Review // Dark Obsession by Aja James

August 22, 2021

Dark Obsession by Aja James

Her mind might be confused, still sorting itself out, but her instincts were sure.
She knew this male.
She wanted this male.

Dark Obsession by Aja James

Dark Obsession by Aja James

Pure/Dark Ones #9
Release - May 2, 2019
Genre - Paranormal Romance
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4 out of 5 / several scenes
Format/Source - ebook borrowed through Kindle Unlimited
Page Count - 331
Publisher - Indie

Maximus has always been in control.

As the Commander of the Chosen, the Dark King’s personal guard, he can’t afford to step wrong. With his eternal familiar at his side, he can loosen up, give in to moments of carefree fun. But all that changed on a fateful night.

She will always find a way back to him…

Ariel Kyles is an experiment with programmed thoughts but no soul—until a black panther’s spirit possesses her body. Suddenly, she discovers whole new needs, desires, and a primal, irresistible obsession: Maximus.

Fate will not be denied…

Maximus and Ariel each have secrets about themselves to uncover, and their journey leads them to a fantastic, hidden world.

But the most delicious mystery of all may prove to be their Destiny together.

Purchase Links

Amazon CA * Amazon US
(free to read with Kindle Unlimited)

My Two Cents

At first, when I thought of typing up this review, I thought I would use my usual format. Not that I have a set structure mind you, but it seems like one. Then I thought "F*ck that!" because it's not like this story deserves anything less than the rambling, passionate thoughts I had while reading it. So rather than hide everything under spoilers, I'm going to lay it all out right here. So if you don't want to be spoiled, stop here knowing that I loved this book, I love this series, and I highly recommend it!

Ariel and Maximus = too hot for words! Obviously Max's connection to Simca and hers to him made all of this possible, but I loved how much Ariel was able to blossom with her new soul. And how Max was able to see all sides of her. He loved this female. Loved everything about her. He loved her sass, her intellect, her badass attitude. He loved her passion, her competitiveness, even her over-the-top possessiveness. He loved the way she pushed him, the way she partnered him, the way they fit together like two halves of a whole.

While Max was the clear star of this story, Ariel gave him a run for his money. She was a joy to meet and a wonder in the making. And I loved how obsessed she was with him. “If you take me,” he rumbled low, “you’ll never take another male as long as I live.” She dug her sharp little fingernails into his ass. “Fair. And I’ll rip out the throat of any female who looks at you twice.”

Am I supposed to feel sympathy for Wan'er? I felt nothing but disgust for her. I still wish her a cruel, punishing and agonizing death. I did feel sorry for her mate (because he didn't ask to be a blood slave or to father a child, no matter that everyone should be thankful that Ishtar was created) and for her abandoned child. I get wanting revenge, but she went too far. Working for her enemy, watching her mate be dishonored, being disgusted by him, watching him die, then one day working for your enemy's daughter... Wan'er is pathetic.

Is it weird that I thought it was equally wrong and right that Simca (now Ariel) was so obsessed and aroused by Maximus? These two were insanely hot together!

I think it's hilarious that both Tal and Benji can see The Creature, no matter his disguise. When will these people figure it all out and realize that he is The Creature they have been battling all along? And The Creature watching Benji was such fun! This boy was positively diabolical! Ridiculously smart. Brilliantly astute. This was a boy after his own dark heart.

Could Ariel's life have been more sad before she was merged with Simca? Medusa and Wan'er are monsters and I can only imagine I'll have more horrifying stories to read about in the books to come.

I loved getting the glimpses of Maximus as a boy. The loneliness he suffered, the abuses were heartbreaking, but I enjoyed seeing his kinship with felines, his unrelenting passion and zest for life, his overwhelming compassion for the trapped white tiger (not even realizing their connection)... everything spoke to the amazing and beautiful male he became.

Okay, so mind blown over here but... Max's dad is the white tiger? I know Goya has a story in this series at some point (and I can't wait to read it), but holy sh!t I'm still stunned over this connection. Seriously, Aja James is brilliant!

I'm a terrible person for appreciating the fact that Max killed his mother to free his father. He didn't even know they were his parents. She was no maternal figure and his father was locked in a cage and tortured regularly. Of course he'd want to help his father, without knowing he was his father.

