Into the Dark by Gena Showalter

Into the Dark is an anthology containing short stories (formerly e-books) that Gena Showalter has written mostly related to her Lords of the Underworld series. I would consider this more of a companion book as the stories are not precisely of any of the Lords.

The Darkest Fire - I would say is a prequel to the first story in the series - since it takes place long before the demons are living within the Lords. This the story of Geryon, guardian of the gates of hell and, Kadence, the Goddess of Oppression. Geryon is in charge of making sure that no soul tries to escape hell. While Kadence is somehow connected to the wall that keeps these souls in. When trouble strikes in the form of our pesky demons (i.e. Pain, Lies, Doubt, Violence, etc.) cracking the wall, it is up to Kadence and Geryon to travel into the depths of hell and put a stop to it. If they are not successful, not only will those same evil, foul demons escape, but Kadence, who is bonded to the wall will perish. ~ This story had a Beauty and the Beast feeling to it. Geryon was cursed by Lucifer and is a hideous beast, but Kadence's feelings for him are genuine and she sees him as a beautiful being. Their love story was very touching.

The Amazon's Curse - is the sequel to The Vampire's Bride. I never read The Vampire's Bride (TVB) so I had never heard of any of these characters before. From what I can tell, the story picks up right after TVB finishes and you find yourself in the humid jungle amongst an amazonian, female camp. There you encounter Zane - a vampire who is being held against his will as a slave. The females are fighting over who will be the one to obtain him as a mate. You also meet Nola, who has been cursed by the Gods and is invisible. She knows Zane (I'm assuming from TVB) and tries to help him, but she's completely invisible. That is until she begins to accept her feelings for him and therefore regaining her true self little by litte. ~ This was a very short story and one I got the feeling that there might be more to this story.

The Darkest Prison - (takes place in between The Darkest Pleasure and The Darkest Whisper) is the story of two Gods, Atlas the God of Strength and, Nike, the Goddess of Strength. They are fated to be enemies. Atlas was held in Tartarus during the ruling of the Greek Gods and while there he tried to seduce Nike (one of the prison's guards) in order to obtain freedom. His plan almost worked had it not been for Nike running into another female guard who also spoke of Atlas' attentions. As any woman scorned would, she not only made sure he did not escape, but she tattooed her name on his chest so he never forgot "who owned him" (love that). Now that the Titans have overthrown the Greeks, it is Nike who is being held prisoner and finds herself imprisoned by none other than Atlas. But he soon realizes that his feelings for Nike were more genuine then he originally expected. ~ This was by far my favorite story in the book. I loved the love/hate relationship between these star-crossed lovers.

Awakening Pandora - are the first three chapters of what would have eventually been the plot to the series, but eventually got scrapped for what we now know as the storyline for the Lords. I'm thankful really, because although it was interesting, I really like what Gena has done in this series.

After these first four stories, there are two interview type areas. One is titled At Home with the Lords of the Underworld. There William (Anya's hottie friend) is asking the Lords questions. I found myself laughing out loud throughout most of it. Not only are William's questions hysterical, but he is just an all around funny guy. It was great to hear the answers from the Lords as well as some cameo's from some of their significant others. The second section is titled Women of the Underworld Speak. Here we find the women all gathered with Gilly (Danika's friend) who is holding court over the women and it's just girl gossip and discussing what they like and don't like about the powerful men in the house. These two sections were hilarious and loads of fun and I think my favorite parts in the whole book. And finally, we get a sneak peak into the upcoming The Darkest Passion.

For fans of the series, this is definitely one you will want to acquire for your collection. Like I said, it is more of a companion book, but definitely needed to have your series complete. The stories were short but they were riddled with tidbits of information that you will find useful and will give you the "fix" you need until the next installment in the series releases.

This book was provided for review by Harlequin through NetGalley.

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