Somehow this book managed to survive my madness, though! I really enjoyed reading it, so without further ado, here is Theresa McClinton's "Escaping Darkness!"
Escaping Darkness by Theresa McClinton
She may have spent years in an asylum, but that didn’t make her crazy–just fearless.
Dropped in Moscow with her friends on an impossible mission against underworld forces, Tara is left to her feelings of overwhelming inadequacy. Her boyfriend is a healer, her best friend is “the Guardian,” and everyone else is a powerhouse of awesome strengths. The only thing she has been able to contribute are her memories, which has left her with nightmares of her time spent at the mercy of the evil Sarian–who everyone has gone to fight.
Alone with her emotions, Tara finds herself falling into a city of depravity and corruption. And amidst all this evil is a young man with an agenda of his own, who leads her down a road that will either prove she is a hero at heart, or drag her into a world she’s always feared.
He wants revenge, she wants redemption. And in an underground rings of missing girls and bloody sacrifices, only the fearless can survive…
The Paranormal Romance Guild gave "Escaping Darkness" 4 stars! You can read their review of the novella and book one here.
The Stone Guardian when I read it, so when I saw that "Escaping Darkness" was up for review, my thought process went a little bit like this: "AAAAGH!!!! OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE!!!! HAVE!!!! MUST HAVE!!!!" Or something along those lines.
From the first novel, what I learned of Tara really impressed me. She was a very strong and resilient soul, much unlike the ditz I had foolishly assumed her to be. Of course, all of the ditzy impressions I originally got from her later came to do nothing but support how incredible of a character she was. While she hadn't been my favorite (that would be Drina), I still thought she was pretty cool and definitely had an important story that needed to be told.
Child abuse is a real thing as much as we wish it wasn't, and it's not going to go away if people just hide from it. Well, not only does Theresa McClinton not hide from it, but she tackles it to the ground in "Escaping Darkness" along with another tough current issue: human trafficking. She doesn't just add them in as footnotes by saying, "Oh, yeah and this stuff is bad too," and continue on with the story either; no, she entwines them into this novella so completely that you couldn't take them out and continue on reading. Now, I'm not saying that that's all "Escaping Darkness" is about because that's not true. Trust me, she had many other things to deal with too.
Speaking of one of them (that I actually can't really speak about without spoiling anything, you'll just have to read the novella): what the heck, Peter?! I mean, yeah, I guess I can kind of see where you were going with that, but did you honestly expect that to go over smoothly and leave the world looking like a wonderland full of rainbows and happy butterflies? Not with your luck, buddy. However, I must give you this, you handled the situation with much grace and poise at the end of the novella, and you are completely forgiven.
Now, on to what I've really been waiting to talk about: Malachi. That guy was so dang cool! He threw me all over the place for most of the novel, but I was never willing to completely give up on him. I knew that he would have to play an integral part of the story, and I'm really glad with how things turned out with him. It definitely made sense with the rest of the novel, and it left me really happy. Actually, his last message to Tara was probably my favorite part about the entire story. I couldn't have imagined a better way for everything to have wrapped up.
And my favorite passage, just because I love Peter so much and it's really sweet:
Tara's gaze focused on the lead squad car. The passenger door flung open and Peter jumped out, searching the growing crowd of girls who were emerging from the shelter.
She jumped to her feet and peered across the yard at Peter. They locked eyes.
"Tara!" He sprinted toward her. His body slammed into hers and he threw his arms around her, lifting her off the ground. Peace and light and the scent of freshly fallen rain washed over her like a wave of comfort.
She laid her cheek on his shoulder and, for the first time in a long time, she allowed herself to rest. Peter was there, and all she had to do was be. Be happy. Be thankful. Be loved. This was clearly the place to be, and she swore never to forget that again.