If you love to read dark, sexy paranormal romances, then Hot Blooded is for you. Authors Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne, Emma Holly, and Angela Knight offer up tales of werewolves and vampires that will entertain and delight with their interesting twists on familiar tales. Each author has a distinct style which makes each story uniquely different.
Christine Feehan is an amazingly talented writer who never disappoints, and “Dark Hunger” is certainly no exception to that rule. It stands on its own, but continues to build on her page-turning “Dark” series. Feehan has created a mythology where a race of people called Carpathians drink blood to survive and have many amazing abilities, including shape-shifting. The males must find their lifemate or they run the risk of being consumed by their darkness and becoming a vampire, a depraved creature who kills and destroys. Only their true lifemate can bring color, emotion, and light back into their lives.
Riordan is an immortal Carpathian male who has been captured and trapped in an illegal research center deep in the South American jungle. Their enemies have found a new poison that is debilitating to the Carpathian people, and Riordan’s only thought is to live long enough to transmit this information to his brothers. When a young woman breaks into his cell, he takes the opportunity to escape, only to find that this unknown woman is his lifemate.
Juliette Sangria is an activist who has sneaked into the illegal research center to liberate the exotic animal species being used for testing there. Beside the animals, she finds Riordan imprisoned behind a thick, soundproof vault. He is in chains, lying on a floor, and bleeding heavily. When she releases him he turns on her, feeding off her blood to regain his strength. From that moment on, they are forever connected to each other. But Juliette is not what she seems, and when she and Riordan must work together to save her kidnapped sister, she may have to reveal her own dark secrets.
Maggie Shayne takes us to the hot, mysterious Louisiana bayou in “Awaiting Moonrise.” Jenny Rose, a cryptozoology professor at Dunkirk University, has traveled here with her team in hopes of discovering a new species of animal. It is the tales and folklore of the werewolf that draw her out onto a dark road on moonlit night, where she encounters a creature that she cannot explain. The creature attacks her and scratches her chest, but doesn’t really harm her.
Dr. Samuel La Roque is a local doctor who lives in a cabin in the woods near where Jenny is attacked. When she goes to the doctor to have her scratches tended, she questions him about local legends and happenings. But Jenny finds herself strangely drawn to the enigmatic doctor and soon has to make some serious decisions about her research. While the story is a familiar one, the characters are compelling and you are quickly drawn into the mysterious world of the bayou with its voodoo and magic. Maggie Shayne skillfully weaves her own brand of magic into this steamy, satisfying story.
Emma Holly pens an enchanting tale of love in “The Night Owl.” Mariann O’Faolain is happily divorced and running a bakery in Maple Notch, Vermont. Her business is located in a former carriage house on land owned by the Night Owl Inn, and she has always done a good business with the inn. That doesn’t change when the inn is bought by the Luces, two mysterious male cousins.
Bastien Luce is actually a vampire, or upyr to his people. They are a race of shape-shifting immortal beings, part wolf and part blood-drinkers. He buys the inn and is trying to create a life for himself when he encounters Mariann. All at once this powerful creature, who is destined to rule his own pack, has found the woman he wants for his queen. Emma Holly’s characters are wonderfully real and charming - especially Bastien, who has trouble knowing how to court Mariann. Their tentativeness with each other at the beginning endears them to the reader, and makes the unfolding of their story even more seductive.
In “Seduction’s Gift,” Angela Knight takes the mythology of the Arthurian legends and recreates it into something new and exciting with a vampire twist. It all begins with the premise that, beginning in the time of Camelot, Merlin chose about fifty people to help champion the earth and keep it from destruction. In the male, the “Gift” as it is called, manifests as vampirism and in the female it confers the ability to work magic spells. All their descendants carry the necessary gene and can be Gifted if chosen by the Majae’s Council. If selected to receive the Gift, it is activated by repeated sex with an already Gifted member of the opposite sex.
Grace Morgan is a cop and a descendant of Morgana, but she wants nothing at all to do with the Gift or Magekind. Her experiences as a child have caused her to turn her back on her heritage. But the Magekind need Grace to accept the Gift, so they send Lancelot du Lac, legendary lover, to seduce her and thereby activate her powers. It takes a while to get into the story as they mythology is involved and complicated, and might have been better served in a single novel, rather than as a story in a collection. Nevertheless, Angela Knight creates a fascinating world where legends of old still exist and the clash of good against evil continues. If you’re looking for something fresh in the world of paranormal tales, then you will definitely enjoy “Seductions Gift.”
Christine Feehan, Maggie Shayne, Emma Holly, and Angela Knight all bring their distinctively unique visions to this anthology, and the collection is a must read for the fan of the paranormal romance. Hot Blooded certainly lives up to its name, as all the stories sizzle with heat and passion. Enchanting, enthralling, and captivating, there is certainly something for every taste.