I can imagine."
I twisted to slide out through the opening, but as soon as my body twisted, his other hand landed on the wall, caging me in. My gaze swung back to him.
Josie: "This isn't cool."
Seth: "I know. I also have a problem with personal space. I really don't believe in it."
Josie: "I'm a demigod?"
The laugh burst out of me, and he drew back maybe an inch, cocking his head to the side as he dropped my arm.
Josie: "Okay. Did someone put you up to this? I mean, someone had to have -"
Seth: "Someone did put me up to this, but not the way you think. It was your father."
Josie: "My father?"
I laughed again, but the sound was rough.
Seth: "Yeah, your daddy. And your daddy is one of the biggest pains in my ass - in probably a lot of people's asses. He's Apollo, also known as the sun god, and he's a major dick."
Seth: "Do you want to touch?"
Eyes darting up to his face in surprise, I felt my body burn red-hot.
Josie: "E-excuse me?"
Seth: "You were staring at me for so long, I was asking if you wanted to touch."
Josie: "I don't want to touch. And I wasn't staring."
The half-grin spread
Seth: "You weren't?"
I shook my head
Josie: "No,I wasn't. I was just ... lost in thought. And it's ride to point out if someone is staring at you."
He arched a brow as he folded his arms across his chest. Yikes. More interesting muscle movement.
Seth: "Isn't it more ruse to be staring at someone?"
I could see a nipple peeking out from where his arms were folded. Who knew a nipple on a guy could be so ... attractive? The skin was flat, dusky, and the nip -
Seth: "I think you're wrong. And you're staring. Again."
Crap! I was. I forced my gaze to the forest-green comforter.
Josie: "I was not staring. I dazed off again. I have a habit of dazing off. So don't flatter yourself."
Seth: "I'm totally flattered."
Seth: "Are you going to freak out and run again? If so, I'd like to put some shoes on."
Josie: "Can you put on a shirt?"
A small grin formed.
Josie: "Does compulsion work on me?"
Seth: "It shouldn't. You're a demigod. But your powers have been bound, so who knows? I can give it a try. Take off your robe."
Her lips parted, and then her mouth gaped open.
Josie: "What the hell?"
Seth: "Guess it doesn't work."
Josie: "You're a pervert."
Seth: "Been called worse."
Josie: "I bet."
Seth: "I can't stop you? You can't stop me, Joe."
Josie: "Don't call me Joe!"
Seth: "Sorry, Joe-sie."
Josie: "Oh my God, you're so annoying."
Seth: "Come here."
Digging in, I shook my head.
Seth: "Because it'll make me feel better."
Josie: "That's definitely not a good enough reason."
He chuckled again
Seth: "That wasn't very nice."
Seth: "How else do you expect us to get from here to Misery?"
Seth: "Same difference."
Josie: "This isn't what it looks like."
I started to sit up, but the hand that had been in my hair slipped down the curve of my back in a slow slide that caused my breath to hitch and my toes to curl.
Seth: "It's totally what it looks like."
Erin arched a brow
My head whipped around. Seth gave me a lazy grin from where his head was propped up on the pillows.
Josie: "You're awake!"
Seth: "I have been."
Erin: "For a while. We were debating on waking you up or not. Especially when you were making those noises."
Seth's hand was a heavy weight on the side of my stomach
Seth: "Yeah, it was kind of like little whimpers."
Heat blasted my cheeks.
Josie: "I d-don't make noises when I sleep."
Erin: "Yes, you do. Kind of like what a baby kitten sounds like."
My mouth dropped open.
Erin: "It's cute."
It was mortifying.
Seth: "I would ask if you were hungry, but I assume you ate your fill of babies last night."
My eyes widened
Josie: "You ... eat babies?"
Her eyes rolled
Erin: "No, I don't."
She shot him a nasty look as he chuckled
Josie: "You're my best friend, no matter what."
Her eyes squeezed shut briefly as she whispered.
Erin: "You're my best friend, too. No matter what."
Josie: "I was looking for my Nook, which I've now found. It's a requirement for any road trip."
Her arm flew back as she prepared to swat me upside what appeared to be my head this time. I caught her arm before she delivered the blow.
Seth: "Do not hit me with that again."
Josie: "I'll hit you with it again if I want to."
Seth: "If you hit me with that again, I'm going to bend you over the back of this car, right in front of everyone and all the gods, and smack your ass like your momma should've done."
Her mouth dropped open
Josie: "You wouldn't dare."
