Dark Secret Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 2005
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In what may be the most horrific of Feehan's Dark series, featuring the vampire-hunting Carpathians and the lifemates who save them from doom, a rancher fights to retain custody of her young siblings. Colby Jansen has been raising Ginny and Paul since her beloved stepfather, Armando Chevez, died, while running the ranch he left them. Disaster after disaster strikes; then, members of the Brazilian -Chevez family, along with two of the powerful De La Cruz brothers, for whom their family has worked for centuries, arrive to take the children and dispose of the ranch. Colby finds the handsome Rafael De La Cruz threatening but irresistibly attractive, and when an ancient and powerful vampire appears, Colby and Rafael combine forces. The erotic heat between Colby and Rafael turns scorching; Colby's unusual telekinetic and telepathic abilities open doors for future Carpathian adventures, and readers who love the horror aspects of the Dark series will revel in the scary demons and toothy serpents. Diana Tixier Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Feehan has a knack for bringing vampiric Carpathians to vivid, virile life in her Dark Carpathian novels... (Publishers Weekly) satisfying action adventure romance ... Love and danger are a winning combination in Feehan's latest (Booklist) The exciting and multifaceted world that impressive author Christine Feehan has created continues to improve with age (Romantic Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Rafael is probably the most dominant Carpathian in Christine Feehan's books other than Gregori. The chemistry between Rafael and Colby causes sparks to shoot off the pages. Although there are additional characters in this book and a lot of twists and turns, it's very easy to follow and you'll find yourself thinking "Okay, this character might be the focus of her next book". The first day I started reading the book, I made the mistake of starting at 9:00 at night. I was still reading it at 2:00 in the morning. Is it good? If there were 10 stars it would rate a ten. Don't miss this new installment of the Carpathian series.
I'm giving it two stars intead of one because I liked the change of venue and Colby. In fact, I was excited at first about a bit of a Western (I had visions of it going down such a different path).
The female (Colby) behaved in a pretty normal manner for what was happening to her... I could relate! Sorta like "Hey you! Butt-insky! I've got a life here. Show some respect!" And she resisted him as best she could, but it was very upsetting when you were told repeatedly that she was out-gunned and outmatched. That she 'would become his!'. Geez louise, I kept wanting her to just drive a stake through his heart and plant him in the petunia patch!
Instead you have a dominant, Dominant, DOMINANT! male Carpathian who pretty much sees her as an aquisition, or a way to fix 'him'....or worst of all, just plain ole property. Banter between he and his brother about her made me wanna through the book against the wall with remarks to the effect of 'Just convert her...she'll come around later.'
Oh, did I mention, he was DOMINANT?!?! and a predator too! ;)
OK, enough snark aside. What made me love the other Dark books is that the male 'came' around to being kind and loving a lot sooner (like the first few chapters) and you got watch their relationship grow. However, vacillates between 'love' and 'dominace' to the point you really don't believe he loves her. In this book, readers be warned, he's pretty much a jerk until about the last 2 chapters, then he does something heroic and selfless...
And VOILA! Colby loves him. Yeah, right. I was still smoking and pretty annoyed that she just went 'OK, I love you now!'. Too trite, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. OK, so I guess I wanted a few chapters of groveling from him. Like for every chapter of him being ultra-a@@, a paragraph of her dragging him through the wringer. Sorry, but even his 'sacrifice' at the end wasn't enough to appease my anger...now ain't I a stinker ;)
Lastly, and I can NOT believe I'm writing this, but there is almost too much sex in the book. It was to the point that I was flipping through the pages to get to the dialogue, (that is SO unlike me!) Mostly because Colby didn't feel love for him and was disturbed by being out of control of her body, the sex scenes were extremely creepy and almost sickening instead of steamy. So you'd have hot sex scenes and then her upset, conflicted and angry at his controlling her (how Rosemary Rogers! for those who remember ;) ) It's disturbing for the reader, because you want to enjoy this part of the book, but instead, you feel like you're witnessing something tainted and ugly.
Understand, I love uber-alpha males, I enjoy rescue stories, I love good love scenes but most of all, I really, really enjoy reading about love that starts small and grows. The thing I love most about the fictional Carpathian males is their ability to love deeply and unconditionally, and to express it. Sadly, you won't find this until the very end of the book. And then, for me, it was just too dang late.
