Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel
Series: My Immortals #6
Published by cJewel Books on December 17, 2014
Genres: Erotic, PNR, Romance
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The demon Palla is a warlord’s enforcer, a stone-cold killer. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist witch with a dangerous power. He wants nothing to do with humans until he needs Wallace and her unusual ability to help him free his former lover from a living death. His plan is to work with Wallace until she has control of her magic, free his former lover’s spirit from unimaginable suffering, and then, if he’s still alive, walk away. Done.
Wallace Jackson has been recruited to train with a group of street witches being taught to work with demons sworn to the local warlord. After weeks of failure, Wallace has decided there’s no point in continuing. One of the other witches is making her life hell, and any attempt to work with the demons leave her sick for days. No one is more shocked than she is when, Palla, one of the demon warlord’s most deadly assassins, proves her wrong. To say they dislike each other is an understatement, and, yet, after nearly killing her, he wants a favor. The problem is, she can’t say no.
No part of Palla’s plan involves falling for Wallace. He doesn’t like her, she doesn’t like him, and that suits them both just fine. But as they work together, they discover they have more in common than either of them imagined.
Dead Drop is set in the My Immortals series world where demons and magic-using humans called the magekind are not quite getting along and most people have no idea they’re living in what amounts to a magical war-zone.
A novella of the same title appeared in the anthology Alphas Unleashed. This version is significantly revised and expanded.
OK. Let me just start this review by saying I am insane, lol!
I met Dead Drop via reading a free anthology I grabbed about a year ago: Alphas Unleashed. Most of that anthology I truly disliked but then I was introduced to Carolyn Jewel’s My Immortals series and everything was all better.
Dead Drop was a welcome surprise. I have been wallowing in book indecision – which is what made me start reading my plethora of anthologies – and I decided I’d flick through Alphas Unleashed. Thank Goodness cause I LOVED Dead Drop. I ate that novella up and went looking for more.
That was when I learned that Ms Jewel updated and expanded Dead Drop…which then dead dropped my intentions of reading the first book in the My Immortals series. I had to know what changed!
What changed? It feels like the answer is everything and nothing all at once. (I feel like an apple commercial, lol). There is much more character development as well as additional information given for character motivation. This seems to have been done by the movement of entire scenes but the new space the scenes occupy just work. I loved the increased character development – especially for Palla. It really made all the difference as far as his behavior and actions. I felt like I understood Palla and his situation a lot better. Wallace didn’t get quite as much additional character motivation – there were some added thoughts about the differences between human and demon as well as between races (Wallace is Black while Palla appears White). I do have to say that the racial thoughts/comments in Dead Drop felt very authentic – Ms Jewel really captured that feeling of being made into “Other” that often happens to minorities.
One of the things I appreciate most is that Ms Jewel did not remove the antagonism between Wallace and Palla. Wallace and Palla do NOT like each other. Palla doesn’t like magekind (witches) for very good personal reasons plus he’s emotionally damaged, making him prone to lashing out. Wallace doesn’t like Palla because Palla is a total asshole, especially to her. It makes perfect sense that Wallace doesn’t care for him – even when though she thinks he’s sexy. I really enjoyed the additional relationship development and how it was made clear that the two are attracted to each other while still disliking each other.
The only problem I had was the ending. Ms Jewel changed a lot but she changed the ending hardly at all. Wallace and Palla get into a pretty serious argument near the end – and I really feel like this argument is out of place. The origins of the argument seem to be a combination of Wallace’s insecurity in the relationship as well as guilt regarding an event that just occurred. The argument made sense in the “relationship adjustment” kind of way…but the timing of the argument was just wrong (character wise). Wallace as characterized would never have started that kind of argument at that moment in time.
The final part of Dead Drop from the anthology was a weird mixture of spirituality and HFN/HEA and WTF just happened. The ending (in the anthology) bothered me but it worked due to the origins of Wallace & Palla’s relationship and the shortness of the story. The expanded version of Dead Drop contains so much more – especially in the relationship development department – that the ending didn’t really work for me at all. It felt like Wallace got the short end of the stick in the love department – either that or the ending was incomplete. Wallace nor Palla actually say “I love you” although it’s pretty obvious Wallace loves Palla. I couldn’t 100% tell if Palla loved Wallace or if he was “settling” in some kind of way. So while I loved the expansion, the ending rang hollow and a little sad for me.