Not even using any amount of strength, I tugged her forward, and before she could pull away, I circled my other arm around her waist, keeping her in place. My body immediately warmed in every place we were connected. She was a good head shorter than I was, but we lined up well enough in all the important areas. As focused as I was on all of her softness pressing against me, I forgot what the hell I was doing. Something about spanking her ass?
That was a damn good plan.
Seth: "I would so dare. And I would also really, thoroughly enjoy it."
She tipped her head back, lips parting as our gazes locked
Josie: "I would so not enjoy that."
I dipped my head, coming so close to kissing her that my groin tightened with need. The sudden rush was all-encompassing.
Seth: "I think the blush travelling across your cheeks tells me you'd enjoy it just as much as I would. Maybe more."
Lady: "They're on the house, honey. Take as many as you want."
Lady: "I would if I was you."
Oh my God.
As if it was a tiny pit viper, I dropped the condom back in the basket, folded my arms, and refused to touch anything else in this place.
Seth: "Did you get enough condoms, honey?"
Josie: "Shut up."
Josie: "I'm going to kill Erin."
Seth: "I can get behind that, but I gotta ask why you want to kill her when you said you'd forgiven her."
Josie: "She didn't pack anything for me to sleep in."
Seth: "You can sleep naked. I'm not going to complain. And I'll sleep naked if it makes you feel better."
Josie: "Thanks for being so accommodating and supportive."
Seth: "I never got it before."
Josie: "Got what?"
Seth: "Why it's such a turn-on to see a girl wearing your clothes."
My eyes widened until they felt like they were going to pop out of my head.
He dipped his chin and strands of his hair fell forward, brushing his jaw.
Seth: "It's really a turn-on."
Warmth zipped through my veins in a heady rush. Unable to hold his gaze a moment longer, I looked away as I drew in a deep breath that didn't seem to do anything for my sudden shortness of breath. Like I was compelled, my gaze moved right back to him.
Without any warning, he was right in front of me, so close that his bare feet brushed mine. I sucked in a breath that seriously didn't go anywhere as he placed the tips of his fingers against my throat, right on my wildly beating pulse. It was such a light touch, but I felt it in every part of my body.
Seth: "Does knowing that make you uncomfortable?"
Josie: "I don't know."
His fingers moved down my neck, to where the collar hung loose. My heart kicked against my ribs as two of his fingers slipped under the collar, following the line of my collarbone to where it dipped at the base of my throat. He tapped a finger there and then his hand moved up and to the side, curling around the base of my neck. His thumb was against my pulse, and it went crazy as he tilted my head back. He lowered his head until his mouth was above mine, so close I could taste his minty breath.
Seth: "It makes me uncomfortable."
He spoke just above a whisper, and as he did, his lips brushed the corner of mine, sending a riot of sensations through me. He shifted closer, his legs touching mine. When he spoke again, his lips were near my ear.
Seth: "Only because I'm going against my nature right now. When I want something, I go for it. I don't even think twice about it, but with you ... I've got to think. ANd that probably makes you very, very lucky."
Seth: 'If you want to use me as a body pillow again, I won't mind."
I opened my mouth and a startled laugh erupted out of me.
Seth: "Just thought I'd let you know. I actually like cuddling. And I like what typically comes before and after cuddling. I bet there's condoms in those baskets on the dresser."
Josie: "Oh my God."
Another startled laugh escaped me as I looked away, smacking my hands down on my face
Josie: "I so do not like you."
That didn't even sound believable to me, and he grinned.
He tapped the tip of my nose
Seth: "Are a terrible liar."
Seth: "I'm your friend?"
Josie: "Yes, you're my friend."
He cocked a perfect, golden, eyebrow
Josie: "I don't know why. You're moody, but you can be funny when you want. Kind of dirty-minded, though. Sometimes even nice, and I know we've only known each other for a couple of days, but you saved my life earlier and I think ... I think I know you just about as well as I knew Erin. So, yeah, friends."
Seth: "Do you have a death wish?"
Josie: "Do you?"
He cocked his head to the side.
Seth: "That response doesn't even make sense."
Josie: "Whatever. I don't even like you and I didn't ask for your opinion."
Seth: "You're going to get my opinion, like it or not, Joe." You're not going to risk your life because you're not getting your way."
Josie: "Why do you even care? Seriously? So shut up, Sethie."
Seth: "You test my patience."
Josie: "You make me want to nunchuk you in the throat! But I can't. Because I don't know how to use nunchucks!"
His lips twitched, and I swore, if he laughed, I was going to physically hurt him with my bare hands.
Seth: "Sentinels don't use nunchucks, Josie."
Solos: "I've used nunchucks before."
Seth: "Seriously? Not helping."
