Running Scared (Sentinel Wars #3)

I'm not dying until I get to kiss you.

Running Scared
Shannon K Butcher
Sentinel Wars, book three
ebook, 286 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Onyx Books
ISBN 9781101404416

They are the Sentinels. Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes: the Synestryn. Now one Sentinel's survival determines the fate of them all.

Lexi Johns has one purpose: to free her best friend from the hands of the Sentinels. And Zach, the Sentinel she has been running from for months, has one goal: to convince her that their destinies are entwined. For the magic that Zach has absorbed could destroy him if he doesn't find the woman who can channel it for him. And he knows Lexi is the one.

From an early age, Lexi has been taught to fear the Sentinels. And now she is an agent of a group out to destroy them. So when Zach finds her, it is Lexi's chance to strike at the heart of the Sentinels. But, as Lexi sees Zach's courage, selflessness, and honor, she begins to doubt her beliefs — and is faced with an unbearable choice.

Zach and Lexi's story began in book one of this series and touched back in book two where we found a very desperate Zach still searching for his runaway lady. Actually, 'desperate' doesn't even cover it.


Excerpt from Burning Alive review: As a Theronai, Drake, along with Thomas and Zach, have lived centuries fighting against Synestryns (demons and monsters) in a never ending effort to protect humankind. Earth is but a gateway to the world Athanasia, and the Synestryns want in. The Theronai bear a "lifemark" which resembles a tattoo of a tree that covers their torso that was but a seed at their birth and grows as they age. Until, ultimately, it withers. And as the leaves fall, they know their soul will wither and fade as well.

Their only hope is to find a Theronai female that can channel the power that they spend their entire life harvesting and storing. They themselves cannot use the power, only their bonded mate. Who can also ease the pain of their long lived existence and the battles and loss that have come with it.

Zach... has never ceased to make me smile. It's his "Baby, where are you?" mantra that just ever so seductively brushed against my good side. His "I need you, honey" hope filled cry that kept me going in their story even as Lexi was pushing me off and out and just... away.

Lexi was raised by a single mother who filled her head with a surplus of lies that have kept Lexi on the run since childhood. And it's only gotten worse since meeting Zach way back in book one where she hightailed it faster than the centuries old warrior could keep up. For her, the Theronai are the enemy and the Synestrians are their pets. They capture women, brainwash them, and drink their blood until leaving them a dried up corpse. All the while, leaving behind tainted lands that refuse to grow crops.

On the run from Zach, Lexi returns to her now deceased mother's old allies, the Defenders of Humanity, and is given the mission to be bait long enough to get her C-4 filled Honda to the Theronai's stronghold and blow them all to hell, and save Helen in the process. And the oh so desperate Zach falls hook, line, and sinker.

While Zach is being his good ol' selfless warrior self, slowing enlightening Lexi to the truth, we follow the developing back stories of Madoc and Nika, Torr and Grace, and reunite with Drake, Helen, Paul, and Andra as well while getting into the truth behind the Theronai's sterility, a glimpse into the forces working against the Theronai, and witness the slow division of Gilda and Angus. Shocking fact: Gilda is a hell of a lot more powerful than I had assumed.

Torr suffered an attack in book one that has left him paralyzed from the neck down. After weeks of the Sanguinar's failed attempts to heal him, Torr is convinced that his existence has become worthless. He can't fight the Synestrians. Can't seek out his lady. He wishes, simply, for death. A death that no one will allow him. A victim of circumstances, saved by the same attack, Grace takes it upon herself to take care of Torr even as he pushes her away with brutal honesty, in all forms of crass and vulgar threats. Truth is, she's fallen for the goodness still inside him. And Torr is equally drawn to her.

Madoc, meanwhile, is determined to put space between he and Nika despite the constant need she expresses for him. Unfortunately, while his mind and body have every noticeable reaction to her presence, his ring is lifeless. No glowing. No swirling. And to a Theronai, that's the only response that matters.

After eight years of fighting true, soul shattering madness, Nika is slowly coming back to life. And she needs Madoc to keep her stable. Her mind suffers out of body experiences, being pulled into the heads of Synestrians over and over, living their bloodlust and their deaths, while her own body withers as a sack of bones. A body Madoc can't bear to hold nor touch lest he break her further.

So he spends his time slaying each Synestrian he can find and fucking prostitutes in the between. Damn you, Madoc. You're awesome but you suck.

This series... is like one big puzzle. Each book has a number of pieces. Some that fit. Some that will fit eventually. It's a mindfuck, pure and simple. And you have to keep going. You have to know where it leads or you won't know how it ends.

And I *have* to know how it ends.

I also need a break. =)

4 out of 5 stars.

Previously in the series:

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