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Crossed (Never After, 5) by Emily McIntire
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Crossed (Never After, 5) (edition 2023)

by Emily McIntire (Author)

Series: Never After (5)

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430258,107 (4.23)None
Fiction. Romance. He is righteousness. She is sin. Father Cade Frederic is a holy man. Brought up in the streets of Paris, he has dedicated his life to the church. But there's a monster that lingers just beneath the surface. A sickness. One that bleeds darkness and feeds on the damned. When he's tasked to become the priest in Festivale, Vermont, a town both beautiful in architecture and riddled with despair, his sickness sings, demanding he rid the place of evil. Amaya Paquette is Festivale's beautiful mystery. She spends her days caring for her younger brother and her nights transforming into Esmeralda, dancing for greedy eyes and shameless lips. Although she longs for love, she shies away from companionship, afraid of being abandoned again. When Father Cade lays eyes on Amaya, he finds himself ensnared, convinced she's using witchcraft to lure him to her. He can't eat. Can't breathe. Can't think unless it's of her. And temptation is a devastating mistress. She's his weakness, so he decides he'll be her demise . . . even if it means killing the only woman he might ever love. Contains mature themes.… (more)
Member:aleciafoster2357
Title:Crossed (Never After, 5)
Authors:Emily McIntire (Author)
Info:Bloom Books (2023), 416 pages
Collections:Your library
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Crossed (Never After, 5) by Emily McIntire

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Fun read, although predictable. ( )
  lilmissred | Dec 1, 2023 |
This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

Book Evaluation:
Plot: 🎞️🎞️🎞️🎞️
World Building:🌎🌎🌎🌎
Cover:πŸ“”πŸ“”πŸ“”πŸ“”πŸ“”
Hero: 🦸🏻🦸🏻🦸🏻🦸🏻
Heroine:πŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ¦ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈ
Intimacy Level: πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯
Relationship Building: πŸ’’πŸ’’πŸ’’πŸ’’
Heart & Feels:πŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’žπŸ’ž
Witty/Banter/Reaction of Laughter: πŸ˜‚
Page Turner Level:πŸ“–πŸ“–πŸ“–πŸ“–πŸ“–
Ending:🧧🧧🧧🧧
Overall View: ✨✨✨✨

First Impressions
Crossed is the fifth installment in the "Never After" series and I absolutely had a blast with this one here. This is a story that features two characters that are so different and you would never think that they would be a good match, but this author somehow makes it work. There is plenty of taboo's in this book, so please check the trigger/content warnings before moving forward with this one. It has some aspects to the story that just won't be for everyone. Move forward at your own risk. I however, adore how this author writes romance, she has blended dark with fractured fairy tale retellings so very well. I was very curious how she would do a "Frollo and Esmeralda" retelling and I definitely got a kick out of this one, but it was far different than I actually expected it to be.

First Line
Festivale, Vermont, Looks different in the dead of night.

The Main Protagonists
The Hero: Cade
Cade is self abusive, a priest and a holy man. He was raised in Paris and abused as a child by a servant in the church. There is a mental illness he suffers from.

The Heroine: Amaya
Amaya, is guardian over her younger brother who has his own share of struggles. She is forced to pay money to her mothers pimp of sorts when she abandoned them. And to keep the lights on and pay the medical bills, she is a stripper. But is longing for more in her life.

Summary
When Father Cade comes to town, he is determined to rid any evil in the town. He has a darkness that spreads in him to get rid of evil. But there is a temptation he finds in a stripper club where he finds Esmeralda, who is a exotic dancer and tempts him for things he must deny himself. But when he finds out she is the same woman as Amaya, he is determined to do more than destroy her....he wants her for himself. But there is a unknown factor dealing with the villain of the story.. But when Amaya ends up in trouble for something she didn't do, she is forced to go to the devil for help, but the only one that can be her savior is Father Cade and his form of justice...

