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Posts Tagged ‘vampire’

Jabril

I actually read Jabril right after finishing Raphael. Well, there might have been a few hours sleep sandwiched in between, but not much. I’m just a wee bit behind on my reviews…

Jabril opens up right where Raphael finished. Cyn and Raphael have split up and she runs from California to Texas, to pick up another job for a vampire lord – as far away as possible from Raphael.

This lord, however, is the polar opposite of Raphael.

Had she expected them all to be like Raphael – beautiful, lying bastard that he was? Sure, he’d broken her heart, but all those Boy Scout virtues, like honorable and trustworthy, applied to him too. Powerful as he was, he ruled his territory with the loyalty and respect of his people, rather than fear.

She’s been called in to track down a missing person – a 17-yr old human girl, Elizabeth. The vampire lord, Jabril Karim al Subaie had been granted custody of Elizabeth and her older sister, Mirabelle – and planned to take control of their inherited fortune on Elizabeth’s 18th birthday. He’d already raped and turned Mirabelle, and Elizabeth would be next, but she managed to run away first.

No, she decided, it was the girl that had made her take an instant dislike to Jabril Karim. The young woman was treated like an ill-favoured pet.

 

Of course, Cyn has no intentions of returning Elizabeth – if she can find her. Instead, she decides to spring Mirabelle free. Only problem is, she needs to ask Raphael for help.

Duncan stopped mid-sentence, and Cyn could hear a silky, deep voice in the background. Her heart jumped and it was suddenly difficult to breathe.

“My lord -” She heard Duncan begin. She didn’t listen any further.

“Good-bye, Duncan.” She hung up. Her cell phone rang almost immediately, but Cyn didn’t answer. She was tempted to turn it off, but was afraid Kelli might call, or even Liz herself. So she switched it to vibrate and watched it dance around the table a few times, her eyes never leaving the display, as it shunted every call to voice mail.

 

She’s confused. Raphael seems to want her still, but she can’t bear to have her heart broken again.

Raphael reached out to tangle his fingers in a lock of her hair and tug her closer. His nostrils flared as he drew a breath. “He touched you.”

“No,” she objected, before remembering the clingy sensation of Jabril’s casual touch. “Just my arm, I didn’t want -”

“I should kill him for that alone.”

 

And herein lies Cyn’s big dilemma. Does Raphael really want her, or is this just a power play against Jabril?

Cyn blew out a breath, frustrated. “You know, I’m getting kind of tired of everyone pretending this is my fault. Raphael’s the one who walked away, not me.”

“Men are fools, Cynthia. You surely know that by now.”

“Tell me about it,” she muttered.

 

The plot is twisty and complex. In addition to the runaway, the escape with Mirabelle, the continuing angst over Raphael – there is apparently a killer vamp roaming the streets. And for some bizarre reason, Raphael stands accused. Cynthia is beyond furious when he’s arrested shortly before sunrise.

To hell with the speed limit. It was nearly daylight. Was the para facility equipped to handle a sleeping vampire? And what about Duncan and the others, their need to protect Raphael would outweigh even the instinct to retreat from the rising sun. She pounded the steering wheel angrily.

 

Vampires fall unconscious at sunrise and are at their most vulnerable. Raphael will have to spend the daylight in a converted prison cell and is only allowed one human to watch over him. He wants Cyn.

“And if I say no?”

Kimiko gave Cyn a baleful glare. “Then I will attempt to make other arrangements in time. If I fail, Lord Raphael will sleep unsecured, vulnerable to whatever the humans plan. And I do not doubt for one moment that this entire farce has been orchestrated towards that end.”

 

To my eternal delight, in one of the most delightful love confessions I’ve read, Raphael finally opens up to her.

He shook his head. “No, my Cyn, there has been no one in all these hundreds of years who mastered me. Until I met you.”

“So, having at last met a foe I could not defeat, I fled,” he said in disgust. “Rather than face you in my weakness, I thought to leave you behind, to forget about you, which I thought was surely possible. After all, how could one human overwhelm me with feelings in such a short period of time?” He smiled bitterly, shaking his head at his own foolishness.

 

It’s still not an easy ride for them, but Cyn finally accepts that she’s still in love with him.

