Elena Baxter is a healer with extraordinary powers she does not care to advertise for fear of repercussions following her mother's rejection. She works as a volunteer in a hospital, secretly healing sick children, but her personal life is bleak since the death of her grandfather.
Artur Luginov, ex-Russian Mafia hit-man, works for Dirk and Steele, the paranormal detective Agency featured in Tiger Eye. You don't have to read it to understand this book, but I recommend it because it's excellent, too. Artur too has special talents- he can read minds by touching someone, or even just an object they have come into contact with. He is kidnapped and wakes up in an unkown institution where he is tested and tortured in an attempt to force him to work with the 'Consortium'- and clearly not for the altruistic purposes he has lately persued.
In a chance encounter, he meets Elena, who is also kidnapped, in a corridor and after a confrontation with Rictor, Elena's enigmatic guard, and Charles, the vicious serail killer who engineered his capture, Elena heals Artur who collapses, close to death. In order to heal him they must mind merge, but only with Rictor's assistence can Elena remove the toxic psychic 'worm' in his brain.They realise the worm is an attempt at mind control by the head of the Consorium, Beatrix Weave, known as the Spider, who plans- guess what? -to dominate the world.
Artur and Elena soon realise that their link is permanent, and an emotional intimacy grows between them that soon flowers into love. They also realise that there are other prisoners here, too-two shapeshifters who are subjected to similarly cruel treatment from the sadistic doctor who 'studies' the paranormal captives.
The four manage to escape with the help of Rictor, and Artur is determined to stop the Consortiums plans. They also become lovers, but whilst their are love scenes, this is not romantica, and they do not dominate the story. They are persued every step of the way, but it is the bond between Elena and Artur that provides the vital ingredients in their fight against evil.
I thought this was one of the best paranormal romances I have read in a long time, and it easily fulfills my high expectations after reading Tiger Eye. It is a well paced adventure set in a meticulously detailed world, with a host of complex and magical characters, not just Elena and Artur but a range of secondary characters too. I was particularly intrigued by Rictor, and wouldn't be suprised if he features in later books, since this is obviously a series which could run and run- at least, I hope it does.