In the Company of Vampires
The Fates declared that Francesca Ghetti was Benedikt Czerny’s beloved soul mate. However, Fran loves Ben, but refuses to accept destiny when she believes in free will. She leaves her beloved in Europe while returning to America (see the young adult teen fantasies CIRCUS OF THE DARNED and GOT FANGS, written as Katie Maxwell).
Five years have passed since Fran said goodbye to Ben. After rescuing her roommate from an otherworldly assault, Fran returns to the Gothfaire where they first met when she learns her mom, who remained with the troupe, vanished. Fran knows her mom would never just leave as she takes her role as the witch seriously. Accompanying her are three Viking ghosts assigned to banish Loki. She also has a rival for Ben’s affection as Naomi the tattoo artist overtly makes it clear she wants him. Finally there is the villagers’ paying homage to Wagner. With all that floating around mom still remains missing while an evil necromancer begins a deadly incantation.
This zany clever Dark Ones sentry (see The Last of the Red Hot Vampires) stars the six foot (no longer teen) in an adult role as she finds her vampiric soul mate with an apparent lover and meets his sibling. As is her personality, Fran charges ahead ready to fight anyone even her own heart while ripping skin off of everyone even Viking ghosts. Although the reunion lacks intensity beyond jealousy and sex, fans will enjoy the return as Ben and Fran lead readers on a wild tour of Europe. Harriet Klausner
Ecstasy in Darkness
In New Chicago Ava Sans is nearing the end of her training at Alien Investigation and Renewal. Noted for being one of the rough and tough girls, her “graduation” assignment is to capture the former leader of the vampire army, Victor McKell. The AIR trainee understands that this undead has become mentally deranged in his hatred of humanity. He believes they are low on the food chain even though his kind avoids his hostility, but in spite of being a psychotic he still can manipulate time.
Although Ava assumes Victor sees her as dinner, she walks boldly on to his estate where he fails to kill her like he normally does to intruders. Instead admires her incredible body and he offers a deal to team up with her to prevent an alien queen from infecting the planet. Planning to use her as an expendable lure to draw vampires to him, McKell soon falls in love.
Gena Showalter displays her romantic fantasy writing skills with her seventh Alien Huntress thriller (see Savor Me Slowly and Seduce the Darkness) with this fascinating, seemingly improbable pairing of a predator with a huntress and somehow makes it feel plausible. He is a human consumer (literally that is) while she is a rough vampire and other alien investigative human. She prefers nips and sensual bites while he rips throats for sustenance. Although the alien queen subplot takes a back seat to the dynamic duo’s “war”, readers will appreciate this pairing as she gives as much or more than she takes. Harriet Klausner
Stronger Than Sin
The Wardwell scientists almost killed Dr. Liliana Carrera so she has dedicated her life to save others from these evil maniacs. Her current patient is former NFL player Jesse Bradford whose receiving career was cut short by an injury. As she tries to help the football star recover, he conceals from her that he works for her enemy, the Wardell scientists who are blackmailing him to steal her secrets by threatening to harm his ailing sister.
Liliana falls in love with her patient; he feels the same way about his healer. Thus he also feels guilt as he is caught between the two women he loves in the world; for whichever one he saves the other is dead.
The second scintillating Sin story (see Sins of the Flesh) is a stupendous action-packed science fiction romance starring two survivors. She is a dedicated doctor while he is tacked behind the line between saving his sister and his soul mate. With a terrific medical twist re his health, fans will enjoy the latest mad scientists’’ saga as love is Stronger than Sin, but love also leads to conflicting multiple relationships. Harriet Klausner
Luck of the Wolf
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
In 1882 Cort Renier left his werewolf clan as an outcast in exile. He pursues a life of revenge. In San Francisco, Cort gets in on a high stakes poker game and wins the biggest stake.
Raised in isolation in mountainous Carantia by Franz who hid her to keep her safe, Aria di Reinardus travels to California seeking other Caranthian exiles and hopefully wehrwolfe entities like her. In San Francisco she was abducted, but Cort won her in gambling game. Cort thinks the European is perfect for his plans of revenge. With allies, he will pass Aria off as the lost Reinardus heiress and escort her to her clan in New Orleans. However, he is so consumed with vengeance, Cort fails to recognize his life mate when he met her; she knows from the start who her rescuer is. As his plans go awry due to his traitorous heart, Cort risks his life to keep his beloved safe from adversaries who fear she may be royalty and want her dead.
The latest Renier historical werewolf romance (see Bride of the Wolf) is a superb entry as the hero learns being a an avenging lone wolf is cold now that he has met his mate; although he took a long time to accept who she is. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this fine late nineteenth century paranormal with a touch of mystery while wondering just like Cort does whether his beloved actually is the Reinardus heiress; regardless he knows the Luck of the Wolf is winning her love.
Touch of Temptation
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
Kellan Scott is the youngest member of his werewolf pack. He is an emotional wreck who conceals his heart from everyone even himself to avoid being hurt. He is very attracted to witch Chloe Harcourt, but works diligently to deny his feelings.
However, even with his efforts to deny his desire, Kellan begins to believe Chloe is his one. As he fears what that means, Chloe assumes her sexual need for Kellan is symptomatic of her Merrick sexual hunger heritage and the Mallory curse, which embellishes the emotions of people who come into contact with her. Both sing I’m not in love yet each wonders why this feels different.
The latest Primal Instinct romantic urban fantasy (see Touch of Seduction and Touch of Surrender) is a wonderful entry mostly due to Kellan’s denial as his refrain is I’m Not in Love (10 CC). The story line is at its best when it remains in the present conflict; when the tale focuses on the past, it loses some of its speed. Still readers will enjoy visiting the Byrd universe as the author’s deft touch makes the werewolf society seem genuine. Harriet Klausner