The Sentinel shrugged, but he was grinning, and not even trying to hide it.
Josie: "Then can you help me?"
Seth turned on me.
Seth: "He is not training you."
Josie: "Stop interjecting yourself where you don't belong!"
Solos made a deep, gruff sound.
Solos: "Gods ..."
Marcus: "You two remind me of ..."
Seth: "She won't need anything."
Solos cocked a brow
Solos: "Because you're here? Sounded like you're leaving."
Before I could reply to that, he clapped his hand on my shoulder.
Solos: "Seth, she's a little too young for me. Chill. But, man, if what you said is true about her being Apollo's daughter, you've got the biggest balls known to man. Have fun with that."
Seth: "Your father would have my balls if I got between those pretty legs. But you know what? Losing my balls would be worth it."
Deacon: "Hey there."
I glanced over to where Seth looked like he wanted to bang his head against the wall.
The blond continued to smile, while his friend continued to stare at me.
Seth sighed again.
Seth: "The one grinning like he's crazy is Deacon, and the other one is Luke."
Deacon: "We're friends of his - of Seth's."
Seth: "This is Josie. Please don't be weird and scare her."
Deacon: "Be weird? Ha. Whatever, dude. All you need to know about me is that I'm like a dolphin in a sea of less-smart fish."
Luke turned to him slowly as his eyebrows inched up his forehead.
Deacon: "Just saying I have a lot in common with dolphins. They're smart. I'm smart."
Seth rubbed his hand down his face.
Luke sighed and shook his head, lips twitching.
Luke: "It's a good thing I think you're fine as hell."
As unbelievable as it sounded, Deacon's smile stretched even further asa he turned to look at me.
Deacon: "We're together."
Josie: "Oh. You two make a great couple."
Deacon: "We know."
Luke: "Wait. If she's Apollo's daughter, wouldn't that mean in some weird way, she's related to -"
Seth: "I think Deacon's going to pass out."
Luke looked over his shoulder and rolled his eyes
Luke: "Dude, chill. It's not like you slept with her."
Josie: "Wait. What?"
Deacon bobbed his head.
Deacon: "Yeah, that's a good point."
A chuckle rumbled from Seth, and he tipped his head back so he was looking at me.
Seth: "When I said your daddy got around, I wasn't exaggerating."
I stared at Seth for a moment, then looked at Deacon, and then put two and two together. Whoa.
Josie: "My father slept with you?"
Deacon winced as he shrugged.
Deacon: "I wouldn't say we slept together. I seriously had no idea who he was, and he was all about free love, and so was I, and the next thing I know, the dude I'd fooled around with turned out to be Apollo, and well ... Shit gets kind of awkward sometimes."
Josie: "I can imagine."
Seth: "You have no idea."
Deacon: "So, you and Seth? Have you hooked up yet?"
I nearly choked on my OJ
Deacon: "Hooked up? You know, got naked and had wild, animalistic sex. It has to be animalistic sex, because I can't picture Seth doing anything gentle and soft, like holding hands and gazing into each others' eyes kind of stuff."
Oh. My. God.
Luke rolled his eyes.
Deacon: "They're glyphs forming wards. Basically, spells that keep things out we don't want in here. Like Titans. It doesn't always work. Daimons could still get in if they got past the guards, but that's what they are. Seth even has them on his skin."
Josie: "What? I didn't see any tattoos. And he walks around shirtless a lot. Are they on his ass or something?"
Luke: "That would be interesting, but the tats on his skin can only be seen by gods or another Apollyon. Maybe even you, once you become the special sauce."
Luke: "You got this. You almost had it right last time. We'll do this again, and then you've got to run."
Josie: "Running sucks."
Seth: "I'll run with you."
Luke patted her shoulder
Luke: "So will I."
Josie: "Yay. Can we all hold hands while we run?"
Seth: "Let's pass on that."
Deacon: "I think that's a great idea. I'd even run with you guys if we all hold hands."
Josie: "Did you eat?"
No. Are you offering? Gods, my mind was wallowing in triple-X territory.
Seth: "I'm good."
Seth: "You want to know something? Sucked today or not, nothing in the sky is shining brighter than you."
Seth: "You don't want that. Trust me, you -"
Josie: "Don't tell me what I want!"
I shifted onto my knees and slammed my hands into his broad shoulders.
Unprepared for what I'd done, he fell back on his ass. His eyes widened on me, like he couldn't believe I'd just done that, and yeah, it was wrong.
Josie: "Don't tell me what I want. You don't live in my head or in my body. Don't you dare make that call for me."
His jaw clamped down as he stared at me with narrowed eyes
Seth: "I make the call for you, because I know better."
