Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
It is the 1900’s and Lilly Marchantel is an orphan who has worked at the Mahogany Hall Brothel in New Orleans since the age of twelve. At sixteen she was made one of the girls by the madam, Miss Lulu White. Lilly was very sought after especially by a vampire named Marcus Lancaster. For years Marcus would pay to just sit and talk with Lilly while he patiently waited for her to grow up. Now Lilly at almost twenty, Marcus finally pays for her services.
Obsessed with Lilly he makes love to her and while doing so bites her neck. Unfortunately, he looses control and drains her. Frantically giving her his blood in hopes that she will be turned. But when she does not awaken he is forced to leave her body to be found by the staff. Miss Lulu has the task to bury her in a crypt as Marcus leaves New Orleans, heartbroken over the loss of the woman he has wanted for his own. Vampires in this story, are ruled by angels and one of their rules is never to turn a human without getting their consent, which he just did to Lilly.
After Lilly’s funeral we pick up in 2005 as Hurricane Katrina is about to rip New Orleans apart. When the Host Assignment Department, the department of angels that were responsible for finding and giving vampires the rules, discover two vampires that were untagged Sullivan an Enforcer Angel is sent to find them and fill them in on the rules. While searching the local cemetery where he senses vampires are, he is bruteally attacked by four humans. They not only beat him severely but manage to sever his wings and steal his angel ring. Katrina has struck and chaos is everywhere. These men were looting the cemetery when they came upon Sullivan.
Unconscious and near death he is pulled inside one of the crypts by Lilly who has been living there since she awakened. With Marcus gone and no one to teach her what it means to be a vampire she has lived alone setting the crypt up as her home. The only company she has is a cat named Baron that she inadvertenly turned and a human skull that she is convinced is Marcus. She speaks to the skull everyday holding on to it for security and asking it for advice when she needs it.
When Sullivan wakes up he is confused as to what happened to him and is horrified to find his ring and wings missing. But nothing compares to what he feels when he finds out that Lilly turned him to save his life. He is now a vampire and has fallen from grace. His immediate reaction is to blame Lilly until he realizes that she did what she thought was best and had no malice in her actions.
For the first time in a hundred years Sullivan takes her out of the crypt trying to find shelter in a city torn apart by Mother Nature. Sullivan has changed, he feels lust, curses and eventually kills.
This story contains explicit sex, rape and some very strong scenes of violence. The author does a great job of bringing what happened to New Orleans during Katrina to life so you feel you are living through it again. There are many things that go on in this book but they are not something I wish to discuss for fear of giving away much more of the story. I totally enjoyed watching Lilly learn about the twenty-first century.
Now I have to admit that for the first time ‘ever’ since I have been reviewing (and I am talking a lot of books) that I am giving five stars to a book that left many questions unanswered. I debated whether to give less stars but since I really loved this book enough that I had to judge the book and not the ending. I am one of those people that hates it when a books ending is incomplete, it is a pet peeve of mine, so obviously this is a case the story speaks for itself regardless of the ending.