That moment when Max was in his vampire form and Goya was in his tiger form... and they were sitting in silence and kinship... so unbelievably sweet! This father/son duo were giving me life. And then when they fought together in their tiger forms... I'm telling you, this book was amazing!

I am enamored by The Creature's strong connection to Dalair. Those scenes are so intense and illuminating and I'm always excited to see them pop up.

Abbreviated quote: “I loved you, you know,” the Creature murmured, taking one of the Paladin’s hands in both its own.
“Loved you like a brother,” it continued tonelessly, though its voice trembled with stress. “Or as close to love as someone like me could ever feel. It wasn’t all pretense.”
“That’s because I hate you too,” the Creature explained out loud.
“I hate that she loved you. Loves you,” it hissed derisively, “and yet not for one single moment did she ever love me. Not the way I wanted, no matter what I tell myself. Even though I knew her first. Long before you were ever born. And even when she was my wife, she chose you.”

I'm so glad Clara's mortality was brought up. How will she and Eli conquer that? How will they continue to thrive togeher if he is immortal and she is not? Is there more to her (as it seems) or will her genetics be changed as Ava's were?

I need Dalair to fight his programming again. This is getting ridiculous. How is he supposed to live with himself after realizing he was a part of the animal spirit massacre?That he has been 'sleeping' with the enemy? That he has been fighting against his own?

What caused Tal to bellow in such pain? Then, he threw back his head and let out a soul-shattering shout into the sky, the rawness and agony tearing through his vocal cords, breaking his voice. The Creature felt it to the core of its being. Its heart might be black and shriveled, but whatever heart that was left there twisted and clenched in vicarious pain, filling its nostrils with acid. There was an infinite amount of anguish in the Pure warrior’s howl. An unfathomable depth to his despair. The worst of it was, the Creature knew very well what had led to this moment. The Creature watching his father like that, not even knowing he's his father... my heart just keeps breaking for these people.

After getting a glimpse of Alend Ramses's pain and his determination to never fall in love again, wouldn't it be hilarious to find out that he was Anu's father and that the woman he loved and never loved him back was her mother? I'm just saying, this series seems to love its six degrees of separation, so it's not a reach.

I'm in so deep and I have no intention of finding my way out. I've already got Pure Providence downloaded so I'm off to go deeper.

Check out the previous books:

Quick Peek

On a shudder, Maximus came awake.

And stared into Agent Kyles’ golden green eyes.

She’d turned in his arms while he slept, her torso flush against his. Her crotch cradling his hard-on oh so tightly even through the layers of their cold-weather clothes.

She was stroking his face lightly with her hands, tracing his eyebrows, temples, nose, cheeks, jaw and mouth with inquisitive fingers.

He realized that she’d been doing this for a while now.

It was her touch that calmed him in his dreams. Her touch that pulled him out of memories he’d rather forget.

“Hands are such wonderful things,” she murmured huskily, her voice rough from sleep.

“I could never do this with paws. And you have such an intriguing face. Such a beautiful body. I want to touch you all the time.”

Maximus swallowed.

His heart thudded. His cock leapt.

It would be so easy to push down their trousers and drive into her welcoming, wet heat.

He knew she would welcome him. Her body all but hummed for him to fill it.

“Ariel…” he rasped, searching for the right words but coming up empty.

Just her name alone gave him pause.

It was the first time he’d used it. The first time he’d even thought it.

She’d always been Agent Kyles to him, a designation instead of a person.

He also couldn’t see her as Simca, no matter what she said about the panther’s soul being inside her. No matter that he saw glimpses of his feline familiar in her personality, thoughts and gestures.

But now…somehow…she was Ariel.

And that realization and recognition made him even more confused than before. Even as a part of him embraced it.

He felt too raw right now, too conflicted from his recent dream.

Had she seen it too? Had she seen what he really was?

What was inside him all this time?

“Beautiful,” she said firmly. “You were magnificent in your dream. Fierce and primal. The most gorgeous being I’ve ever seen. You shouldn’t hide yourself. You should be proud. You protected someone helpless. You saved his life.”

About the Author

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. Possessed by a black panther? That sounds crazy, but also interesting!


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