Cyn felt a tug of desire low in her body as he unbuttoned his left shirt cuff and began to roll it up his forearm with economical movements. She had a weakness for beautiful hands on a man. Raphael’s hands were strong, his fingers long and square, his forearms smoothly muscled. She swallowed dryly and squelched memories of what those hands could do.

 

I loved the way that Cyn and Raphael danced back and forth, neither brave enough to admit they needed each other. It was touchingly, heart-warmingly real.

Raphael let out a small relieved breath and leaned back to sit on the edge of his desk.

“Are you all right?” Cyn asked, indicating his wounded arm with a nod of her head.

Raphael gave her a crooked smile. “I love when you worry about me, my Cyn. No one else does.”

She gave a little huff of disbelief. “Duncan worries about you,” she disagreed. “He’s worse than a mother hen.”

“Yes, well,” Raphael said softly. “That’s not quite the same thing, is it?”

 

Oh and Jabril is none too happy when he loses both Elizabeth and Mirabelle. He wants them back, and to make Cyn pay.

As with Raphael, I was GLUED to this and can’t wait to read the next in the series. 5 out of 5.

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Raphael (Vampires in America)

I’d had this lined up to read on my Kindle for months – languishing in my TBR pile – until a fellow reader raved about it. I’m SO glad she did. Raphael, is lip-smackingly-heart-churningly-swoon-worthy delicious, in the way that only an alpha Vampire can be.

He’s actually Lord Raphael, one of 8 Vampire Lords that control the USA, although Cynthia (Cyn) is reluctant to bow down to his rule.

“Listen, you call him ‘my lord’ or ‘Lord Raphael,’ okay? That’s it. Think of him as Royalty.”

“Yeah, well, he’s not my lord, this is America, you know.”

Lonnie laughed almost hysterically. “I can’t believe this. I’m gonna die for sure.” He gave her a pleading look. “Raphael owns this territory, Cyn. Please don’t insult him. I like living forever.”

Cyn, a Private Investigator, is hired to locate Raphael’s kidnapped sister, Alexandra. The only leads they have are two of the (human) guards, and Cyn is invited to interrogate the second – after Raphael has already ‘questioned’ the first.

“He didn’t even touch him.” He stared at her, his eyes wide and haunted. “He ripped his own…” Judkins closed his eyes as if shutting out the sight of something too terrible to remember.

“Who, Scott?” she asked, confused. “Who do you mean?”

“Him,” he said furtively, his eyes flashing back and forth, his horrified glance touching on Raphael, then skittering away.

Cyn has worked with bloodsuckers before and has a healthy respect for their strength and power. She has never found one attractive before.

She parked the Land Rover and was swinging her long legs out of the truck when Raphael strolled into the garage. Well, damn. The vampire lord was dressed all in black, from his long-sleeved t-shirt to his oh so tight denims and smooth leather boots. And over it all, he wore an ankle-length coat of black leather that just begged to be touched, smelled, rubbed all over one’s body. Down, girl.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Cynthia stared at the beautiful male specimen in front of her. Vampire or not, Raphael was fully, gloriously male. There was no doubt of that. Nor of the instant, almost irresistible, attraction she felt toward him. She gave a nearly desperate, sobbing laugh at her own helpless reaction to him. Behind him, Duncan gave her a scandalized look, but Raphael merely laughed with her. He was an arrogant son of a bitch; he understood perfectly.

They follow a rapidly cooling trail to a warehouse filled with Russian mafia – not pleasant people, but no problem to a vampire lord.

She reached the end of a row and peered out to see Raphael wreaking mayhem, picking grown men up like children’s toys and throwing them aside. He was violence in motion, teeth bared, long black coat swirling around his legs, eyes flashing in anger.

And this time, she can’t resist him. They launch into a brief and passionate affair, even while Cyn knows she’s playing with fire.

Running out through the open door and around the back of the house, she found him striding through the shadows of the overgrown yard like an avenging angel, his long coat billowing behind him, his silver-frosted eyes twin stars come to earth.

He has the capacity to break her heart, but even knowing that she takes the risk – and then is gutted when Raphael walks away.

She glanced up uneasily, painfully aware that somewhere in the city Raphael was beginning his night. Without her. She pushed away from her desk with an angry kick. She would not cry. She would not.

