Review: Callan by Sybil Bartel

callanTitle: Callan

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: 2018

The heroine: Nanny Emily Faraday

The hero: Callan Anders

The blurb: I was trained to be a hunter. Growing up in the nation’s most infamous, violent cult, my job was simple. Track. Kill. Survive.

And that’s what I did… until our leader threatened to kill his own daughter.

Refusing to watch another senseless murder, I did what I was trained to do. I took his life. Then I claimed his land, and set every member free, including her. I only had one goal left. Find the sister I was told was dead.

But being a hunter in the woods is a far cry from tracking a woman in Miami Beach.

I didn’t find my sister.

I found my stepsister.

Standalone or series: This is book five in The Uncompromising series, but can be read as a standalone. However, it will make more sense if you have read book three, Andre.

The review: If you love alpha males but you haven’t read any books by Sybil Bartel, then you are missing out. Nobody writes alphas quite like Miss Sybil does. While you can read this book as a standalone, it will make more sense if you have read the backstory that was given in Andre’s book.

Callan Anders grew up on a compound (cult) and has been a stranger to the outside world. Once the cult’s leader dies and the cult disbanded, Callan stays behind on the property he inherited. He has ventured out briefly to the outside world, and one year previously, while at the nearby gas station, he saw her. The brunette who has haunted his dreams ever since, the one he calls his angel. She’s the first female in his life that’s ever interacted with him and not wanted something from him – sex, food, protection.

He goes back there every month in the hope of seeing her again, but she’s never there, so he’s written their encounter off but has never forgotten her. He knows her name is Emily, but that’s it.

When the story starts in the present day, Callan has tracked down his biological father. He’s not interested in forming any sort of relationship with the man, whom he believes to have abandoned and walked out on him and his mother, but he wants answers – while cleaning out the compound in the aftermath of the events recounted at the beginning of the book, he discovers he has a twin sister he knew nothing about. Since his mother is long dead, he only has his father to turn to for answers.

When he turns up on Ted Anders’s doorstep, he’s in for shock – Emily is there. She’s one of Ted’s stepdaughters, Ted having married her mother several years ago. Callan is persuaded to stay for dinner by Emily, but only because he wants to be near her. He still feels the unexplainable attraction towards her. Things get awkward and he leaves, but not before making it clear to Emily that they will be seeing each other again.

Emily, for her part, is drawn to Callan like a magnet. She hasn’t forgotten the man she called the gas station sex god, either, and she’s shocked as hell when he shows up on her doorstep a year later. She keeps telling herself that nothing can happen between them because he’s her stepbrother, but he continues to remind her that they are not blood related and he has no relationship with the man who sired him, so there’s nothing standing in their way. After Callan kisses her for the first time, she’s lost.

Trouble strikes when Emily is dragged out to a club by her sister, Phoebe. Emily grabs a drink at the bar and is chatted up by some man, and she suddenly starts to feel woozy. She soon passes out, and the next thing she knows she wakes up in a shipping container.

Callan starts to worry when Emily does not respond to his texts, and with the help of Andre they ascertain she has been kidnapped by a known human sex trafficker. Emily and other girls are already on their way to Mexico by the time Callan, Andre, Neil and Talon track them down. After a frustrating wait and some double crossing, Callan and co. are able to rescue the girls – including a badly injured Emily, who fought back against her captors and paid for it – and get them out safely.

Once Emily is back on US soil, she is no longer prepared to fight her attraction to Callan any longer and they give in to the desire that has swirled around them since the moment they met. Callan is different to those raised outside the compound; he speaks bluntly and without worry about what others will think, but he is always honest.

I loved this book. I adored seeing the other men make cameos (as they all do with each other’s books) and I loved seeing Callan and Emily’s romance unfold before my eyes. I’m sad this series is over, but am happy to know a new one is coming! This book just proves why Sybil Bartel is one of my all-time favourite romance authors and why she’s now on auto buy; she could rewrite the phone book and I’d want to read it.

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