Josie: "Oh, that's lame, Sethie. Lame and stupid, and you can take that and shove it up your ass! I know what I want! I want you to kiss me. I want you to -"
A second passed, and then he was in my face, hands on my shoulders, causing me to gasp.
Seth: "Don't push this, Josie. Seriously. You have no idea what you're asking for."
I met his stare
Josie: "Then you don't come in here and touch me and then leave, going off to do God knows what while I'm in here wondering what the hell is going on."
A muscle throbbed along his jaw, and then he dropped his hands.
Seth: "Fine. If that's what you want."
My mouth dropped open, because that was exactly what I didn't want and it hurt - it burned inside my chest and my throat - how easily he could just be okay with that. And it hurt more than I thought it would.
Josie: "Fuck you."
Seth: "Godsdammit, Josie."
I glared at him.
He glared at me.
A heartbeat passed, then Seth's large hands were on my cheeks and his mouth on mine.
Shifting my weight onto the arm planted on the carpet next to her head, I cupped her chin and tilted it back, deepening the kiss, wanting to somehow claim her very soul. Funny thing was, it was my soul that was being claimed, my breath that was being stolen, and my heart that was pounding crazy fast in my chest.
Josie was kissing me back, and there was a hint of hesitation, as if she didn't know what to do, but it didn't matter, because she was doing everything right, and that made me want to abandon any pretense of being tam. I could take her now - lose myself in the wonder that was Josie. I was rock hard, ready, but damn, if it didn't go deeper than a physical need.
I wanted what I'd never had. Real companionship. Loyalty. Friendship. Her. Me. No third parties. Just us. A future. A tomorrow. Salvation. And that made my fucking chest compress, because I didn't even know what to do with all of that.
But I knew what to do with all of this.
Apollo: "When I asked you to watch over my daughter, I didn't have this in mind."
I froze as tiny hairs all over my body stood, and under me, Josie stiffened. Nothing killed an erection faster than Apollo popping in while I was dry-humping his daughter.
Gods, his timing was always epic.
Apollo: "Why are you still here?"
Seth folded his arms
Seth: "I'm not going anywhere."
Pausing, he glanced at me.
Seth: "Unless you want me to go."
Josie: "No. I want you to stay."
Apollo: "I was never supposed to know you. Not unless we needed you. That was the deal we made when we created the twelve demigods. But ... you were my child. I wanted to know you."
Apollo: "I am proud of you. You've shown remarkable strength, and you have held it together in an incredible situation. Instead of doing nothing, you've opted to train, to defend yourself. I'm proud."
There was a beat of silence as he glanced at Seth
Apollo: "However, your choice in males concerns me."
Josie: "I think my choice in males is quite good, thank you."
Apollo: "I cannot stay for long. Being in your presence ... Well, it drains me, but I ... But I felt your pain earlier. I had to see you."
Josie: "I don't know what to say."
Apollo: "You do not need to say anything."
Josie: "No ... I do. This ... this is a lot. All of this is a lot. You don't even look old enough to be my dad. And I knew you at one point. You were my friend - my only friend, and you ... you just walked in on me making out with a guy, so I feel like we just covered the teen years I never had with you."
Seth choked on what sounded like a laugh
Apollo: "Let me put on record, that was not an enjoyable experience."
Josie: "But you're here and you've ... you've been here in one way or another. And that has to mean something."
His smile faded a little
Apollo: "But right now, I know it's not enough."
I squeezed my eyes shut against the sudden, uncontrollable burn, and in a heartbeat, I felt that he was closer the second before he touched the side of my face.
Apollo: "You must continue to be brave, to paidimou i zoiimou. You must continue to be strong. Nothing you face will be easy, but I will always be watching over you."
He lowered his hand as he stood, addressing Seth
Apollo: "And you ... you are so very lucky."
And then he was gone.
Seth: "Well, that wasn't as awkward ... or as violent as I thought it would be."
Josie: "What ... what did he say? In the other language? Do you know?"
He nodded as his face softened
Seth: "He said, my child, my life."
Seth: "I cannot even begin to count how many lives I've ended with these hands. These hands, Josie."
Lifting them, I curved them over her knees.
Seth: "The ones you want touching you."
Josie: "It was your job, Seth, it -"
Seth: "It was who I was. An executioner. I killed people. Sometimes I didn't make it quick. Do you know what that makes me? A monster. It makes me a monster."
Her hands landed atop mine, and when I started to pull them away, she held on. You are not a monster, Seth. You did what you had to do. What you were ordered to do."
Seth: "Josie -"