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“Wretched,” the third complete standalone novel in The Never After Series by Emily McIntire, offers readers a captivating and dark reimagining of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Emily has once again woven a narrative tapestry with “Wretched” that ensnares the reader from the very beginning. Packed with simmering tension, an enthralling forbidden romance, and unexpected plot twists, it was impossible to put down. The dynamic between Nick and Evie was nothing short of electric, making every scene they shared a delight to read. However, I found myself yearning for a deeper internal conflict within Nick; his swift moral capitulation seemed a tad rushed for the complexity of the storyline.


Evie’s character, while intriguing, left me feeling somewhat detached. Her emotional journey felt inconsistent, veering between intense feelings and a seemingly indifferent demeanor that was difficult to fully grasp. Her relationships and emotional responses, particularly her swift transition to love, struck me as somewhat disjointed, though the essence of her character remained compelling.

Evelina Westerly has always embraced her role as the villain. As the mastermind behind her family’s drug empire, she wields power and ruthlessness with ease, seeking revenge for her sister’s murder while tending to her greenhouse and eliminating anyone who stands in her way. Love has never been part of Evelina’s agenda until a one-night stand with a mysterious man leaves her craving more. However, when the same man reappears as a new lackey in her family’s organization under a different identity, Evelina’s carefully constructed world begins to unravel.

Nicholas Woodsworth harbors a dangerous secret—he’s an undercover DEA agent determined to dismantle the drug trade that destroyed his family. Assigned to infiltrate the Westerly empire, Nicholas is shocked to discover that Evelina, the woman he’s been fantasizing about since their encounter at a nightclub, is his target. Despite his attraction to Evelina, Nicholas knows that she embodies everything he stands against, and he’s resolved to bring her down. However, as they delve deeper into each other’s dark pasts, they realize they may have more in common than they thought. As their mutual hatred evolves into something more, Nicholas must grapple with his feelings for a woman deemed wretched by society, even if it means risking both their lives.

“Wretched” is a gripping contemporary romance that explores themes of love, redemption, and the complexities of morality. McIntire skillfully navigates the fine line between light and darkness, crafting a narrative filled with intrigue, passion, and suspense. With its morally complex characters, intense plot twists, and richly developed setting, “Wretched” offers readers a fresh and compelling take on classic fairy tale villains.

The incorporation of “Wizard of Oz” elements was a delightful surprise, adding a layer of nostalgic charm to the narrative. As a fan of the classic film, I appreciated Emily’s skillful integration of these themes, enhancing the story’s allure.

For aficionados of dark romances that feature formidable female protagonists, tantalizing forbidden love, and twists that keep you guessing, “Wretched” is undoubtedly a must-read. It’s a testament to Emily’s storytelling prowess despite the minor disconnects with character depth and development.

As the third installment in The Never After Series, “Wretched” promises readers a riveting and unforgettable reading experience. McIntire’s evocative prose and expert storytelling make “Wretched” a must-read for fans of dark romance and fractured fairy tales alike.


From international bestselling author, Emily McIntire, comes a dark and delicious fractured fairy tale reimagining ofThe Wizard of Oz. A woman can be great, and terrible too.

Evelina Westerly has always been the bad guy. As the brains, brawn, and botanist behind her family's drug empire, she's her father's ruthless secret weapon. With her days divided between perfecting her greenhouse, seeking revenge for her sister's murder, and putting a gun to the head of anyone in her way, Evelina doesn't have time for anything else. Especially not for love. After a one-night stand with a gorgeous man at a nightclub, she's sated her urges and is back to her criminal ways. That is, until that same man shows up as the new Westerly lackey...under a totally different name.

But Nicholas Woodsworth's real secret is much more dangerous than an alias. He's an undercover DEA agent, and he's hell-bent on destroying the drug trade that devastated his family. When he realizes the youngest daughter of the Westerly empire is the same woman he's been fantasizing about since that night at the club, attraction wars violently with disgust. Evelina embodies everything he's against, and he's been sent here to be her downfall. Yet the more they learn about the darkness in each other's hearts, the more alike they seem, and when hatred turns to something more, Nicholas will have to decide whether he can love a wretched woman, even if it means bringing both of their lives to ruin.