Okay, the main premise of the Carpathian series is that the males are NOT HUMAN, so their predatory nature and their instincts to claim their mates can't really be judged by human standards. This works for me as a fantasy - I like the idea of being overwhelmed, of being irresistible, of being totally out of control - it certainly takes the guilt out of sexual pleasure. Most of the Carpathian males seem to acknowledge that their human lifemates weren't prepared for this, and they try to cushion the shock of blood exchanges, etc., and hope that their lifemates will come to love them in time. This guy is the opposite - he not only refuses to make anything easier for Colby, he seems to deliberately show his worst possible behavior, and then he feels outraged and betrayed that she doesn't immediately adore him.
Shortly after their first meeting, he insists that she dance with him or cause a scene - in other words, he would hurt all the friends and neighbors who would try to come to her defense. So much for the centuries of protecting humanity. This guy is a noble hero? There are soldiers, police officers and firefighters putting their lives on the line for others every day, but that doesn't mean they're perfect or excuse every other flaw - and it's not enough to fall in love with.
[...] What I couldn't believe or accept was that he was in her mind after this and felt her shame, her feelings that her body betrayed her, her feeling that she had been violated and that he had violated her - and his response to her despair was that he wasn't a filthy rapist, that he had thought it was an act of mutual love. Maybe I'm judging him too harshly, since he was feeling her feelings the whole time, maybe he's just a lot dumber that your average Carpathian? But no, he doesn't feel remorse that he caused her to feel so bad, he doesn't try to comfort her or acknowledge her feelings, he doesn't even try to reassure her that her body's reaction to his was natural and beyond her control, that he's not the playboy she thinks he is and that she's the only woman in his life, that she has a right to feel how she does and that it's his fault - no, he's frantic to make her acknowledge that he's not a rapist. Yes, it's all about him. Gregori showed a lot more class.
For me, a romance novel has to end with two people in love, and I couldn't believe that he really loved her. They never laughed together or enjoyed each other's company in any non-sexual way, so when she "realized" that she loved him, I figured it was either Stockholm syndrome or some Carpathian survival instinct - eternity with this be intolerajerk would ble without some hormonal whammy to soften the brain cells.
I love to read, and nothing could keep me focused until I found the Dark Series and all her other wonderful books. I've worn out three copies of Dark Desire and two of Dark Magic.
Gregori, Jacques and Lucien are my favorite heroes from her Carpathian world. I looking at them I can see exactly why I was let down.
Rafeal is the requsite vampire hunting Carpathian trapped in a world of shades of grey and no emotions. Colby, a spunky red head (as a spunky red-head can we please get rid of this stereo-type? Just one grumpy in the morning red head would be nice) is his life mate. He must claim her to regain his hold onhis soul.
Colby is fighting to keep her ranch and custody of her brother and sister from mystery relatives associated with Rafeal.
That said, Rafeal doesn't seem to have thedeep suffering and passion that Gregori, Jaqcues, Byron or any of the other Carpathian men.
I honestly wanted him to go away and let Colby live on her own.
Yeah the sex was good, but 8 times out 10 it felt like some version of date rape.
Something was missing.
Try the other books in the series rather than lose faith here.
This hero is as rude and unlikable as they come. Maybe he has his motivation for acting this way to the heroine--I never could tell. He threatens to slaughter a bar full of people if she doesn't dance with him. He tricks her into letting him into her bedroom. He is stubborn, unfeeling--unless it's jealousy or anger--and completely uncaring. And, here's the unforgivable--he rapes her.
This is not hero behavior. This is not romantic or sensual. This is the violation and degradation of a woman, plain and simple. She cries the whole time. Afterward, she says, "You raped me, I hate you." His response--"No, I didn't!" So to prove it, he does it AGAIN! He's waited how many thousands of years for a lifemate, and he can't treat her with anything even remotely resembling respect.
And now's the kicker. Twenty-four hours later, she's happily making love with him and everything is peachy keen, she's falling in love with him and thinks, how'd I ever live without him?
Yes, these are dark stories that contain violence. Yes, I understand that these are modern gothics, and the heroines have to be clingy and needy for the genre. They do not have to be raped. Real heroes, no matter their species, do not have to force a woman. I am honestly surprised this story ever saw print.