Reviewed by Xanthe
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
This is my first story from Melissa Winters and I found myself drawn in by how dark the vampirism starts out and the plot that unfolds. Everything goes at quite a good pace so there’s always something coming that keeps you interested in the story and the outcome for the characters.
Marina has always been able sense monsters along with her sister, Maggie, who recently committed suicide. She feels very alone and separated from her friends having not experienced life the way they have. Walking home alone one night proves a mistake when she is abducted and finds herself in the hands of vampires, and not the nice, shiny kind but the ones who sell off their catch to the highest bidder. It’s here she meets Julian. Julian is the ruler of the vampires, recently taking over after his father passed away but it’s not a job he ever wanted and others don’t want him in power. The two instantly connect from across the room where the auction is taking place and Julian ends up with the winning bid for Marina but all is not what she thinks when they get to his home.
The relationship that builds is intriguing and I enjoyed that we get an occasional chapter from his POV. It definitely helped me understand him a little more and his feelings towards everything that goes on throughout the book. Theirs is definitely a slow burn relationship with a lot of antagonism, anger and fear to start off with before understanding, lust and compassion develop. Knowledge of the possibilities between Julian and Marina are based on myths and whispers but it becomes something neither can deny. He’s dealing with his brothers, ruling the vampires and discord among them and the Council, and understanding his connection to Marina. The Council and restless enemies are constantly vying to out Julian from his position making him split himself to be where he has to be rather than wants to be. There is a lot to unpack as the story unfolds as we start in a small town in Ohio and end up near to New Orleans.
There are quite a few characters that I came to enjoy across the story that enhance it and bring people together but there are also several that are very easy to dislike, who have no conscience when it comes to causing pain to others. It’s strange the bonds that form during such stressful and high emotive situations but it happens between people you’d never connect with in “normal” day to day life. I did find myself becoming frustrated with Marina, she seemed to instantly react to anything that happened, often blowing things out of proportion which took a little enjoyment from reading her character.
Overall, I liked the plot of the book and the different elements that made the story. It’s a little darker than my normal vampire story but I really got into the characters and relationships that developed between everyone. We are also left with some very interesting information that I look forward to exploring in book two of the duet.