I felt the first chapter was a teeny bit slow, but since this had been recommended so highly I stuck with it – and then wondered how on earth I would put it down. It’s a classic vampire tale, powerful vamp meets cynical woman, he claims her, she falls in love… but DB Reynolds has breathed new life into what could have been a tired genre. Cynthia is refreshing. She is a wisecracking smart-mouth who never knows when to shut up – and makes mistakes.

Raphael looked down his nose at her as if she’d suggested something completely ridiculous. “Oh, right.” She said, rolling her eyes. “What was I thinking? Okay, so Raphael here walks up to the gate, presumably with his coat billowing around him in a suitably dramatic fashion and works his mind trick on the gate guard.”

And while it usually bugs the hell out of me to get to the end of a book and see those three little words… To be Continued… I didn’t mind this time. There was no quick and easy conclusion for Cyn and Raphael, no HEA waiting in the wings. I would have to read the second in the series and hope they eventually made it…  One reviewer talked of reading the first 4 books in this series back-to-back over the course of a weekend – I can see how easy that would be.  A happy 5 out of 5.

 

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Love Bleeds (Only After Dark Series -Book One)

Love Bleeds (Only After Dark #1) by Maggie James
This book, on paper, ticked some major boxes for me.
Rock stars – check
Vampires – check
Hot sex – check
I skimmed through the reviews on Amazon, figured it was a new author and worth splashing out the $5.99 Kindle price tag.  Mistake.
The book has a sound premise, a bunch of potential characters for a series and… that’s about it. I’m always keen to support and encourage new writers, but I really struggled with this. It’s a great example of how fiction can be so subjective.
So what did I have trouble with?
Every new person that makes an appearance is given a formal description, more akin to a police report. They almost all include a summary of outfits, too.
Lucas: Towering over them, he appeared to be at least several inches over six feet tall. His jet black hair pulled tightly off his face and secured in a braid that travelled halfway down his broad back.
Julian: At five foot ten with brown wavy hair that barely touched his shoulders and warm chocolate brown eyes. Julian was a sensitive, attractive, well-built man, nearing thirty.
Max: Standing at a meagre five foot four with what was left of his rapidly depleting hair a blending of white and silver-grey. His round cherub like face edged with a neatly trimmed goatee.
Joe: He appeared to be a few inches shy of six feet tall with a medium athletic build. His shoulder length blonde hair shone like spun gold.
Typos and spelling mistakes are everywhere (e.g. blonde instead of blond). Grammar and punctuation have gone MIA. Commas seemed to be rationed as closely as a smoker on his last packet of ciggies and all night until the corner shop opens again.
It’s supposedly set in Dublin, but written by an American author who persists in using American terms for everyday things. Elevator. Lobby. Purse. Curb. The rock stars are supposed to be English but their dialogue is so clunky and awkward that you begin to wonder if English is their native language?
Joe: “No need to be embarrassed. We may be the undead Phillip but mortal death cannot wane the true desires of the flesh.”
Joe: “Drink dammit, for fear I will eventually grow tired of this game and kill you myself!”
Joe: “You’re fairing well my friend.”(sic)Speech tags are littered like autumn leaves on a windy day.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Joe stated coldly. “Whoa… down boy!” Joe interrupted. “He’s right Joe.” Phillip agreed. “But Joe…” Phillip pleaded.
And the whole premise of show-don’t-tell is just a blue-sky concept.
Erick Slade was the leader of a modern day vampire coven who got their rocks off terrorizing innocent mortals and preyed on young beautiful women.
There were however, plenty of rock hard abdomens and lots of tanned skin and tattoos 🙂
Head hopping is dire and confusing, motivation is unfathomable… Why oh why didn’t I read the other reviews before I splurged my $5.99 on this? If it was a paperback I could at least tear the pages out and burn them 😦
Okay, I’m being harsh, especially since I think this writer has potential. I’d love to see her work properly edited. Hell, I’d love to have the opportunity to proofread her next manuscript and whip it into something un-putdownable.
Ms James, if you read this review, I’m serious with that offer – add me to your list of crit-partners. What have you got to lose?
There are gazillions of fantastic writers out there to learn from. To get into this genre you could read some JR Ward (perfect vamps) or Olivia Cunning (perfect rock stars)… The combination of Vampires and Rock Stars could be a winner; it just needs a little more work in this case 🙂
Abandoned at 30%. A reluctant 1 out of 5.

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