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BOOK REVIEW ~ THIRD DEBT BY PEPPER WINTERS

She healed me. She broke me. I set her free. But we are in this together. We will end this together. The rules of this ancient game can’t be broken.�?

Nila Weaver no longer recognises herself. She’s left her lover, her courage, and her promise. Two debts down. Too many to go.

Jethro Hawk no longer recognises himself. He’s embraced what he always ran from, and now faces punishment far greater than he feared.

It’s almost time. It’s demanding to be paid.

The Third Debt will be the ultimate test…

What the bejeezus was this book?! There’s no question I loved it and I read it in one sitting too, but holy flying cow…my mind is a mess right now. I thought the other books in this series were intense but nope, they don’t even compare when it comes to this 4th book. I would even go as far as to say that Third Debt is my favorite book in the series thus far and I see it as the turning point in Jethro and Nila’s dark, twisted journey.

Starting from here, the rest of my review will contain spoilers for the first 3 books so if you haven’t read them, best look away! If you have, continue on.

First, I gotta say despite the horrible state of mind the cliffhangers at the end of the first 3 books put me in, I am grateful for them. They are so heartstopping they are practically seared into my mind and because of that, I’m able to vividly remember all the details of what exactly happened, and can fall right back into this series like no time has passed at all. And that’s exactly what happened when I started this book.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Jethro and Nila are forced apart at the end of book 3, and this book mainly expands on the fallout that results because of their separation. To protect Nila, Jethro begrudgingly agrees to his father’s ultimatum but doesn’t count on it completely taking over his life. As the days pass, he withdraws into himself and is emotionally controlled by his father, which really drops a bomb on any kind of romantic development that occurred in the first 3 books. On the other hand, Nila, while forced to leave the Hawk estate, is determined to come back and save Jethro and nothing will stop her.

I love the story pace. Like the other books, this one starts off slow that made me settle in and lull me into a false sense of security and then bam! A jaw-dropping plot twist hits me and I never see it coming. This process pretty much repeats itself all the way to the end of the book which is THE biggest twist of all.

I think this book stands out to me more than the others because of the stellar character development. In the past, Jethro – while he still struggled with his growing feelings for Nila – overall was always steadfast in his approach to the Debt Inheritance process, along with his attitude towards his family. But in this book, the author really digs deep into his character and reveals all kind of thoughts and different sides to him that were never developed before, and to see that really humanized him. He’s come a long way from the seemingly unredeemable bastard from book 1 and really starts to fall into the ‘hero’ role, even though his circumstances and the pressure put on him constantly threaten to tip him over to the real dark side.

But the character that truly shined in this book? It was Nila. This was a girl who was a sheltered, meek woman who always relied on her father and brother, and throughout the numerous ordeals she experienced in the past few books, she’s really finding herself and evolving into a more confident, assured woman who’s not afraid to stand up for herself. I especially love that even when she’s cornered by the Hawks (figuratively and literally) she won’t go down without a fight and is so determined and driven to save Jethro, just like the way he saved her.

The only reason I’m not rating this book 5 stars is because for a good portion of the book, Jethro gave me severe whiplash. I truly felt for him when he was helpless and taken advantage of by his father and while in a way I understood he’s not to be held accountable for his actions, I still didn’t feel any better about them. His hot and cold behavior not only drove Nila mad; it made me crazy too. But by the end the author really gave me a reality check when everything about him was revealed and that made me understand why he acted the way he did.

Now the ending. OH MY GOD. The author doesn’t hide the fact that the books in this series will almost always end on a cliffhanger, so my panties aren’t in a twist because of that. What did shock me though was the ‘I-didn’t-think-she’d-go-there-but-she-did’ moment at the end. Like, WTF! LOL! Besides being speechless with the way the story ended on such a bang, I’m also super curious to see how in the world the author will bounce back from this kind of ending in the next book.

Even though I’m still feeling distraught over the ending and inconsolable that the next book isn’t available, there is something so deeply satisfying about this book (and series!). No matter what, Jethro and Nila’s story has given my brain, my heart, even my psyche a workout, not to mention that the book length of each consecutive book in the series far surpasses even full length novels currently being marketed, so both quality and quantity-wise I’m happy. Roll on book 4! And hey Pepper? It needs to come much, MUCH sooner than later

Third Debt is the 4th book in the Indebted series and must be read after the first 3 books. There will be a total of 6 books in the series and while each does end on a cliffy, answers will be given and certain plot lines will be concluded while new ones are presented at the same time.

An advanced copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.