What I Loved
This book totally swept me away immediately. I am not sure why I put it off for so long. I knew I would need to be in the right mood for this and I knew that this would be religiously taboo (not that I am Catholic, so I personally don't understand many of the taboo elements but I am a Christian) and I have to say that this author really pushed my boundaries on this one. I wasn't sure how this retelling would actually happen, but man the retelling aspects were just perfect. But don't expect it to be a strict retelling, but the connections that we see to the original tale was so delightful! There are definitely darker themes in this one, some themes that even pushed my boundaries and its rare to come against a dark romance that really makes me struggle. But some of the actions of the hero was even a bit much even for me.

There is also so many forbidden themes to this story. Some aspects totally worked for me and other aspects really pushed my buttons and not necessarily in a good way. This author really wrote this story in such complexity that just clicked in the good and sensually bad ways we all love to see in this author. I really felt for the heroine though. She is just trying to survive and her poor brother. Man my heart went out to this kid. Who had some type of mental illness, not sure what exactly it was, but he seemed to be on the spectrum a bit and what she is willing to sacrifice for her 7 year old brother just broke my heart. I loved what a great mother she is to this child who needs so much love and support. The third act of the story was the most conflicting and yet the way it ends here was so satisfying.

What I Struggled With
There were some factors I really struggled with. The hero is a bit too anti hero even for me. The scene in the beginning was one I battled with the most. How the hero pushes the heroine away when she really needs help and doesn't see that. He sees all the little details, so I wasn't a fan on how that scene played out. I know why the author did it that way though, so that she would go to her mother's pimp and the one who has control over the town but still it was hard to see how that scene played out. The hero is one that hurts himself (like you know the scene in the Da Vinci Code where the holy man whips himself? Yeah he does that and it wasn't really fleshed out) I am not sure even if the heroine finds out or if she does we don't get that scene and I would have loved to see her helping him heal from that type of self abuse or help him understand himself more where that is concerned.

Overall View
Crossed is a dark and edgy romance that will push boundaries, have you feeling all the taboo vibes but delivering a satisfying romance that you will want to cheer these two on despite your reservations!

Favorite Quote(s)
It’s a cruel place here on earth, filled with people who don’t get it. Who choose not to understand that just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean they’re less than. Quinten deserves the whole world, and I’d do anything to shield him from the harsh reality of one that refuses to offer him even a small piece.

You consume me, Amaya. Break apart my faith with the fire of a thousand suns and dominate every nightmare until all I dream is you.”

β€œTell me…who do you belong to?” β€œTo myself.” My hand tightens on her face. She grins. β€œAnd to you, Cade FrΓ©dΓ©ric. My heart belongs to you. In all our lifetimes.”

β€œShe may be your wife, but she is my soul,” I whisper against his ear. β€œAnd I will cut you up piece by piece and burn your empire until it’s soot, just so I can watch her be queen of the ashes.”

Book Details (also in my shelves)
Sub Genre: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance
Character Types: Priest, Exotic Dancer, Anti Hero
Themes: Kids/Teens, Small Town, Taboo, Stalking, Dirty Talkin', Bullying
Tropes: Forbidden Love, Sex Worker with a Heart of Gold

Book Perspective
DUO Pov

Relationship Conflict vs Plot Conflict
A blend of both

Song This Book Inspires
Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine

Recommendation For Reading Order
You can read as a standalone

Steam/Spice Explanations

Steamin' up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes. ( )
  addictofromance | Aug 27, 2023 |
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Fiction. Romance. He is righteousness. She is sin. Father Cade Frederic is a holy man. Brought up in the streets of Paris, he has dedicated his life to the church. But there's a monster that lingers just beneath the surface. A sickness. One that bleeds darkness and feeds on the damned. When he's tasked to become the priest in Festivale, Vermont, a town both beautiful in architecture and riddled with despair, his sickness sings, demanding he rid the place of evil. Amaya Paquette is Festivale's beautiful mystery. She spends her days caring for her younger brother and her nights transforming into Esmeralda, dancing for greedy eyes and shameless lips. Although she longs for love, she shies away from companionship, afraid of being abandoned again. When Father Cade lays eyes on Amaya, he finds himself ensnared, convinced she's using witchcraft to lure him to her. He can't eat. Can't breathe. Can't think unless it's of her. And temptation is a devastating mistress. She's his weakness, so he decides he'll be her demise . . . even if it means killing the only woman he might ever love. Contains mature themes.

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