Review // Dark Desires by Aja James

August 07, 2021

Dark Desires by Aja James

To desire was to want. To want was to expose oneself to weakness. Weakness that could be used to bring endless pain and torment. And it all began with pleasure.
Pleasure was addictive. Pleasure spawned desire.
Ryu felt deep in his bones that Ava Monroe was pleasure incarnate. She should wear a sign that said: "This way lies folly. Trespass at your own risk."
She was dangerous to his peace of mind. He could not afford to be distracted by her.
Not when he might need to end her life.

Dark Desires by Aja James

Dark Desires by Aja James

Pure/Dark Ones #3
Release - April 5, 2018
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - Kindle purchase
Page Count - 313
Publisher - Indie

Ryu Takamura is the Dark Ones’ Assassin. He has never missed his target…until now. Until her.

Ava Monroe is a talented geneticist who holds the key to the vampire race’s future…and perhaps her own as well.

Their attraction is explosive from the first. She would do anything to have him. He would sacrifice all to protect her.

But will their love triumph over seemingly impossible odds as they battle enemies new and old? Especially the demons from Ryu’s past? And deep within his heart?

Buy it here: Amazon
(free with Kindle Unlimited)

I. Am. TELLING YOU... read this series!!

There's Ryu, a shadow assassin and member of the Queen's Chosen. He's tasked with annihilating the threat to his kind that has popped up in Japan. Ava is his way in, a target, and someone he didn't expect to affect him so strongly.
"What do you want from me?" he rasped huskily, his mouth a hair's breadth from hers.
She thought of saying something flippant or flirty, but couldn't come up with anything but the truth:
"Everything," she whispered.
A sharp indrawn breath, and then —
As his mouth covered hers, hot and delicious.
I absolutely adored the way the author explored these characters. Ava is a socially awkward genius who speaks her mind, even when it's cause for embarrassment. Ryu is a sweet, broken man who can't see how truly worthy he is. Ava brings out the best in him and he in her. Their love is almost instantaneous and energetic and profound. Their connection was brilliant and I enjoyed every moment spent with them and experiencing their firsts.
I'd give my life for you, she heard his voice in her head, in her blood, as he continued to hold her gaze. I have never known love before you. Never loved in return. And I never shall love any woman but you.
My only regret was that Ryu's mom's death wasn't a prolonged, tortuous affair. That woman deserved no mercy!

While this book gave me some answers (YES TO INANNA FINDING HER FATHER), I'm still left with so many questions, such as:
  1. Will Tal get his sight back?
  2. Again... is the glamoured Mama Bear Inanna's mom/Tal's mate? I remembered this burning question because Tal featured so heavily here.
  3. Will Tal reunite with his mate (so he doesn't decline and die) or will she turn him away?
  4. WTH is going on with Ryu's dad? Will we see him again? Will he remain an enemy?
  5. This Medusa chick... how is she around, doing her thing, and NO ONE knows her? These ancient beings have never come across her? How???
  6. The Creature didn't feature, but I'm still questioning if he's Inanna's lost brother. I would love a family reunion (mom, dad, sister, brother).

Honestly, I'm sure I have more questions and concerns burrowed in my subconscious, but it doesn't even matter. I WILL be reading the next book. I WILL be seeking more and more answers. I WILL fall deeper and deeper in love with this series and these characters. If you're a fan of paranormal romance, sick action scenes, and combustible chemistry between glorious people, you need to read these books!

Check out the previous books:
Pure Healing by Aja James Dark Longing by Aja James

“Since turning vampire, I’ve made killing my exclusive profession,” he continued smoothly, almost bored, as if talking about something as mundane as the weather.

“I’m exceedingly good at it. My moniker among my Kind is Assassin. Not very inventive, is it? But fitting nevertheless. I have many weapons at my disposal, f*cking included, to get what I want.”

She came to him then, chased him across the length of the room.

Shaking. Her body was shaking with emotion.

He wondered detachedly whether she was going to strike him for his hateful words. He’d purposely demeaned what had just happened between them a short while ago. He wanted her to hate him. It was an emotion he understood well.

“Don’t say such things about yourself,” she whispered, still shaking, her eyes wide and sorrowful.

“It’s all true,” he said carelessly, his expression sardonic. “I have never pretended otherwise.”

Her hands rose, and he almost pulled back. But he made himself stay still.

She was just a human female, he told himself. He was not afraid of her.

Her hands fell again, and he thought she would turn away now, her illusions about him, about what she felt, obliterated by reality.

Instead, she gently, inexorably unfolded his arms and wrapped her own around his waist as she laid her cheek against his chest, right against his heart as it beat almost frantically within its cage.

“I hear you,” she murmured, acknowledging his confession. She rubbed her cheek against his skin and nuzzled her nose in the center of his chest, inhaling deeply, then rested her cheek there again.

For long moments she simply held him, offering her warmth, offering unconditional affection, and he felt protected. He, the Assassin, felt protected by a slip of a human female who made Bambi look tough.

He felt increasing panic at how in such a short period of time, he had come to depend on her. How much he wanted and needed her. The pleasure she represented and gave him made him all the more aware of the pain that he had always carried within.

This was what his Master had warned him of. This weakness and vulnerability brought about by pleasure. By desire.

“I hear you,” she repeated softly against his chest.

Then she looked up into his eyes and caught him in an unguarded moment, her eyes bright and intense with emotion.

“I see you,” she said, and he almost believed she could look directly into his soul.

“I love what I see, Ryu Takamura. I love you.”

He inhaled sharply and was suddenly furious. Why did she keep pushing him? Why didn’t she run away? Couldn’t she tell he was a monster? A killer?

“You will realize one day that you’ve wasted your emotions on me,” he told himself as much as he was telling her. “You will regret this.”

“Maybe,” she conceded, “but emotions are not things one can bring to heel like a good little terrier, at least mine aren’t that way. And I have always been taught to trust my instincts and be honest with myself and the people around me. If I died tomorrow and didn’t tell you how I feel, that's what I'd regret more."

She hugged him tighter and rose on tiptoe to brush her lips against his throat.

"May I have you, Ryu? For a little while if not forever?"

She kissed his chin and his jaw.

"I want to be yours too," she added, in case he was in any doubt. "For as long as you're willing to have me."

Aja James just completed the Pure/ Dark Ones paranormal-fantasy romance series in 2020. If you want your heart battered, bruised, shattered and skewered, then put back together in the most glorious ways, check out the series below. Every couple gets an HEA, but they fight like hell for it on the way.

Aja is now working on her new series, Dragon Tails, because dragons are her favorite shifters of all!

Visit for more information!


  1. I've been in the mood for a dark romance (reading Bella Aurora's Raw right now), so I was curious what your thoughts were going to be on this book. I don't know that I'm in the mood for vampires, though. BUT you are telling me to read it and your review is so good!


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